Hey – isn’t this the worst real estate downturn since the Great Depression? If that’s true how are some sellers still able to successfully beat the odds and sell for top dollar despite the market conditions? The answer is that they employ time tested and market approved techniques and strategies that give them an all important edge over their competition.
To model the success of these savvy homeowners, let’s take a look at the top 10 tips to sell your home for top dollar:
Price your home aggressively
Setting the right price for your home is the single most important decision you will make when you decide to sell. Go too high and you risk turning off every buyer in the marketplace, go too low and you leave money on the table. One simple but powerful technique for pricing your home aggressively is to spend the day looking at your competitors’ homes. By doing so you will be seeing the world through the buyers’ eyes. Be tough and honest with yourself. Compared to the competition what would be a price that would position your home as the best value proposition for buyers in your marketplace?
Use price points
Buyers don’t walk into an agent’s office and announce that they would like to see homes priced at a specific price like $227,900 dollars. Instead they ask to see homes between price ranges that are separated by five to ten thousand dollar increments. Because of this, consider setting your price near one of these natural price points. For instance a price $229,900 would probably net you exactly the same number of buyer inquiries as a price of $227,900, but moving your home down to $224,900 (the next price point down) would widen your potential buyer pool.
Consider value range marketing
Another pricing technique that may be the ticket to more showings and more offers is to use value range marketing. Value range marketing is a pricing technique in which you choose a listing price based on what you would sell for today if a buyer wrote you a check. You then choose another lower price – one that you wouldn’t reject if offered but would use as a starting point negotiate towards some middle ground. So instead of listing your home at a specific price of $496,000 dollars, you list the home between $459,000 and $496,000.
Offer a bonus to selling agents
The agent who brings a buyer to your home is typically referred to as the selling agent or the buyer’s agent. In a market crowded with inventory many sellers find it wise to provide an incentive to motivate these agents to show their home more frequently. While you may cringe at paying real estate brokers even more money, the fact is it may provide just the push they need to work a little harder to sell your home for top dollar.
Hire an aggressive listing agent
Not all listing agents are created equal. To find an aggressive full time agent, take the time to research the market, talk to friends, neighbors, and colleagues about who they recommend, and interview multiple agents before making a hiring decision. In addition, be sure to come to an agreement about a specific, documented marketing plan before signing a long term listing agreement.
Encourage two way critiques
Successful sellers aren’t afraid of a little (or a lot) of constructive criticism. In fact, they invite agents to give them helpful suggestions on everything, from pricing to curb appeal, to help them secure the highest possible price for their home. On the flip side, when hiring an agent, be sure to find an agent that is open to suggestions. For instance, as a seller you may find ways to improve advertising copy, flyers, photographs, or even virtual tours.
Offer incentives & pre-paids
A buyer who has narrowed their search down to two or three top choices may need a little push to motivate them to take action. To encourage buyers, many sellers offer incentives like buying the interest rate down on the purchaser’s loan, paying for closing costs, inspections, or repairs, or providing allowances or credits for home upgrades after closing. In addition, many sellers prepay for services like internet services for a year, taxes or homeowners association dues, or even golf club memberships.
Stage the home & use curb appeal
Buyers won’t pull the trigger unless they become emotionally invested in your home. To help build a stronger first impression start from the outside first by working hard to improve your home’s curb appeal. Next move inside and stage each space by creating a focal point and a story for each room. A set dining table, a book by the bed, or a game in the kids room are all simple examples of staging.
Use a pre-appraisal and pre-inspections
A pre-appraisal is an appraisal of the home before a buyer has made an offer. By having this done early you will have an objective voice that has provided a value for the property independent of your own opinion and may be a great tool in talking with buyers. In addition, many sellers do pre-inspections of the home to provide buyers with a clear whole home inspection or pest and dry rot inspection. (A word of caution: anything discovered during a pre-inspection will likely need to be disclosed whether you fix the issue or not).
Learn to fail fast
If something isn’t working, successful sellers have the strength to fail fast by making adjustments to their strategy quickly. For instance, if after implementing your marketing plan buyers don’t begin to view your home on a regular basis, this is a clear indication (a red flag) that the market is rejecting your price. There is only one solution: lower your price. On the other hand, if you have steady stream of buyers touring your listing, yet you aren’t receiving any offers, this is often a symptom of buyers rejecting, not the price, but the home itself. Something about the home is turning them off. Savvy sellers attempt to identify the problem and take proactive action to correct it.
To sell your home for top dollar takes hard work and a commitment to position your home in a way that attracts the maximum number of prospective buyers. By implementing one or more of these techniques you will be taking the first step towards a successful sale.