There are throngs of homebuyers and not enough homes on the market for them to buy. Like last year, 2020 should see continued robust buyer demand, according to George Ratiu, Realtor.com’s senior economist.
This is wonderful news for any homeowner who is considering selling. But, despite the fact that demand is high and supply is low, there is still competition in the marketplace and buyers are still particular about the homes they agree to view.
Let’s make yours one that is high on their list by doing 5 things to get homebuyers out of their cars and into your home.
Hire the right real estate agent
There’s far more to listing a home for sale than for-sale signs and lockboxes. Even in the best sellers’ market, homes need to be professionally marketed.
Since your home is such a huge financial investment, now is not the time to feel you have to be loyal to your Aunt Martha or cousin Joe who happens to hold a real estate license.
You need an ace marketer. Ask for examples of how an agent has marketed homes in the past. Look for professional photographs, compelling presentations and a broad range of marketing venues.
Avoid trying to test the market
Unless you truly don’t need to sell your home and you’ve lots of time to allow it to sit on the market, list your home as close to market value as possible.
Yes, it’s tempting to list higher, testing the market to see if a higher price will fly. But the chances are that it won’t, and your listing will lose its most valuable marketing period. Lowering the price later sends a message to buyers and their agents that perhaps something is wrong with the home.
Listen to your listing agent. If you took our advice and hired wisely, he or she knows just where to price the home.
Grab them at the curb
It’s a known fact among real estate agents that homebuyers make their decision on whether or not to view the inside of a home while sitting at the curb, looking at the outside. We’ve had many clients who, despite the compelling interior photos of a home, decide not to tour it when they see the exterior.
Appearances do count, especially in real estate. Take the time to spruce up the exterior of the home, from landscaping to paint, if required.
Some inexpensive fixes that add star power include:
- Fresh paint on the front door
- Colorful plants in pots on the porch
- New house numbers to match the new hardware on the freshly-painted front door
- New mailbox
- New front door mat
- Clean windows
- Fresh layer of mulch in the planting beds
- Mowed lawn
- Pruned trees
Do sweat the small stuff
It’s easy to overlook the small problems when you’ve lived in a home for some time. That dripping faucet, the wiggly banister or the rip in a window screen.
Homebuyers, however, will notice these problems and, if there are enough of them, your home will appear uncared for.
Before that first homebuyer tours your home, do your own tour, checking each room from ceiling to floor. At a bare minimum, do the following:
- Remove cobwebs near the ceiling
- Check that all the light fixtures are in working condition
- Check the windows for cracked glass and torn screens
- Do any of the baseboards need repair, replacement or a coat of paint?
- Inspect the floor coverings for signs of wear
Inform the appraiser
Appraisers aren’t mind readers and many welcome a homeowner’s input. Gather up any documentation you may have on home improvements you’ve performed or had professionally performed, any major purchases or replacements (such as a new HVAC system, roof replacement, major plumbing overhaul, etc.) and organize them in a folder.
Also, if you have information on any neighboring home sales that the appraiser may not be privy to, write about them and include the document in the folder.
For instance, Joe down the street sold his home for $50,000 less than market value. You know that he took the low offer because he needed to quickly move to take a job transfer. This is important information for the appraiser to have, so by all means, document it and include it in the folder.
Don’t hover over the appraiser while he or she is working, but do mention that you have a folder of information you’d like to pass along.
Don’t take anything personally
It’s hard to set your emotions aside when you’re selling a home. This is, however, a business transaction so you may need to keep reminding yourself of this fact.
Don’t be insulted by lowball offers, suggestions for improvements, attempts to negotiate repairs or snide remarks you may overhear from potential buyers.
Divorce yourself from the home – treat it as the commodity it now is and you’ll be able to negotiate like a pro.