7 Tips to Sell Your Home in a “Buyers” Market
When the neighbors are selling, too, it’s understandable to worry. But just because several homes are for sale on the same street doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Here’s some advice to help boost your odds.
1. Suggest a joint open house or marketing
If the family next door and the people down the street have houses on the market, try to work together as sellers rather than against each other. For example: suggest hosting a combined open house on the same day, or combine marketing efforts in a larger ad at a lower cost per household. Both give a distinct advantage in having mass and quantity to attract buying potential.
2. ‘Sell’ your entire neighborhood
These days, it’s not enough to simply sell your home; you also have to go the extra mile to promote your neighborhood.
Help the buyers place themselves in your community by writing a letter that anticipates and answers likely questions, provides a community social calendar for events in your neighborhood, provide a list of amenities provided like lakeside picnic areas and walking trails, and generally describe what you love about living there.
Help give the new buyer the impression that you are leaving something wonderful behind in your move rather than moving because you dislike the neighborhood. Then attach these to your fliers or advertising venues.
3. Give easy access to your home
When several of your neighbors are selling, too, it’s best to be prepared to show the home quickly.
As an agent shows homes in the same neighborhood, even if yours did not show up in their search, it is not unlikely for a buyer to ask to see your home as well, just because they noticed the for sale sign. While it is reasonable to expect some notice before showing up on your doorstop, but the quicker they can get in to see it the better they feel about the property as a whole.
Severely restricting the hours your residence is available for showings could cost you a prospect.
4. Stage your home
Home staging means decorating your dwelling in a way that appeals to a potential buyer, says Julie Dana, home stager and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Staging Your Home to Sell.” “When done right, your home can really stand out from the others in the neighborhood,” she says.
Dana’s top home-staging tips include:
* Make sure address numbers are clear and easy to see from the curb. Otherwise, buyers might drive to your neighbor’s house by mistake.
* Add lighting to make the house look great at night. “People often do an evening ‘drive-by’ before they decide to ask for a showing,” Dana says.
* Clean and de-clutter. Mail, bathroom toiletries and kids’ toys need to be out of view.
* Depersonalize. The knickknacks that make a house a home can distract buyers from visualizing a property as their own, so remove personal items such as family photographs, trophies and vacation pictures.
* Stylize the home with up-to-date designs. Doing something simple, such as placing a slipcover over an old sofa, can greatly improve a room’s appearance.
Home staging is essential because even in this tough market, buyers tend to choose a home based on emotion rather than price, McGuire says. “Consumers are price savvy, and they’ll make sure they’re getting a good buy, but it is the emotional appeal of a nice-looking home that seals the deal,” she says.
“People have tighter budgets, and lenders have even tighter loan restrictions, so buyers don’t necessarily have the extra $2,000 out of pocket to put into a new home,” she says. “The places that look like they’re in move-in condition will be more appealing.”
5. Price your house right
Since home valuesare falling in many markets, it can be hard to know what your asking price should be. A good way to determine the best dollar figure is to study recent sale prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood.
Resist the urge to ask for more than what your home is worth. If your asking price is higher than it should be, you’ll just be assisting your neighbors in selling their homes first.
“Justify the value of your home,” Duffy says. “If you’ve made upgrades, highlight them. Most buyers won’t know that your granite countertops were a $6,000 improvement you made in your kitchen unless you tell them.” She says the same principle applies if there are foreclosures in your neighborhood. Let buyers know that your higher-priced home may be the better deal, and why.
6. Use creativity to boost buyer interest
Marketing time in this climate is longer, even when the seller does everything perfectly. To keep the listing from appearing stale, it’s important to continually update and change your strategies.
Rewrite your ads and update your photos every couple of weeks just for a fresh look. Someone who viewed your listing last week, but does not recognize the photo, may take a second look. Also keep your postings fresh and updated. Postings on Craigslist and other sites get bumped to the last page in a short period of time and are no longer viewed.
If people visited your home but didn’t make an offer, check for any feedback. That information could let you know how your home compares with others in the neighborhood and whether or not you need to make any improvements.
7. If your neighbor sells first, celebrate
It might be disappointing to find out that your neighbor’s house has sold while yours still sits on the market with no offers. But, look on the bright side, your competition has been removed from the market and you can be that much closer to finding your perfect buyer.
Homes within neighborhoods can have very different styles and features, so it makes sense they would appeal to different buyers. Keep your head up and continue to control what you can. Make your home present as well as possible and you too will find the perfect buyer.