Cynthia's Blog

January 9, 2009

Home Selling Do’s and Don’ts

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

Sell Quicker in Any Type of Market

Did you know that the best chance of getting an offer closest to your asking price occurs within the critical first two weeks of when your home hits the market? 


Momentum is strongest when your home first hits the market.  Home Buyers vie to be the first ones through your door to see if this is the home of their dreams that they must snatch up before someone else does.  Buyer traffic is highest at the beginning.  Buyer psychology runs along the lines of, "It just hit the market.  If we want this house we should probably make a good offer."

Home Buyers and their agents pour through the Internet to create the initial list of homes to see.  Factors such as price, location and number of bedrooms or baths help get homes selected for the To-See List.  Odds are good that Buyers will purchase from this initial To-See List.  If not, back to the MLS they go to select from the "older" listings.

After a couple of weeks and your home hasn’t sold, the sense of urgency has dissipated.  Traffic slows as Buyers are touring the newest listings.  A drop in your home’s price can often generate renewed interest and traffic, but most Sellers don’t consider a price drop as Good News.  And in today’s market, even a modest price drop can have the Seller bringing money to the table at closing because too much is owed on the house.

If your home didn't make the initial To-See list because, for example, the home was priced too high, your home has now accumulated a higher days-on-market.

A thing about days-on-market is that it carries an implied message, "Just hit the market, this one’s hot,"  vs. "Thirty-eight days-on-market, must be a reason why it hasn’t sold."  Even if Buyers tour your home, they may tour it with a prejudiced eye, searching for the reasons why the home hasn’t sold.

A home with a higher days-on-market gives Buyers an advantage (and in this market, do Buyers really need yet another advantage?!).  Home buyer psychology can be, "It’s been on the market for a while now; the sellers will probably take what they can get."

Some Do’s and Don’ts for that first two weeks:

Don’t overprice the home at the beginning, just to see if you can get it.  Your traffic may not be as good as it would have been had the price been more in line with your comps.  When you eventually lower the price, your days-on-market may embolden buyers to make an even lower offer, BELOW your reduced price.

Do expect your Real Estate Agent to research your comps as a factor in determining a good price.

Don’t ignore feedback about simple projects that need to be completed or easy updates that need to be made. This would include feedback provided by your Agent and Home Stager.

Do spend a few dollars to make your home competitive and desirable to Buyers. This isn’t about making your Agent’s job easier; it’s about squeezing every dime out of your home for the least amount of money spent.  If spending $500 can help you net $5000, it’s a no-brainer.

Don’t take a wait-and-see approach for addressing major issues such as replacing bad carpet and padding, especially if your home is priced at the top of your comps. A wait-and-see approach is the same as overpricing the home, only now you've wasted the Buyer's time and they're annoyed, which makes them less likely to make an offer.

Do address major issues at the start. If you cannot afford new carpet and padding, for instance, get quotes for this and any other items that will come up during a buyer tour or home inspection. The quotes make you armed and dangerous during negotiations, and getting quotes costs ZERO dollars.

Don’t enter the home on the MLS without photos, especially if there will be no photos for the weekend.  You’ll be wasting the critical first week because the Buyer psychology is usually, "Hmmm, there must not have been anything good enough to shoot!"

Do make sure that the photos reflect your home in as perfect a condition as it can be. Rake the leaves, paint the room, have the home Staged BEFORE the photos are taken!

Strike HARD and strike FAST; be PERFECT for Day One on the market!

This article is a sample of what can be found in my Seller-as-Stager Manual, available for just $19.95. Order your copy today! 

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