For most families, their home is their largest financial asset, and deciding to sell it is a big decision that involves a lot of preparation and work.
The Basics of Marketing Your Home
As your REALTOR® my marketing efforts will include advertising, showing the property, negotiating an offer and working with the buyer(s) and buyer’s agent through the entire purchase process. But we start with the marketing of your home and of course the foundation of that marketing is to have it listed through the Triangle Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Below is basic information and then listed under the heading of “My Seller Tools” you will find a detailed and extensive description of all of the various things my company and I will do to effectively market your home. We want to tell the strongest story and we want to tell it often to those most likely to be potential buyers, reaching them in as many ways as we can.
Advertising and Promotion
Properties are commonly advertised through real estate agent Web sites just like my personal website and those of the Jim Allen Group, Coldwell Banker and Coldwell Banker Howard Perry And Walston. In addition, Internet home search/listing services, classified advertising and real estate guides will often be used to promote your property to potential buyers. Promotion efforts through office and MLS tours are a good way of getting other buyer agents to view your home and to promote it to the buyers they are working with. The Fall office of Coldwell Banker HPW is the only office in the Triangle regardless of firm that does regular weekly tours of new listings, where written surveys are conducted with the surveys then made available to the sellers for their review.
Even with all these advertising avenues, ” For Sale” signs on front lawns are still remarkably effective. When possible I use a 5 foot white metal sign post with an arm from which hangs the Jim Allen Group/Coldwell Banker HPW real estate sign. This sign promotes the fact that my company has the listing of that property and provides a phone number for anyone to call for more information. There is also a 1-800 Sign Rider that provides a number anyone can call to get a recorded message about that property. We also use a brochure box at the roadside. More details about all of these marketing strategies can be found under “My Seller Tools”.
Showings and Open Houses
To prepare your home for viewing, you want to make it as bright, clean, cheerful and serene as possible. Your home is no longer just a home when you put it on the market. As an ASP certified Realtor I will give you staging advice that you are encouraged to take to make your home as inviting as possible. The key things to keep in mind are to: Neutralize wall colors, Deodorized if there are odors present due to pets, smoking or food has been prepared that has a strong odor, and to Decluter. This means reducing the amount of furniture personal items, family photos and the like. If you don’t need it to live in your home or to help showcase your home then either store it, sell it or give it away now rather than waiting until you are moving. You also don’t want to be there when there is a showing. Buyers and their agents won’t feel free to open closets and cabinets, test out the plumbing and discuss their observations objectively as they walk through the house. It goes without saying that your children and pets should not be on the premises either.
My company does not do open houses for resale properties unless those properties are luxury one of a kind type homes where an agent-only open house would be warranted.
Quick tips for showings:
- Replace any burned out light bulbs and turn on all lights.
- Clean or replace dirty or worn carpets
- Open all curtains and blinds
- Clear all clutter.
- Clear all countertops.
- Wash and put away any dirty dishes.
- Set the dining room or kitchen table if you have particularly nice linen or china.
- Simmer a few drops of vanilla on the stove.
- Put on soft music.
- If a wood fireplace clean it and if gas and on a cold day turn it on.
- Put fresh towels in the bathroom.
- Take any laundry out of the washer and dryer and don’t leave any clothing on the ground in the laundry, closets, bedrooms or bathrooms.
- Leave the house the way you would expect a seller to leave a house you were visiting as a potential buyer.
- Put pets in cages or take them out of the house.
How Long Has Your House Been on the Market?
Professional appraisers sum up their entire body of knowledge in three words: ” Buyers make value.” Your home is only worth as much as a buyer will pay for it and you will accept for it. You may think your house is worth X but a buyer is only willing to pay Y. If you can’t negotiate the price up from where the buyer’s initial offer was then if you accept the price being offered that’s the value of your home. Value is not price until a price is agreed upon by both parties. And that may be thousands of dollars higher or lower than the TAX VALUE given to the property by the county revenue department that appraises residential properties in Wake and most counties in NC every 8 years.
If your home has been on the market for months, it’s a clear message that the property may not be worth what you’re asking for it. This is particularly true if there haven’t been many prospects coming to see it. What you do at that point depends on whether you really need to sell, and whether you’re working with a time limit. The longer you can wait the more likely, in an appreciating market, your home will eventually get to the point where it can be sold for your asking price. But how long are you willing to wait? The problem is that in that time, your home begins to feel shopworn. Buyers become suspicious of a house that’s been for sale for a long time. You may want to take it off the market for a few months or even longer and then put it back on the market.
If you really do need to sell, we can come up with a schedule for gradually dropping your price until you find a level that attracts buyers. There’s no point in saying, ” We simply can’t sell our house.” Anything will sell if the price is right. But you have to be willing to drop the price to the point where a buyer willing to buy at that price will appear. If you can drastically update the house or physically move it the only thing you can do to motivate a buyer to make an offer is to lower the price. It won’t be because buyers aren’t out there. With all of the advertising that The Jim Allen Group and I do on behalf of all of our listing clients it’s not going to be because buyers aren’t aware of your property. It will either be because a buyer simply doesn’t exist at the current time or there is something wrong with the house that needs to be fixed, usually that’s the price.
If You’re Buying Another Home
You may wonder what will happen when you’re selling one home and buying another – how will all the details work out? This is a common situation and I have plenty of experience in arranging contracts and loans so that the two transactions dovetail as smoothly as possible. The main thing to remember when you are selling and buying is that now more parties are involved and you have to work out the details of those transactions and in some cases they have multiple transactions to deal with too. So patience is something every buyer and seller needs a lot of. You and the Realtors involved can only do so much. Add in the lenders and maybe a builder and it just becomes a more complicated process.
And should you sell your home first then buy or buy first then sell? Ideally, it’s best to find a home you like and make an offer subject to selling your current home. This generally works in a normal market. However, in a “hot” market like we have now here in the Triangle most sellers will not accept a “subject to sale” or “contingent” offer. Would you run the risk of the buyer buying your home not being able to because of something you have no control over if you didn’t have to? No one else would either. In this case you need to sell your home first and then buy a new home in the interim period between selling and vacating your house. Again, this is where I come in. I can help you find the right home to purchase and I will work as hard as I can to make the transition from one home to the other as painless as possible.
If you find that you need to buy the next house before you’ve received the proceeds from the present one, lending institutions can sometimes make you a short-term ” bridge” loan to tide you over between the two transactions. Make sure you fully understand the exposure and emotional investment before proceeding with this type of loan. In this situation I have three preferred lenders who I can recommend to assist you with this type of loan if it becomes necessary.