In a declining real estate market where supply outstrips demand, a person can generally sell a house faster by lowering the price. But there are other ways to enhance a home's attractiveness besides lowering the asking price. If you're looking to sell your home in a cooling real estate market, read on for some tips on how to generate interest and get the best price possible.
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Differentiate From the Neighbors
In order to attract attention and to make your home more memorable, consider custom designs or additions, such as landscaping, high-grade windows or a new roof. This can help improve the home's aesthetics, while potentially adding value to the home. Any improvements should be practical and use colors and designs that will appeal to the widest audience. In addition, they should complement the home and its other amenities, such as building a deck or patio adjacent to an outdoor swimming pool.
However, while it can pay to spice up your home, don't over-improve it. According to a 2013 article in Realtor Magazine, some renovations, such as adding a bathroom or putting new shingles on a roof, might not always pay. The data suggests that the nationwide average amount recouped for a bathroom remodel is about 58%. For a new roof, it's even less. If you're going to invest in home improvements, do your research and be sure to put your money into the things that are likely to get you the best return. In addition, if you have added any custom features that you think buyers will be interested in, make sure they are included in the home's listing information. More than ever, in a down market you should take every small edge you can get.
Clean the Clutter
It is imperative to remove all clutter from the home before showing it to potential buyers because buyers need to be able to picture themselves in the space. This might include removing some furniture to make rooms look bigger, and putting away family photographs and personal items. You may even want to hire a stager to help you make better use of the space. Staging costs can range from a couple hundred dollars for a basic consultation to several thousand dollars, particularly if you rent modern, neutral furniture for showing your home. Many people feel that stagers can make a home more salable, so hiring one deserves some consideration.
Sweeten the Deal
Another way to make the home and deal more attractive to buyers is to offer things or terms that might sweeten the pot. For example, sellers that offer the buyer a couple of thousand dollars credit toward closing costs, or offer to pay closing costs entirely will in some cases receive more attention from house hunters looking at similar homes. In a down market, buyers are looking for a deal, so do your best to make them feel they're getting one.
Another tip is to offer a transferable home warranty, which can cost $300 to $400 for a one-year policy and will cover appliances, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, that fail. Depending on the policy, other appliances and house gadgets may be covered as well. A potential buyer may feel more at ease knowing that he or she will be covered against such problems, which could make your home more attractive than a competing home.
Finally, it's important to note that some buyers are motivated by the option to close in a short amount of time. If it is possible for you to close on the home within 30 to 60 days, this may set your deal apart and get you a contract.
Improve Curb Appeal
Sellers often overlook the importance of their home's curb appeal. The first thing a buyer sees is a home's external appearance and the way it fits into the surrounding neighborhood. Try to make certain that the exterior has a fresh coat of paint, and that the bushes and lawn are well manicured. In real estate, appearances mean a lot. What better way to set your home apart than to make it attractive at first glance?
Get Your Home in "Move In" Condition
Aesthetics are important, but it's also important that doors, appliances and electrical and plumbing fixtures be in compliance with current building codes and in working order. Again, the idea is to have the home in move in condition and to give potential buyers the impression that they will be able to move right in and start enjoying their new home, rather than spending time and money fixing it up.
Pricing It Right
Regardless of how well you renovate and stage your home, it is still important to price the home appropriately. Consult a local real estate agent, read the newspapers and go to online real estate sites to see what comparable homes are going for in your area.
It's not always imperative to be the lowest priced home on the block, particularly when aesthetic and other significant improvements have been made. However, it is important that the listing price is not out of line with other comparable homes in the market. Try to put yourself in the buyer's shoes and then determine what a fair price might be. Have friends, neighbors and real estate professionals tour the home and weigh in as well.
The Bottom Line
Selling a home in a down market requires a little extra work. Do everything you can to get the home in excellent shape and be prepared to make some small concessions at closing. These tips, coupled with an attractive price, will increase the odds of getting your home sold.