6 smart strategies for any market
These steps will help home sellers attract the attention of both buyers and agents.
With most major markets experiencing declines in value and a huge inventory of unsold homes, it's vital that sellers do everything they can to make their home more attractive to buyers and agents alike.
Here's what these top agents are advising home sellers to do.
1. Have an Internet strategy. Web sites or blogs with photos help sellers showcase their home with more pictures than the local MLS might allow. Make sure you are getting your home up on as many sites as possible, including your local Craigslist.
2. Stage the home. Paint and clean and de-clutter as much as possible. Get any needed termite or chimney inspections done before you put the property on the market, so you can hand the paperwork to buyers and talk about what you are willing to pay for, while they are still excited about the home. (See before and after photos of staged homes here.)
3. Pick the right agent. Has she worked in a down market before? Does she sell a lot of homes in your area? Can she afford to advertise? Check with your local association of Realtors and talk to brokers and office managers at different firms to find out which agents are the top sellers.
Once you have narrowed it down to a couple of agents, ask for a list of their sales with the list price and the sale price, so you can see how much they are discounting properties to move them. (Read more on how to find a superstar agent here.)
4. Throw some freebies to buyers and brokers. Hold broker luncheons at your house to get more people through. Gregg Neuman, a Prudential California Realty agent, has even had luncheons at a property with a Nordstrom gift certificate raffle to get more traffic in. If you are selling a condo, offer to pay homeowners association fees for a certain period of time. Sell the home with a free home warranty — anything to set your property apart from the next one.
5. Price the home right. Sometimes, taking $5,000 to $9,000 off the listing price will make a home move much more quickly, so it doesn't get the taint that comes from lingering on the market too long. And, in some multiple-listing services, it can bump you down a bracket, so you can reach more buyers.
6. Tap all markets. If you live in a community with a large number of buyers who speak Mandarin or Spanish, make sure your agent is speaking their language and advertising and networking in the appropriate places.