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.
Tip No.1 - 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 an updated Timberline 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 would appeal to the widest audience. In addition, they should compliment the home and its other amenities, such as building a deck or patio adjacent to an outdoor swimming pool. More than ever, in a down market you should take every small edge you can get. (For more insight, see Fix It And Flip It: The Value of Remodeling.)
Tip No.2 - 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 of 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.
Tip No.3 - Sweeten the Deal
Offer 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 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 a failure by appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators. 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.
Tip No.4 - 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?
Tip No.5 - 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.
Tip No.6 - Pricing the Home
Regardless of how well you renovate and stage your home, it is still important to price the home appropriately. Consult a local realtor, read the newspapers and go to online real estate sites, such as Realtor.com 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.
Sell Your House
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.
For more tips on selling your home, read Downsize Your Home To Downsize Expenses.