The 3 Keys to home selling success in the current market
There are 3 elements that need to be in place for a successful house sale particularly in the current market:
Think of these elements like a 3 legged stool. With one element missing the stool collapses. For example if you present and promote a home well but the price is too high the home won’t sell. If you present and price a home well but don’t promote it then the house won’t sell.
Underlying the 3 elements is YOU and the role that you play in the sale of your own house. I think there is a tendency for many buyers to list their house and just sit back and wait for the offers. That might have worked in the past but not in the current market. There is nothing like feeling you have no control over when your house sells for you to feel stressed. By putting YOU firmly back in the process you will feel more in control of the result. After all it is YOUR result.
Let’s look at each element in turn:
It’s really important to set the price right the first time, even slightly on the low side. It is way more preferable in this market to have a couple of people wanting to buy your house and pushing the price up from a lower base than have nobody making an offer and have to reduce your price. You only get one chance – a window of 6 weeks at maximum to get an offer at your first price. The longer a house stays on the market the more its asking price decreases which gives the perception of desperation and ‘old stock’
Ask a number of potential agents to tell you how they would price your house and why and get them to show you the evidence . Just because an agent gives you a higher price doesn’t mean that you will achieve it or that you should list your house with them. This is where YOU come in. You need to have a better understanding than your agent of your house’s worth so that you can come up with a pricing strategy together. There is so much information available on the internet of past and current house prices so there should be no excuse. I think also you need to be honest with yourself about whether you really want to sell your house or whether you are just testing the market. “If it doesn’t sell for xx I will take it off the market”. Also be aware of the “well I bought it for xx 3 years ago so I need to get zz for it now” It’s a different market than 3 years ago. Finally be aware of hoping you will get a higher price. It is far better to be realistic from the start.
Obviously if you have a well priced house and no one knows it’s there then the promotion element isn’t working. Again when finding an agent that’s right for you, understand exactly how they are going to market your property so that it reaches your potential audience at the right time and stands out from the other properties on the market. With 90% of buyers looking on-line first before viewing a house the quality of the photographs are important so ask your agent who they use and look at examples of the photographs.
Most people think that the promotion or marketing of their property is the responsibility of their agent. However, YOU also need to get into action. Use social media to get the word out that your house is on the market. Link Facebook or twitter to your house on your agent’s site. Tell people to share and retweet. Talk your house up to everyone you meet and get them to pass on the message that it’s for sale. Invite your neighbours to your open house so that they too can spread the word. Tell your agent to put your address in their marketing materials. Do the people who say ‘ring agent for address’ actually want to sell their house?
This is a competitive market so think about other ways to entice buyers. Maybe throw in your pizza oven or your ride on mower. Or, be open to negotiation on anything from curtains to your car. Think about any potential questions or problems and have an answer for them. For example a flood map or 1 year’s free termite check.
There are so many houses on the market and so many picky and savvy buyers that the presentation of your house is more important than ever. Most people know to de-clutter and clean but presentation needs to go way beyond that to stand out from the crowd. Here are some guidelines:
Know who your most likely buyer is and get your house ready to attract them. For example if your buyer is a family then you need to set up at least 2 rooms as children’s bedrooms, show one room as a family/rumpus room and make sure the garden is secure. Remember, this is not about you and how you live. It is about your buyer and what they want.
Know the process of getting your house ready. De-clutter, then clean, then repair and re-model if required, neutralise your decor (no strong colours) then ‘stage’ your house to appeal to your target.
People are busy. They want a house that they can move straight into. Concentrate on making this your house.
Make sure each room has a purpose. The dining room should be a dining room and not a pool room.
Neutralise the fixed elements such as walls and flooring. Add ‘moveable’ colour to furnishings such as artwork, cushions and bed linen. Buyers know that this won’t be there when they move in but it gives the houses a warm and inviting feel.
Treat each open house as show time. You only get one chance for a first impression.
Never show a home empty – hire furniture instead. Buyers find it virtually impossible to imagine what an empty house would look like furnished, what each room is for, where their furniture would go and if it would fit. Empty houses have no soul, are difficult to fall in love with and smack of a desperate buyer
Get help if you need it from a home stager who can manage and fulfill the whole presentation process.
So, remember the 3 elements of Price, promotion and presentation but also remember that selling a house is a very active process and YOU can make the difference in your own house sale.