Commit to the Selling Process!
Have a clear reason for selling your property. You may not want to share you motivations completely with anyone, but it helps when setting your asking price, and negotiating offers and contingencies. In any market some properties just don’t sell. Why? Sellers not committed to selling often “test the market” with an unrealistic price. Unfortunately this can backfire into a downward spiral. As the overpriced property remains on the market for a long period of time, a stigma can occur in the mind of a potential buyer. Buyers begin to ask themselves: "What's wrong with this property?", "Why has it been on the market so long?". If you are serious about selling, go about it the right way first.
Hire the Right Realtor!
Roughly 90% of all real estate transactions nationwide involve a licensed real estate agent. Unless you are an expert in marketing properties, it is in your best interest to hire a professional Realtor. Professionals don't dabble in the market or work part time. They implement aggressive marketing that saturates the internet. Most people wouldn’t trust a surgeon that dabbles in surgery from time to time, or trust the sale of one of their most valuable assets to a part timer. Find a full time Realtor, who knows your local market and works hard for you. Learn more about finding and hiring the right Realtor. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals. Interview several top agents and ask direct questions: "Home many homes have you sold in the past year?" "How many sales have you made in my neighborhood?", "What is your marketing plan?", "Can I cancel my listing agreement with you?", "Do you accompany showings?", "Are you going to use a lock box?", "Will you let me know how each showing goes?", "Can you give me a list of references?"... Real estate professionals welcome these questions while "dabblers" are flustered by them. Listen carefully, a great Realtor will be honest, direct, objective, and informative - never vague.
Client testimonials can be extremely helpful unless they've been "cherry picked" and edited before publishing. We encourage all of our clients and associates to review Pfeifer Realty Group publicly, and have dedicated an entire webpage to feedback.
No matter how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with technology, make sure your Realtor understands and uses it aggressively to sell your property. Today marketing real estate is more than yard signs, newspaper ads, mailings and placing it on the local Multiple Listing Service MLS website. Buyer behavior has changed and continues to shift with each new wave of technology. Effectively marketing a property can be expensive, however this is an investment that a professional Realtor is always happy to make. If a Realtor is worried about spending money marketing your property, they have the wrong attitude, and you may want to find another professional.
Pfeifer Realty Group's dynamic marketing system combines INTERNET SATURATION together with traditional and "outside the box" marketing tools to produced many years of SUCCESSFUL SALES at Pfeifer Realty Group! We invest in aggressive marketing because it gets the job done.
Price it Right from the Start!
"Price it Right" does not mean "Price it too Low"! Everyone knows what happens when a property is priced too low... several offers come in all at once. It sells quickly, too quickly leaving money on the table. Pricing to high without a clear marketing strategy can be equally devastating. The guidance of a good Realtor and committing the process can help prevent this from happening.
Below are the damages that occur when an overpriced property lingers on the market too long before a realistic price is set:
The Ideal Buyer for Your Property Never Sees It! Here is an example of this happens. The seller insists on listing his home for $550,000 in a market where the comparable homes are selling between $449,000 and $479,000 depending on upgrades and finishes. Excited to get a new listing, the Realtor moves forward without further discussion. Everyone's thinking "no big deal, we can always lower the price". The listing goes live, and all the Realtors show it to their buyers, or do they? Buyers have price limits. Buyers looking in the $400,000 - $500,000 price range won't see this home in their search results. A Realtor may ask the listing agent what makes this home worth so much more, but don't count on it.
Your Home Pales in Comparison to the Competition! Using the same example from above the overpriced home listed for $550,000 in a market where similar homes are selling for $449,000 and $479,000 is now found by buyers searching in the $500,000 to $600,000 price range. Now the home pales in comparison to larger homes on bigger lots, with more features, amenities and upgrades that are appropriately priced. It is truly a "Catch 22" the ideal buyer for the home doesn't see it, and buyers looking in this price range feel that this home falls short.
Have a Pricing Strategy and Marketing Plan!
With comparable sales data just a keystroke away, grossly overpriced listings don't get shown often. A pricing strategy is the key to avoiding pit falls. Two to four weeks after your property goes on the market, review all showings, inquiries and feedback with your Realtor. If on overpriced listing sits too long before the price is adjusted, many buyers have moved on and the seller can only hope that new buyers will not be spooked by how long it has been on the market. Beware of Realtors eager to take overpriced listings without a game plan. It's okay to price a property too high, it can happen especially when a home is unique and comparable sales are difficult to find. But when the only activity on the home is the sound of crickets chirping, it's time to put your pricing plan into action.
Note that multimillion dollar properties should not be confused with overpriced listings. Ultra luxurious properties are only shown to buyers with sufficient means.
Get Your Home in Show Shape!
This can be overwhelming for some people, but shouldn’t be. Look at your home or condo through the eyes of a buyer. If you have a hard time doing this ask a friend to help you, or more importantly ask your realtor what needs to be done. Buyers want to come into your home and picture themselves in it. Keep that one thought in mind as you go through each room. It’s human nature to remember negative things. Avoid giving the buyer any bad features to remember about your property. Here are some helpful guidelines and tips to assure that a home shows well and is attractive to a buyer. Keep your home in Show Shape.
Clean The Property Inside and Out!
If you have a yard, keep it tidy, weeded and trimmed. Try to avoid unusual yard ornaments, cluttered potted plants, and things hiding under brightly colored tarps. Focus on the entry into your property. Make it the best it can be. For the exterior, power wash stained decks, siding, patios, eves, and windows. Repainting is costly. You may be able to retouch the existing paint as needed. Inside you should also focus on all the major surfaces. Retouch paint, clean baseboards, stair treads, clean carpets, windows, and polish all wood surfaces from floors to cabinets. If you need to contact professionals to do some work on your property, we maintain a list of vendors in all areas that can help prepare your home for sale. Pfeifer's Recommended Vendor List.
Fix or Replace Things that are Broken!
Unless you are selling your house AS IS, fix the things you know are broken. If you don’t fix them now, chances are you will have to fix them later. Why risk having a small detail send a red flag to a potential buyer. For example: If your front door won’t open without forcing it, a buyer might think there are several other things wrong with the maintenance of your home. The same goes for leaking faucets, running toilets, locks that won’t lock, cracked plug plates…..you know what should fixed or replaced.
Store the Clutter!
It’s important to understand that I didn’t say get rid of the clutter, just store it. When faced with a potential move, having to sort through accumulated possessions can become a time sink. Often the “paralysis of analysis” sets in, resulting in little progress. Invest in some durable plastic containers and labels. Fill the containers and store them. If the home doesn’t have room, place them in a storage facility. Buyers when faced with a property that is visually cluttered will have a hard time seeing past all your things.
Organize Closets, Cabinets & Cupboards!
After storing the clutter, tidy the rest. If your closets are overstuffed with clothes, or linens clean them up. A buyer will assume there isn’t enough space in your home for their stuff if there isn’t enough space in your own home for your stuff. Don’t assume a buyer won’t look somewhere because they will. Buyers will open cupboards, look under the sink, go in you closets, open shower curtains, draw the blinds on the windows, and more. Show off the storage space your home has.
Remove Excess Personal Items & Toiletries!
A home should be a reflection of the homeowner, unless the home is for sale. This is a tricky and important area to address. Buyers are trying hard to picture their belongings in your home and themselves living there. If they can’t see your home because everywhere they look they see you, your family, your children’s art work, your friends, your awards, and your trophies, they will have a more difficult time envisioning their dream. Less is more. All of the above items are great to have and show but in moderation. Pick and choose then store the rest. The last thing to mention is toiletries. Store them. This is simple to do. Be ready for a showing each day. For each person in your household assign a small plastic storage box. When they leave for the day all their personal items go into the box and placed under the sink or somewhere out of the way. Nobody wants to look at your toothbrushes, razors, deodorants or other personal items!
Be Flexible & Ready for Showings!
Many showings of a property can occur with little advanced notice. A good realtor will be ready to accommodate a last minute showing, and the owner must be equally prepared for their property to be seen. The best way to accomplish this when living in the home is to create an exit plan. Checklists can be helpful to verify that rooms are tidy, and toiletries are stored before leaving. Discuss with your Realtor which lights should be on, music that can be played, and how to address any pets.
Be a Smart Negotiator!
Everything so far has been done correctly, and now there is a written offer for the property. There is no proven formula to follow when responding to an offer but some general principles usually apply. Try to gain as much knowledge about the buyer’s needs and motivations as possible. For instance if they are doing a 1031 tax exchange they may be under tight time constraints, and need to buy a property quickly. Did they make a low offer because they feel a lot of work needs to be done to the property? If at all possible it’s best to try to negotiate a Win/Win agreement. Unless the seller is in no hurry or it’s a hot seller’s market, it is always wise to try to negotiate a reasonable contract once it arrives. A professional real estate agent will help their seller determine the correct course of action to accomplish their goal which is to sell their property and be satisfied with the outcome.