Home sales and prices are still dropping around the country as huge inventories of foreclosures and short sales continue to weigh on many markets. So how can traditional sellers stand out in a crowded real estate marketplace? CNNMoney.com recently highlighted several keys to getting a home sold in a tough real estate market.
1. Cut your price by a lot. Buyers want to feel they are getting a “steal”. But some sellers may be tempted to list a property above fair market value just to test out the market and see if they can get a taker. In the past year, about 25% of sellers who initially listed their homes too high ended up having to reduce the price, according to Trulia.com.
“The first 30 days on the market are the most important,” says Elizabeth Kamar, a real estate professional in Norwalk, Conn. That crucial time is when the home gets the most attention and showings. For sellers who aren’t realistic about the price from the get-go, they often end up with less than they would have if they priced it right initially, Kamar says.
Experts also note that if after 30 days on the market there are still no buyers, sellers may need to make a big move.
“When a property sits, people start thinking it must be listed too high,” says Ellen Klein, a real estate professional in Rockaway, N.J. She suggests making a giant price cut–as much as 10 percent of the asking price–which may be extra motivation for buyers to take a second look or attract a new pool of potential buyers seeking a lower price range.
2. Play hardball in negotiations. Sellers shouldn’t feel they have to accept any lowball offer that comes their way. However, if a buyer is willing to negotiate, that’s when sellers need to try to set aside feelings of anger or insult and start to counteroffer; and it is ideal is that you’ll be able to negotiate within $10,000 to $20,000 of an acceptable offer. Using incentives–such as agreeing to leave the appliances–may get buyers to budge in agreeing to a higher price.
3. Stage it. Staging is becoming popular in trying to sell mid-range homes. Professional stagers will help home owners highlight key areas of a home and often rearranges furniture or bring new furniture in, repaint, and get the home looking like it’s ripped from a catalog. Real estate brokers say that proper staging can actually speed up a sale and increase the final sales price too.
4. Get the home in front of as many buyers as possible. The real estate professional needs to get creative in the marketing to make sure the home gets a lot of attention from buyers. Social networking sites are a great way to market your property.
One key: Boosting the home’s online presence. Having the maximum number of photos will nearly double the number of hits the property gets on the Web, according to Zillow.com. Incentives can also draw out buyers, such as with offers to cover a buyer’s closing costs, pay the first year’s property taxes, or even a $1,000 gift card (and maybe one for the buyer’s agent too). (Note: You must disclose any such gifts or payments when the offer is agreed on.)
Source: “Your Home: How to Sell in Tough Times,” CNNMoney.com (May 2, 2011)