Questions Every Seller Should Ask a Real Estate Professional
Does your agent have a specific marketing plan for your house, and will he/she commit to it in writing? Find out ahead of time what your agent will do to sell your home. Does the plan include featuring your home on the Internet, as well as aggressively marketing the property in your local area?
If seeing your house in print every week is important to you, then ask whether your agent decides how often your property will be advertised.
What financial resources or connections does your agent have to assist marginal or unusual buyers? While all sellers want buyers with whistle clean credit and a 20% down payment, experience shows that many viable buyers do not fall into that category. Find out if your agent is knowledgeable, and prepared, to work with all buyers, be they AAA or marginal.
Does your agent have letters of recommendation from past clients, and may you call them? One of the best ways to discover how someone will perform in the future is to investigate how they have conducted themselves in the past.
Common Sense Sells Homes
Sense of Smell
Nothing says “home” like the pleasant smell of baking. No one is suggesting that you bake a cake every time your house is being shown. However, you would be surprised how wonderfully a bowl of vanila smells as it is warmed at a very low temperature in your oven. A word of caution: the olfactory sense can also work against you. Avoid cooking with items such as garlic, curry and onions. These odors can stay with a potential buyer longer than their memories of your perfect kitchen.
Sense of Sight
Small visual touches can make or break a room. Colorful pillows, vases with flowers, plants and attractive artwork all give the feeling of a bright and cheerful home. Another word of caution: do not overdo the effect. Too many decorating touches give a feeling of cutter, and anything truly unusual tends to distract the buyer. You want the prospective buyer to remember your home as the one that felt warm and comfortable, not as the house with the tropical rain forest inside.
Sense of Hearing
If you are able to provide background music during the showing by all means do so! Again the operative word here is “background.” Choose something nondescript, and soothing (along the lines of “elevator music”) and naturally, keep the volume very low.
Sense of Touch
Think about all the surfaces with which buyers may come into contact, or even absent-mindedly, run their hands over. Kitchen counters, bathroom vanities, and doorknobs all have the potential to leave negative impressions if the buyers end up sticking to them.
How to Give Your Home Curb Appeal
What constitutes Curb Appeal? Curb appeal is an intangible, subjective quality – but it is the one thing that can really sell a house. It is that quality that makes the buyer start thinking emotionally instead of practically. It is the quality that makes you want to go inside. If your buyer has fallen in love with the exterior of your home, he or she will look more favorable on what he/she finds inside. Curb appeal is achieved when buyers want a house so much from the time they drive up in front that they are willing to increase the offer to acquire it.
Suggestions to accomplish curb appeal:
- Clear away anything dead – dead leaves, dead flowers & dead bodies. Trim the trees, lift the canopies & hide the coffins.
- Replace flowerbeds with fresh blooming flowers. If you do not have the time to grow them from seed, buy a few plants.
- Paint the front door and anything else that needs painting. Try to choose a neutral color that goes with the brick, roof or trim of your home.
- Open the front curtains and shutters. Light the lamps.
- Put out a clean, new welcome mat.
- Polish the brass doorknocker, the mailbox, light fixtures, and address numbers.
- If you have a front porch, keep it swept clean. Clean the furniture and put nice, new pillows on the chairs.
- Keep the garage door closed. Store the bikes, tricycles and children’s toys out of the way.
- Safely lock away pets. If you have a pet that remains in the back yard, let the showing agent know in advance.
Savvy Selling of Languished Listings
Make basic cosmetic changes
If you did not repaint, re-carpet, or thoroughly clean your home before you listed it, do so now. If your carpet is in good shape, have it professionally shampooed. To freshen up the interior, give it a wash of white paint. How much should you spend on cosmetic changes? Not too much. Although some changes (like repainting) may allow you to raise your list price, other changes could be savings you will not have to pay out at the closing.
Re-list your home
Every home listed in the Multiple Listing Service is assigned a number that corresponds with the date and year of the listing. If your home has been on the market for more than six months, it may begin to appear stale in comparison to newer listings. Consider re-listing your home to give it a fresh start and a new listing number. To do this, you may need to officially take the property off the market, raise or lower the listing price or make other adjustments in order to change the listing.
Give a reward
Offer a bonus of $500 to $1,000 to the buyer’s agent for bringing a buyer to the table. Or, instead of or in addition to rewarding the buyer’s agent, consider doing something special for the buyers. This may include paying the buyer’s closing costs, offer a home warranty or help pay down the buyer’s mortgage interest rate.
Lower your price
If your home is already in the best condition possible, and you have already tried some of the other suggestions, you may have to accept the fact that your home is overpriced. You must determine what homes in your neighborhood are selling for, then determine a fair list price that will attract buyers.
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Marty Siegel, GRI, CRS
Coldwell Banker Burnet