They aren’t hard to miss – the “for sale” signs with a much smaller “price reduced” hanging below. All around, the message is the same. The market is flushed with inventory, and it’s going to take some work to sell your house and at a fair price.
The advice most experts have in what is essentially a buyer’s market is – dump your real estate agent. You save yourself the 5% or 6% commission you’d commonly have to pay.
The price is right
The next advice is to set a competitive price from the start, and not over price. Over priced homes tend to linger on the market, while those of competitively priced will sell fast. It’s important to set the right price from the start because studies have shown that the buyer’s interest is high when a home is fresh on the market, and by the time you lower the price on an over priced home, the interest maybe gone.
To determine the right price of your home, you will need a market appraisal, which looks at what similar homes in the neighborhood sold for, say in the past three months. A good way to get this is a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS which is a database of all homes that are currently on the market or that have been sold within the past 1-2 years. Usually only a licensed realtor has access to the complete database, but thanks to the internet, a majority of realtors make parts of this information available on their websites.
There are also websites like HomeGain that allow you to get a free estimate of your home value. It also offers you suggested listing price from a local expert, and US Search, which also offers tools to help determine the right cost for your property.
Next, prepare your home. Fix those things that obviously need repairing, don’t spend a fortune on home improvements. Focus on details like painting the walls, cleaning or replacing the carpet, if needed. Work on the landscaping for the maximum curb appeal. It’s suggested to get a pre-sale inspection to find out more about the property’s current condition. You could get some valuable information that might delay or kill the sale. It would also help you to make decisions on what repairs you will make and which you will disclose to the buyer, adjusting the price according to the repairs.
Do the best you can to get maximum exposure, advertise on the Internet, in newspapers, use flat fee multiple listing services, real estate publications, whatever you can think of.
According to a recent study, people who used a “for sale by owner” website such as ForSaleByOwner.com and Owners.com, which offer tools that help you market your home online, got at least as much for their homes as those who went through a conventional broker.
Finally, be prepared to make compromises on terms as well as price. Consider offering incentives such as paying for part of the closing cost. If there is a homeowner’s association, offer to pay the fees for the first year or buy a home warranty, which protects all the appliances in the house including the air conditioning and heating systems. The cost is usually less than $450 for one year. Incentives can really give you an edge over your competitor.
Above all else, don’t give up hope. With the right price, right marketing and right incentive, you will be successful.