So, it’s a buyer’s market.
You’re thinking, “I’ll just hold off on selling because I can’t sell my home for what I want in this market.”
Maybe you’ve been led to believe you have low negotiating power and that your house will sit on the market FOREVER.
While negotiating is part of the process, there’s no “buyer takes all” ruling here.
Read on to discover 11 ways to position your home to get qualified offers fast for a quick sale.
1. THINK LIKE A MARKETER.
Analyze who is buying and selling in your market. Do a SWOT analysis of your home, your neighborhood. You have to know a few things to see what you’re up against.
In a buyer’s market, other sellers are your competition. New developments. Historic neighborhoods. Condos. All of it.
Take an hour and do a bit of preliminary research.
Who is your competition?
Who is your target market? (Who is looking to buy your home?)
Why are they shopping? (Low interest rates? This could be an great opportunity. New top-rated school going up in your neighborhood?)
William Poorvu, author of the book, “Creating and Growing Real Estate Wealth” offers these considerations:
“Do you live in an area like Phoenix, “a growing market with people coming in,” says Poorvu.
Or are you living in an area that doesn’t attract a lot of new residents, where many shoppers are “bottom fishers” who don’t have to buy but are “looking to pick up a bargain,” he says.
Are you competing against a flood of new houses from builders eager to sell, or are you selling a newer home in an area where most of the housing stock is older?” Source
Knowing your competition will give you a leg up on them when it comes to your marketing and pricing strategies.
2. FIND YOUR USP.
After you have completed your SWOT analysis for selling your home, find your USP. Your USP, or unique selling point, is your marketing edge.
A great USP breaks your home out from the rest of the competition. It establishes your home as “the home” for the specific feature you want to showcase.
Andrew Winter of RealEstate.com breaks down the concept of a real estate USP like this:
“Every home needs a unique selling point. Without one, selling the property will be a struggle.
A unique selling point, or USP, a term borrowed from the world of sales and usually implies something that differentiates a product from the rest of the market, but it has a place in modern real estate marketing.
Having a USP helps focus a sales campaign and ensures your real estate agent knows which of your property’s features will strike a chord with potential buyers.” Source
Finding the “right angle” can help you get closer to closing your home for the “right price”.
Remember, in your SWOT, one thing you should cover is the selling prices of nearby comparable homes. Make sure you include a fair price selling price for your home.
While you may not max out your full profit potential in a Buyer’s Market, you also have the opportunity to snatch up another property at a great price.
3. GET YOUR HOME INSPECTED.
You may have identified some weak points in the SWOT of your home, but their may be more.
While buyers usually pay for the home inspection, there are advantages to having a preliminary inspection if you can afford it.
A.) If there are big issues (structural, etc.) that need to be addressed before you can list your home, better to know now than when you go to market.
Once you go to market your DOM (Days On Market) timer starts clicking away, and that can hurt your chances of selling for the price you want.
B.) If your home has no issues, well that’s just one more thing the buyer doesn’t have to pay for!
You just reduced something called “buyer friction” or the “amount of steps one must go through to purchase something”. Reducing buyer friction makes your home more appealing.
Redfin.com echoes this idea here:
“Being able to show prospective buyers that your property has already been inspected and is clear of issues is a major selling point. Of course, if problems are identified, rectify them before listing your property.” Source
You want to expedite selling time? Reduce buyer friction across multiple points.
4. HIRE AN EXPERT STAGER.
If you want to get the most money for your house (I think you do) and if you want to sell your home quickly (who wouldn’t?) then consider investing in professional services in addition to hiring an expert realtor.
I think the following case study illustrates the need for a professional stager well.
HOME STAGER CASE STUDY
Published by StagingDoctor.com
“Expert home stager Debra Gould shares a real-life example of the difference staging can make and how much cheaper it is than a dramatic price cut: A real estate agent wanted her client to drop his asking price by $50,000 after the house had sat on the market for 6 months without a single offer.
She was desperate to attract interest since it was costing her money to carry the listing and she wasn’t making anything for her time and effort. Instead of listening to his agent’s advice, the client called in Gould to stage his house. She spent a day helping the client rearrange all the furniture and accessories in every room. Some things were moved to off-site storage, and she purchased a few new accessories, which the client could also use in his new home.
The total cost for Gould’s staging advice, storage and the purchases came in at $1,500.
The client didn’t have to cut his asking price by $50,000, and instead sold the following week for 98% of the original list price. If he had just taken the step of calling a home stager at the start, he would have saved himself months of anguish.” Source
You don’t have to slash the price to sell your home. Your home has value.
A great professional stager will help buyers to see that value.
A great realtor will enlist the services of a great stager to help turn your home from “for sale” to “sold”.
5. ADD PHOTOGRAPHY.
In a post written by Valerie Ford, real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty, Valerie pointed out the absolute need for photography in a published listing.
“Imagine that you are looking for a new home and you are online checking out what’s available in your desired area. Would you bother to click on a listing with no pictures? Your first thought might be, “Why are there no pictures? What’s wrong with this house?” — and that’s exactly what might happen to you if you are the seller or listing agent.” Source
Don’t skip photography. Your home is going to be viewed by potentially hundreds or thousands of buyers. You don’t want them to skim past your listing, because you decided to skip out on the photography blessing.
Which brings me to point 6.
6. INVEST IN PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY.
Yes, you could try to go the DIY route here, but why? Professional real estate photographers are professional real estate photographers for a reason.
You wouldn’t try to perform minor surgery on yourself to save a few hundred dollars. Don’t lose a few thousand dollars (and potentially some really interested buyers) by deciding to test your Instagram skills while selling your home.
Harry Lim, professional real estate photographer and owner of Harry Lim Photography, talks openly about a how using a professional photographer can increase sale time of a listed property.
In a case study example featured on a blog post, Lim says,
“…if a house isn’t selling, the seller will find a new agent. In this particular instance, with the help of drastically improved photography by Lim, a house that was on the market for eight months sold in eight days after a realtor who appreciates photography and invests in marketing took over the listing. Source
Professional photography is a “must” investment. If you are looking to really gain footing in a buyer’s market, don’t skip this step.
7. GIVE THE TOUR – FROM THEIR LIVING ROOM.
Buyers are looking at properties online. They’re not just looking for the basics.
Yes, they want a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home for their growing family.
But they are also looking at nearby schools, area attractions, neighborhood curb appeal, golf courses nearby, parks, local breweries, you name it.
They want to know that they will fit into this new neighborhood. They want to know if they will fit into this new lifestyle.
They are lifestyle shopping.
Virtual tours help your buyers see more than just a few standard photos. A great virtual tour will help your buyers to understand the space and flow of the home.
Maureen Francis, an agent with Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel, said this:
“All of my listings have virtual tours. It is a decision we made months ago. First of all this gets the listing viewed more often on Realtor.com. As an agent, I am frustrated when I see a listing in the MLS with only one photo. I chose just the pictures that highlight the best features about the home. If it is the yard, then that is what I use. We even use them for vacant land and tear downs.” Source
A neighborhood tour takes this approach one step further. Some realtors offer neighborhood tour videos for neighborhoods within their sales area.
A neighborhood tour allows buyers to envision the lifestyle they can adopt if they move there. A great neighborhood tour video will showcase area attractions and growth opportunities – like a new, burgeoning arts district – or a revitalized historic district. It will also show people in motion – walking their dogs, playing golf nearby, using the community pool.
Where a home virtual tour focuses on the lifestyle inside the home, a neighborhood tour takes the curious buyer outside to explore more.
8. TEST THE MARKET.
Got a good realtor? While you may not *need* to, for certain homes, pre-marketing may be the ticket to checking market warmth and finalizing the details before you go live.
Once a listing goes LIVE on MLS, the all-important countdown timer called “Days On Market” kicks in. Why is the Days On Market indicator important?
Brendon Desimone, writer for Zillow.com, lays it out here:
“Today, once a listing goes active, the days on market or DOM starts ticking for all the world to see online. The DOM is the best way for a buyer to gauge how your home fares in the market. If the DOM hits three months and your home is still listed, chances are slim you will get a full-price offer.” Source
Woah. Wait. You mean that if my home “sits” for a period of time, it can lower my offers? Yep.
After a period of time (Desimone lists three months in his statement), buyers start to wonder things like, “What’s wrong with this home?” or the dreaded “They must have overpriced it. I’ll make a lesser offer.”
Either way, that’s no bueno for you.
Some realtors may offer pre-marketing for certain markets. They may have access to an email list of buyers looking for a home JUST LIKE YOURS.
A simple email with the home’s description and a few photos can help check market warmth before listing on MLS.
This practice can also help you discover any hangups in the listing before you go live, allowing you to adjust your offer accordingly or add an incentive.
You don’t have to let your house “sit” for three months waiting for offers, devaluing it a bit more each day. You can find out if the market is semi-warm now with a little bit of pre-marketing effort.
9. PRICE IT RIGHT.
When considering pricing, you have to remove your own personal emotional attachment to the home. You may love certain things about your home, that may not be as attractive to some buyers.
Here’s the thing. You want your experience in selling your home to be as stress-free as possible. The longer you have to keep your home *spotless*, the more draining the process can be.
If you are looking to sell quickly (my advice), pricing is an important factor.
In an article on CBSNews.com:
“Sellers fear pricing too low and leaving money on the table, but there is little danger of this. If a home is priced too low, far below the competition, you should receive multiple offers that will drive up the price to fair market value.” Source
A good real estate agent will be well-versed in pricing strategies and can help you reduce anxiety by pricing near target so that you stop dusting your mantle every 5 minutes.
Even if you price a little low to start, you won’t lose out with a good pricing strategy.
10. TWEAK AND ADJUST.
You’ve done A LOT. You’re house is primed and ready to sell!
Pour a glass of champagne as you read on.
Your first few showings may be “feedback showings”. These may be interested buyers who don’t “bite” because of (insert reason here). Your realtor’s job is to find out that reason.
Your realtor can contact the buyer’s agent to see what the feedback from the buyer’s was. How can you improve future showings?
Gladys Blum, the number one agent out of 629 realty agents in the Salem, OR area offered this:
“The offer is going to be much better if it’s looking good. So, the staging, cleaning and photography are all so important in a buyer’s market. And staying in tune. If we get feedback about a certain negative, we need to address it so that we won’t get that same response at the next showing.” Source
Get the feedback. Implement small changes to get everything ship shape for the next showing.
If a poor offer comes in, you can hold off. By implementing changes from feedback, you can show your house again to the next buyer in line.
11. OFFER TO COVER CLOSING COSTS.
Depending on your market, this may be a card to hold up your sleeve. You may have interested buyers who are credit kings, but cash short.
“Negotiating $5,000 off the price will only reduce the buyer’s mortgage payment about $25 a month,” says Kyle Alfriend of the Alfriend Group in Dublin, OH. “However, $5,000 toward closing or moving costs will save them $5,000 in cash right now.” Source
You may not need to drop your selling price to get a buyer.
Other fun options you can use to help incentive the sale may be things like including appliances with the home for sale, or offering to throw in that lovely sectional couch (that the buyers LOVED in your home tour), and you were thinking of selling anyway.