1. Price it competitively
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Setting the right price for your property is the single most important decision you will make when deciding to sell. If you go too high, you risk turning off every buyer in the marketplace. If you go too low, you leave money on the table. One simple but powerful technique to correctly price is to spend time looking at comparable homes – comparable homes in your neighborhood, with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and amenities. By doing this, you will be seeing the world through a buyers’ eyes and gain a better understanding of what a reasonable listing price looks like. Again, this is exactly what buyers do when they shop.
Be really honest with yourself. Compared to the competition, what price would position your home as the best value proposition for buyers in your marketplace? The best listing price could be anywhere between “too high” and “too low” depending on the local market and depending on the time of year. This is when having an experienced real estate agent who knows the market and know how buyers respond comes in really handy.
2. Use strategic price points
A buyer’s target price range is usually raised or stretched incrementally, and if you do it right, you may be able to get more out of an offer. Similar to how you might be more compelled to buy a gallon of milk at the grocery store for $4.99 rather than $5.00, think about how you can get the most out of an offer at a specific price point. So, if you’re listing your house at a specific price, like $227,900 dollars, you’re not going to attract the highest offer in that price range.
Tip: Home buyers tend to consider homes between price ranges that are separated by five to ten thousand dollar increments. Knowing this, consider setting your price near one of these natural price points. For instance, a price of $229,900 would probably net you exactly the same number of buyer inquiries if it’s priced at $227,900. But if you move your price down to $224,900 (which is the next price point down), you would really widen your potential buyer pool!
3. Consider value range marketing
Another pricing technique that may be the ticket to more showings and higher offers is to use “value range marketing”. Value range marketing is where you choose a listing price based on what you would sell today if a buyer wrote you a check.
You then choose another lower price — one that you wouldn’t reject if offered, but would use as a starting point to negotiate towards some middle ground. So, instead of listing your home at a specific price of $496,000 dollars, consider listing the home between $459,000 and $496,000. Sometimes, however, a set price is required and you can’t get away with simply stating a price range. In this case, enlist an experienced listing agent to help you, which is next.
4. Hire an experienced listing agent
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Not all listing agents are created equal. An agent who knows your local market and what comparable homes have sold for recently, will know your home’s potential. To find an experienced real estate agent, take the time to research local real estate agents. Talk to friends and colleagues about who they recommend. Talk to your community and interview multiple agents before making a hiring decision. Also be sure to come to an agreement about a specific, documented marketing plan before signing with a long-term listing agreement with your agent. You have to do your diligent research on this one, as the agent you choose will be your business partner for the next few months.
5. Encourage two-way critiques
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Successful home sellers aren’t afraid of constructive criticism. They don’t take it personally, it’s a game and there are effective ways to do this. In fact, successful home sellers invite agents to give them helpful suggestions on everything – from interior upgrades, to staging, to marketing strategies, when to sell, how to handle offers, and guidance to help them secure the highest offers.
This is why it’s important to do your research when signing on with an agent. Be sure to find one who is open to suggestions and have extensive experience in your area. Review his or her marketing plan and background. As a seller, you may have ideas to improve advertising copy, flyers, photographs, or virtual tours, it would be helpful to have a business partner with you (the agent) who won’t shoot down your ideas every time.
6. Offer incentives & prepaids
A buyer who has narrowed their search down to 2 or 3 top house choices they want to buy may need a little extra push to motivate them to take action. To encourage buyers, many sellers offer incentives. Examples are any one of these:
- buying the interest rate down on the purchaser’s loan,
- paying for the closing costs,
- paying for inspections, or
- paying for repairs, or
- providing allowances or credits for home upgrades after closing
In addition, many sellers prepay for services like internet services for a year, taxes or homeowners association dues, or even golf club memberships.
7. Use a pre-appraisal and pre-inspections to get things moving
A pre-appraisal is an appraisal of the home before a buyer has even made an offer. By having this done early you will have an objective voice that has provided a value for the property from a professional independent of your own opinion, and could be a really great tool in talking with buyers.
In addition, many sellers do pre-inspections of the home to provide buyers with a clear whole home inspection, or pest and dry rot inspection.
A word of caution: Anything the appraiser discover during a pre-inspection will need to be disclosed whether you fix the issue or not.
8. Learn to fail fast
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If something isn’t working, successful sellers have the strength to fail fast by making adjustments to their strategy quickly.
For instance, if after implementing your marketing plan, buyers still don’t begin to view your home on a regular basis, this is a clear indication that the market is rejecting your price. There is only one solution: lower your price.
On the other hand, if you have a steady stream of buyers touring your listing, but you aren’t receiving any offers, this is often a symptom of buyers rejecting, not the price, but the home itself. There is something about the home that is turning them off. Savvy sellers would attempt to identify the problem and take proactive action to correct it immediately.