Strategies to sell your home in a sluggish market

by Dan Krell © 2008

If you are a considering selling your home this spring, you can expect more of the same from the local real estate market (picky home buyers and lots of competition). You can better position yourself and make your home stand out by doing what many other home owners are doing- returning to the basics of home selling. Homeowners are hiring Realtors to list and sell their homes, as well as making their homes more appealing for prospective home buyers.

Hiring a Realtor can help you decide on a list price as well as executing a marketing plan once the home is listed. Pricing your home appropriately is crucial to a successful sale in this market, so consulting a Realtor early in the decision process to get an understanding of the neighborhood market dynamics will be helpful. Every neighborhood is different and you cannot judge what your home will sell for based on media reports or general statements about market conditions. Having a Realtor analyze your neighborhood listing and sold information will help you understand the trends and prices.

Analyzing the days on market trends to understand the consequences of listing at a higher price is important. Many home sellers make the mistake of listing at a higher price believing that home buyers will make lower offers and ask for closing cost assistance; however, this strategy has left many homes languishing on the market. A more realistic approach is to have your Realtor determine a list/sale price for a 30 day sale, 60 to 90 day sale, and a 120+ sale. Although a 30 day pricing strategy is aggressive and not for everyone, you will see that it makes sense compared to carrying costs (paying mortgage, utilities, insurance, taxes, etc.) of an extended sale.

The Realtor you hire should have a detailed marketing plan to advertise and attract interest in your home. Some Realtors rely on their broker to market your home, while others take a more personal approach to marketing your home. Although marketing strategies vary, you can decide what marketing strategy is best for you based on the data provided.

With pricing and marketing in place, how will you satisfy picky home buyers? Discerning home buyers can be influenced by making the best impression when the home is viewed. To make the best impression, you may need to make repairs or updates. For repairs and update ideas, consider having a pre-listing home inspection, a home energy audit, and hiring a home staging professional.

Having a pre-listing home inspection will allow you to find out what items need repair and which systems need updating. Don’t worry about having to make all repairs; the home inspector will explain which repairs are a priority (due to safety) as well as offering recommendations on system updates.

Since home buyers have become more concerned with energy efficiency, having a home energy audit may reveal areas in your home that need updating or repairing to increase the efficiency of the home’s energy use.

Finally, a home staging professional can create an environment within your home to give a home buyer the best first impression.

Selling your home this coming spring will be challenging. However, being prepared and hiring the right professionals can sometimes make the difference to making the sale.

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of December 22, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dan Krell.