You?ve put your house on the market, but it?s not selling. In fact, no one has come by in weeks. The lack of prospective buyers is enough to send you panicking. There are a few common problems that may be keeping those buyers away from your listing. The good news is- you can do something about it.
Regardless of how much you THINK that your house should be worth (the renovations you put in, the neighborhood you live in, how much you paid a certain numbers of years ago), you have to be realistic about the price of your house. If your home is currently overpriced, even by as little as 5%, potential buyers and real estate agents will notice right off the bat. The problem is, by overpricing your home, you are competing with homes that are in the higher price bracket. The catch is- they can justify it, while yours can?t. You want to offer your home at a competitive price- a good place to start is listing your home 2% less than the last comparable sale. In addition, if your home is languishing on the market solely because you refuse to come down in your listing price, agents and buyers may begin to think that there is something more to the story, that there could possibly be more serious reasons that the house hasn?t moved. Long story short- it?s going to keep every potential buyer away from your home.
If you had the choice, and all pricing was the same, you?d rather go for the shiny new red Corvette than the used model that sat in the back of the lot. The same is true with houses- the truth is that your home is up against brand new homes in the suburbs complete with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. Even if your house makes up for the quality inside, it still needs a quick makeover if you want to catch the eye of a prospective buyer. If you?re thinking that a makeover requires an interior decorator and thousands of dollars in budget, you?re wrong. For the most part, your work will solely be cosmetic- a few coats of paint, planting some new flowers around the mailbox, getting the carpets cleaned professionally, and mowing the front lawn. Inexpensive, but possibly enough to get a second look by the buyers that passed by before.
Unfortunately, if your home is located in a poor school district, on a busy street or intersection, or bordering a liquor store, you usually don?t have much bargaining power. Your best bet is to hype up the positive parts of your house, which can usually be catered to the prospective buyer (such as a shorter commute to his/her office or a dog park within a 2 block radius). You will probably have to compensate for the less than ideal location by lowering your price or offering incentives to the buyer (for example, a lease to rent arrangement).
Just because someone is a realtor doesn?t mean they are going to have the best interest of your house at heart. The truth is, real estate agents are human just like the rest of us, and there are some bad apples. These include agents that convince you to overprice your house, don?t follow up on prospective buyers, don?t keep you informed of the sale status, don?t screen for qualified buyers, and unfortunately, many more. Remember, you don?t have to put up with a bad listing agent- while it can be daunting to start over with someone new, it?s worth taking a chance on a new agent than sticking with a worthless one.
It?s not enough to slap a few fliers at the local grocery and hold an open house on a Tuesday evening. These days, top real estate agents employ sophisticated marketing techniques to increase the exposure of their properties- listing tours, direct mail campaigns, newspaper, TV and online advertisements, email campaigns, open houses and presence in real estate pubs. If your house isn?t getting this kind of exposure, it?s probably not getting enough exposure to get the attention of a serious buyer.