By listing in early January, you might be able to catch a few of those early birds who start browsing in the winter so that they can find a brand new home before school starts in the fall, said Louis Cammarosano, general manager of HomeGain.com, a real-estate website. In fact, lots of buyers tend to start their searches online right after Christmas, and continue throughout January and February, he said.
If your New Year’s resolution involves selling a home in 2011, you’ve got some work to do: There’s lots of stock out there and in a buyer’s market like this one, getting an offer on a home can be challenging.
Think about the following tips to give your home the best chance to get noticed — and sold — in 2011.
Price It Right from the Start
Lots of sellers suffer from attachment bias, said Tara-Nicholle Nelson, consumer educator for real-estate website Trulia.com. they think that their home is worth over they’d pay for it in another context. While it’s always a bad idea to overprice a home, it’s dangerous in times like this because there is a lot competing stock in lots of local markets.
Nelson’s advice: Give yourself a reality check by looking inside comparable homes in the work of open houses. That can help you receive a clearer idea of your home’s value. You might even think about interviewing a few real-estate agents to get over one take on how the home ought to be priced, Cammarosano said.
Don’t be afraid to advertise in the listing and advertising materials that it’s not a foreclosure or short sale, Nelson said. In markets where distressed sales are plentiful, there’s buyers who basically don’t need to deal with the additional hassle and uncertainty of a short sale or bank-owned property, he said.
The longer something sits on the market, the more cost reductions you might must make and the more potential buyers will assume that there’s something wrong with the home, he said. So usually, it’s best not to try testing the waters with a higher cost, he adds.
Get the House Ready
Most sellers know they need to declutter, paint in neutral colors and usually stage the home as best as they can to help buyers envision themselves in the house. Often, this is completed on the advice of a real-estate agent or professional stager.
The closer you can get your home looking like a picture from a Pottery Barn catalog, the better off you will be, said Beth Jaworski, a real-estate agent in the Milwaukee area, and make positive that your cabinets and refrigerators are cleaned out and decluttered, . “You need to have a maximum of stuff’ in the house. The less stuff you have, the larger the closets, basement and garage will look,” he said.
Jaworski also recommends having a home inspection completed a month before putting the home on the market to identify any major defects that need to be corrected.
Provide as Much Information as Possible
“Buyers are always curious what the utility bills are, how old the roof is, how lots of layers it has, how old the major mechanicals are and when that addition was added,” he said. “The more information you can provide on the house, the better.”
Have energy bills and a list of updates available for buyers to see, Jaworski said.
Make It Easy to Show
Think about providing a floor plan with listings as well, Cammarosano said. That way the potential buyers don’t must keep making return visits to decide how their furniture will slot in the space — they’ll have the dimensions in hand.
The more available you can make your home for showings, the better, said David Welch, a broker/associate in Orlando, Fla. Make it elementary for your real-estate agent to access the property and keep the place clean.
“You need your home to be elementary to show because you don’t know in the event you will receive a second chance,” Welch said. “Trust me, the buyer wishes to like your house. Keep it in show-ready condition,” he said, so they aren’t turned off by a first impression.
Buyers are in the driver’s chair these days, and they know they can make all sorts of unusual requests without risking the deal. Be prepared.
“Buyer wishes to see the house at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, OK,” Jaworski said. “Buyer wishes to bring 10 relatives members and an inspector to check out the house for three hours this weekend, OK. Buyer wishes you to include the kitchen desk and chairs, the painting over the fire and your snow blower, OK.”
“The more flexible you are,” he said, “the better off you will be.”