Let’s face it: if you are a homeowner the current real estate market is a bummer, especially if you are planning to sell your home. Though the economy is slowly on the mend, unemployment continues to rise, consumer confidence remains low while foreclosures are still a big problem. Chances are you’ll get less money for your house than what you want, that is if you’re able to find a qualified buyer in the first place.
As tough as things may be, you can still sell your house and perhaps keep your shirt in the process. If you’re desperate you’ll lose big, but if you plan smartly you just may be able to sell your home and move on with your life.
Please read on for seven tips on how to market your house today:
1. Going Local – Before you market your home, know your market. Real estate agents love to emphasize location and for good reason too – where you live and what market you’re in can make all of the difference in the world. Home prices have actually climbed in some local markets, particularly in certain “in demand” neighborhoods. Study real estate comparables (comps) for your street and neighborhood to spot trends. It could be that buyers love where you live and are willing to pay the going rate to live there.
2. Your Inventory – Every seller has one house to market, therefore you need to compare what you have with what is out there. If your house is newer, recently updated or has some other features to help it stand out, then you already have an edge. Conversely, if your home is older and situated among newer homes, hasn’t been updated in awhile or located on a busy road, near a train depot or next to an industrial park, then you must consider those issues too when pricing your home.
3. Get Appraised – You’ll want to seek professional assistance to determine the market value of your home. And, in today’s market that might not be as easy as it sounds. If your neighborhood has several foreclosures available for sale, those homes must be taken into consideration too. A professional appraiser will look at recent sales prices to determine your home’s current value while a real estate pro will have a good grasp on pricing trends. If your market hasn’t hit bottom yet, expect that your listing price will be lower that the appraisal.
4. Follow Trends – Speaking of trends, where exactly is your market headed? If prices are still dropping, you may want to discount your home’s price from the start. A competitively priced house may seem like a “steal” to buyers, but if housing prices are still falling you’re simply reflecting tomorrow’s value today. “Value pricing” can attract lookers who may include your buyer.
5. R/E Commission – Will you be selling your house yourself or will you be using the services of a realtor? Real estate commissions have been averaging about six percent for years, but in this economy, a number of agents have adjusted their commission structure in order to compete effectively. Even a 1% drop on a $200,000 home can be significant – saving you $2000 in fees at closing. Consider using that money as leverage in negotiating a sale. And if you plan on selling your home yourself, why not reduce your price to partially reflect your commission savings?
6. Know Buyers – The difference between “no buyers” and “know buyers” is huge. Unless you know is who buying today may result in you having no buyers. Allow me to illustrate – if people in a buying mood today are first time homeowners seeking to use the $8000 federal tax credit coming to them, then they’re probably young and not so well off. This means that if you have a starter home your house should do well. But it also means if your home is pricey and huge, you may find the number of bidders to be few and far between. A real estate professional should know who is buying and who isn’t.
7. Good Timing – Unless you don’t have to move immediately, perhaps you should delay the sale of your home? Of course, if a job awaits in a distant city or your health has declined to where you can no longer maintain your home, you may not have much choice. But if you do have a choice, would a six month or longer delay be manageable? Some markets have hit bottom and are already on the rebound while other markets still have some correcting to do before prices stabilize.
Become A Visionary
With these seven tips in mind, you should be able to make some wise choices based on local factors and your personal needs. Carefully weigh your options before moving forward, looking at the opportunities at hand as well as those that are coming down the road.
Photo Credit: Aaron Murphy
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