By John Stemlar
Marketing and selling a home is a collaborative undertaking between you and your agent. Success requires commitment, attention to detail and follow through. Consider these tips to get your home sold in the shortest time and at the highest price.
Market knowledge, experience and savvy are the foundation of a successful pricing strategy. Competing listings, comparable sales, unique home attributes and market momentum all come into play. Be objective. Don’t under-price your home, but do resist the temptation to over price it. An over-priced home cannot compete with appropriately-priced homes and will be disregarded in on-line searches. Even worse, search results in the price range where your listing belongs won’t even include your home.
Make the Obvious Repairs
From a buyer’s perspective, a home that appears to be well-maintained probably is. Dripping faucets, flickering light fixtures and peeling paint will make prospective buyers leery of the parts of the home that they can’t readily see. Make the obvious repairs to your home; the objective is to impress upon buyers that your home has been lovingly cared for day-to-day. Some repair items are best set aside until if/when a buyer request they be addressed (i.e., based on the home inspection). An experienced agent can advise you as to which repairs should be made prior to listing.
Stage Your Home
Home staging is simply preparing a home to appeal to the broadest range of buyers. Staging an occupied home involves neutralizing décor, de-cluttering, de-personalizing, adjusting lighting and arranging the existing furniture and accessories. Staging accentuates a home’s best features and downplays marketing challenges (like small rooms or an awkward floor plan). Professionally staged homes are proven to sell quicker and for more money than those that are not staged. Your agent should include and pay for a staging assessment as part of the listing.
Use Professional Photography
Professional photography is the cornerstone of any serious home marketing effort. Quality photography delivers buyer traffic – it generates excitement and entices a buyer to include your home on the “must see” list. Even after the home tour, buyers will revisit on-line photos and send them to family and friends; great photos help keep your home at the top of the buyer’s list. The best agents include and pay for professional photography in listing a home. They also personally direct the photo shoot to ensure the photography presents your home in its most positive and intriguing light.
Keep Your Home Show Ready
Because agents typically give little notice before a showing, your home should always be show-ready. Keep the kitchen and baths sparkling clean, the trash empty, odors controlled, light bulbs working, carpets clean, yard manicured etc. Every showing matters!
Make Agent Showings Easy
The easier it is for agents to show a home, the more often it will be shown. The more often a home is shown, the quicker it will sell. Make it convenient for agents to show your property by minimizing showing time restrictions and notice requirements. Most agents schedule several showings per buyer outing; if your home is difficult to fit into the tour, it may not get shown.
Actively Manage the Listing
Marketing and selling a home is an on-going campaign. The marketplace is dynamic; new buyers enter and the competition changes daily. Following up on agent showings and staying current on the competition are critical. Strategic re-positioning in the market, including price adjustments (up or down), modifying descriptive text and even seasonal updates to exterior photography are often called for. Success requires your agent’s commitment to actively managing your listing day-to-day; this includes engaging directly with other agents by phone (as opposed to via text, automated showing and feed back services or through their admin.).
Negotiate the Best Deal
Contract skills, transaction experience and negotiating savvy are distinct agent skills that should never be overlooked (but too often are). Great marketing means little without a successful sale. Advocacy – your agent’s commitment to promoting and protecting your interests ahead of his/her own – is absolutely critical to your success.
John Stemlar is a Principal and the Managing Broker of Sage Real Estate Advisors, a boutique Atlanta residential real estate brokerage. He also promotes the Brookhaven Lynwood Park neighborhood and the sale of homes in Lynwood Park via www.lynwoodparkhomes.com.