Sure, you can clean and declutter your home and we can stage it. But, there are three “laws” about home selling that all the cleaning and staging in the world won’t change.
Follow these laws, apply them to the sale of your home, and you’ll walk away from the closing table with a smile on your face.
Let’s take a look at the 3 immutable laws of home selling.
When your home is in need of significant repairs that you won’t or can’t make, not only will you lose money in the long run, but you are narrowing your potential buyer pool to one little corner of the shallow end.
Then, if a buyer does bite, there’s a chance his or her lender won’t.
Another thing to consider is that, if you’re selling a starter home, the buyer pool is filled with first-timers and, nowadays, that means younger members of Gen X and Millennials.
A recent National Association of Realtors study of first-time homebuyers finds that these buyers are demanding move-in ready homes. They not only don’t have the money to make repairs, they just flat-out don’t want to be bothered with making them or hiring someone to do it for them.
Rule number one, then, is:
No, you don’t have to make repairs, but plan on pricing the home at rock bottom
The reason “condition” is the number one law is because it has a direct bearing on number two and number three.
Regardless of list price, regardless of what the buyer agrees to pay for the home, it all comes down to the appraiser. He or she will determine how much of a loan a buyer gets.
If your home is overpriced compared to recent sales in the neighborhood, or because it needs work, plan on it sitting, stagnating, and, maybe, selling for a whole bunch less than if you’d priced it appropriately from the beginning or made those necessary repairs.
The main “ingredients” of a list price for a home are location, condition, age, size, improvements and special amenities you’ve added that other homes in the area lack. These are the aspects of your home the appraiser will use to compare to homes that have recently sold.
Let’s sum up real estate’s second immutable law:
Price it too high and it will sit on the market while buyers view and buy the larger homes or the homes in better condition, yet priced the same as yours.
Overpricing a home is our number two immutable law of real estate because it bears directly on number three.
3. Marketing sells homes
“List and pray” is a common “marketing” method among real estate agents. You sign the listing agreement and the agent sticks a sign in the yard, a lockbox on the door and then prays that another agent in town will bring in the buyer.
Why? Several reasons, really.
The most common is that most agents lack the financial resources to back a robust marketing plan. This is why you see blurry photos on MLS listings; they either can’t afford to hire a professional photographer or they feel it isn’t necessary.
A lot of the time it’s laziness. I see it all the time, every day, in the Billings real estate market – agents that shortchange their listing clients with half-hearted marketing.
When the market is hot for sellers, selling homes in good condition is easy. In a buyer’s market, on the other hand, signs and prayers don’t work. Blurry photos and stale listing descriptions don’t work.
If an agent can’t sell the lifestyle the home represents – the sizzle, if you will – he or she has no business in the business of selling a consumer’s most valuable asset.
When you decide to sell, I hope you’ll interview more than one Billings real estate agent for the job. Make those interviews count by asking the tough questions.
Ask to see printouts of their MLS listings and take a good look at the photos (buyers LOVE online photos). Ask to see a marketing plan for your home.
Ask exactly what each agent is going to do to get your home sold and for top dollar.
Then take a look at what the Realty Billings Team offers our home sellers.