This is the most common question that sellers ask after having listed their home. There are a couple reasons why homes just sit on the market with out any activity on them at all. The hardest thing for many sellers to understand is that the process of selling your home is a business transaction. It is not an decision that should be backed by emotion, like it was when you bought it. You are selling a commodity and you should treat it that way.
Selling Your Home 101!
Once you have made the decision to list your home, and who to list it with, there are a few key point indicators to pay attention to. Lets go over them:
- Initial Listing Price : YOUR Realtor (Yes, they work for you) should have provided you with an in depth market analysis of what homes have been selling for in your area. This gives you a very strong idea of what you can expect to get for your home. The biggest mistake sellers will make is believing (usually fueled by emotion) that their home is worth more than it is. The biggest mistake your Realtor can make is letting you live in that fantasy land. A good Realtor is going to give you their best professional insight as to what the initial listing price should be and sometimes it may be hard to swallow but that is the first step in getting your home from and "Active" status to a "Sold" one. The strategy of starting out high and testing the market for 60-90 days is a mistake and a disservice to you if your Realtor agrees to it. New listings that hit the market get the most activity when priced right and if you are testing the market for 90 days then you are also eliminating 90 days worth of potential buyers.
- Staging Your Home : This is a very important step for emotionally connecting with buyers that are looking at pictures of your home. Staged, clean homes with great pictures will attract potential buyers. Staging doesn't have to be expensive and in most cases will cost less than the first reduction if you didn't follow the advice in point #1. Your Realtor should be able to help you with this process or enlist the services of a professional to do it for you. Some of the main things to address are painting/flooring, wallpaper, furniture placement, pictures, de-cluttering, and lighting. There is a method to the madness and a properly staged home that promotes a certain traffic flow, highlights architectural design, and draws attention to features that are proving to attract buyers in your area will increase your chances of selling your home exponentially.
- Showing Appointments : If you are committed to selling your home then you will need to be flexible with showing appointments. I understand completely that life continues; kids, soccer games, appointments, etc. It is in your best interest to keep your home in show condition at all times and to accommodate showing requests within reason. To this day I advise my sellers that last minute, late night requests are completely up to them and I will support their decision. Personally, I would not ask to show a home past 8 pm as this is the time when most households are trying to wind down and get ready for bedtime, especially ones with children. Again, completely up to you. Any scheduled showing appointment should not include you. Make arrangements to be somewhere else so potential buyers can walk and talk freely about your home. Believe it or not, buyers will spend up to 100% more time in your home if they are free to walk around and discuss things that they like or don't like with their Realtor. I understand that there are instances and conditions that will prevent you from leaving so just make it a point to stay out of sight or in opposite ends of the home as they look around. This is all about making the atmosphere as comfortable as possible for the buyers. Remember, buying IS an emotional decision and it is very hard to make that emotional connection if you are watching Family Guy on the couch.
- Exposure & Marketing : The MLS is a great tool that Realtors use for both listings and searching for properties. Having said that, it should not be the end all for marketing your home. Over 75% of all home buyers spend 2-3 weeks searching for homes online before ever contacting a Realtor. Your home needs to have a strong presence online. There are several different mediums and methods that Realtors use to showcase their "Homes for Sale". You need to know what they are and ask for updates periodically. At the very least, your home should be prominently displayed on your Realtor's website. Social Media has taken the world by storm in the last 10 years and your home should be displayed on all of them. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Depending on your area, there can be a great deal of success with postcard mailers showing your home as "Just Listed!", open houses, and virtual tours. Again, these are all things that your Realtor should have included as part of the service they provide when you met for the listing presentation.
- Market Swing : This one is unfortunately out of your, and your Realtor's, control. There are times when the market is just not favorable for what you are trying to sell. Sometimes the market changes and the buyers just disappear. These trends will usually happen in waves and have always bounced back. This is when your Realtor should be providing market reports to give you a clear understanding of what is happening in your market.
These are some of the main points that can sabotage the sale of a home if not handled correctly. If you are serious about selling your home, land, or commercial structure then choosing the right Realtor and heeding their advice is paramount. If you are considering selling your home in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, or surrounding area of Sevier County then contact me today. Together we can move your home for an "Active" status to a "Sold" one.