Selling a house in this market is a huge challenge. Foreclosures and short sales make it difficult for a traditional sale to compete. That being said, here are five things that sellers should know:
1. “My house is a deal at this price” – Just because you bought the house for $400,000 and now you’re selling it for $325,000 doesn’t necessarily make it a deal. Buyers don’t care what you paid five years ago. Buyers don’t care how much you owe. Buyers care about how your house compares to the others on the market. So if a similar house with similar features is selling for $299,000, the buyer will gravitate toward that listing and make an offer.
2. “My house appraised last year for $350,000” – This is always a difficult conversation to have with a seller. Appraising a house is not a perfect science. Appraisers can find comps to justify a higher price. They can also find comps to justify a lower price. Real Market Value is based on what a price that a buyer is willing to pay and a price that a seller is willing to sell. Once again, the buyer is going to compare your listing to other listings in the market and make a decision based on other available options.
3. “Maybe we will get lucky and get a great offer” – Still in denial after reading #1? Well here is another side to the appraisal coin. Let's say that you still have your house listed for $325,000. Other homes in your immediate area or subdivision have been selling between $275,0000 and $300,000. Next, you get an offer for $315,000 and you accept the offer. When the appraisal is done on the home, the comps the appraiser will use will be the ones closest to you. With those homes selling much lower, it will be challenging for that appraiser to come up with a $315,000 value. So, in reality, the appraisal might come in at $295,000. In this market, the buyer will not ignore that and still agree to pay $315,000. More than likely you will have to agree to sell the home at $295,000 or the deal is dead.
4. How clean should my house be for a showing? – In this market, selling a house is a beauty contest and a price war and you have to win both. Take everything that you don’t use every day off you kitchen counters and find a way to store things. Take every picture and magnet off your refrigerator. Box up and store everything from the bedrooms that don’t get used every day. Clutter and “stuff” can kill a showing. The house should be clean and clutter free in every room. Unfortunately the way we keep a house to live and the way we keep a house to sell are completely different. You must make a great first impression.
5. Internet, Internet, Internet – The old school days of agent caravans and open houses are gone. When buyers disclose where there found out about the house they purchased, only 3-4 percent talk about open houses and caravans. Today, it is all about Internet exposure. Maximum photos in MLS and FMLS are key. Premium accounts in Realtor.com are important. Your listing being in Trulia.com and Zillow.com and many other web portals is critical. Having your agent use a virtual tour and post your listing on Craigslist gives your listing maximum exposure.
If you are considering selling, give me a call for a free consultation!