Q: We are currently trying to sell our home and have not had anyone look at our house in almost a month. How do we get more showings? Do we offer to pay for closing costs, lower the price, stage our home, offer a credit for new carpet, appliances or paint? – Disappointed Seller
I saw this question posted on a real estate forum and was frustrated with the answers, so I thought I’d post 3 real tips on how to actually sell your home in this market…and I’ll give you a clue…it doesn’t have anything to do with offering to pay closing costs…
1. THE most important thing to a buyer right now is that your home is priced right. If your house is on the market and you are “testing” out a higher price to see if you get any bites…you’ve probably already lost the best opportunity to find a buyer. When your home first comes on the market, it will probably get sent to hundreds of potential buyers looking for a home just like yours. The trouble is, they are getting sent homes just like yours every day, so they’ll know immediately if you’re overpriced and they’ll move on to the next house. They probably know what your house is worth (in comparison to other homes currently for sale) better than you do. Buyers are too smart, their agents are too smart, and the overall market has more influence on the price of your house than you do. Often times, you only get one shot with a buyer, so make it count…which leads me to my next tip…
2. If I have a listing that is priced right…I typically get a lot of showings. One big reason is because I have professional pictures done on a house. Why is this important? 90% of buyers are looking online. The other 10% are liars (they’re secretly checking real estate listings and facebook without telling anyone). What do they see online? Pictures. Despite what they say, buyer’s care more about pictures than data. Want to know how I know? I’ve never had a buyer send me a listing they wanted to go see that didn’t have a picture (even if the house matched all of their criteria). But I get requests every week to go see homes with a nice picture and very little data (or data that didn’t match a buyer’s original criteria). So when I list a home, I try to make sure my pictures look better than the competition…because more than ever, buyers are qualifying homes online before they go tour homes. They usually sift through a lot of listings and pick out the best few they can find…and nice photo’s go a long way to keeping your home on the top of their list. Because I hire people that are better at taking pictures than I am, more people come to look at my listings. More people = more opportunities for buyers.
3. You have to work for it. This is not a quick, magical answer to sell your home faster…but it’s the truth. In a buyer’s market, you must go the extra mile…because if you aren’t, someone else is. This means more open houses, more cleaning, more organizing, more staging, and more yard work. All of your light bulbs better work. Your dishes better be put away for every showing. Your closets should be organized. Mow your lawn. Buy some new plants. Paint. Fill holes in the wall. CLEAN YOUR TOILETS. Do the work that potential buyers don’t want to do (hint: they have their pick of the litter right now). Everyone likes a new car…give them the same feeling with your house.
Price, Professional Photo’s, and Home Maintenance. Those are my top 3 tips in this market…it’ll get you on the right track for reeling in a buyer. Don’t fall prey to gimmicky things like trying to offer closing cost credits in a buyers market and thinking that it will actually spur a buyer to make an offer. I’ve negotiated closing costs for nearly every buyer I’ve worked with in the past 3 years. Here’s what every seller needs to come to terms with right now: You’re going to pay closing costs for the buyer, so budget for it. Staging (in my opinion) actually does help to sell a home quicker…your agent can help you (or refer someone who can) do this. Credits for paint or carpet…they’re nice add-on’s, but it’s better to let a buyer SEE these things…rather than hoping they have the imagination to (because most don’t).
Ryan Halset is a Realtor in the Greater Seattle area. He can be reached at Ryan@BoardwalkSeattle.com or 425-483-1010.