It's a buyer's market, but don't despair.
If you must sell your home, you can increase your chances of selling your house in a reasonable time by following a few good guidelines.
First, face reality. A successful home sale begins before the house is listed, when you decide not to expect to make a killing. If you must sell, all you can do in a declining market is to have the best possible product out there priced where it should be priced. Not what you wish you could get, not what the neighbor got two years ago or last year, but at the price you should and can get now. That's the reality.
It takes discipline to face that reality; humility, too. Don't let your ego get in the way when you're trying to sell. Buyers do not care that your friend got more for their house when they sold it six months ago. Also, don't be unrealistic and think that housing prices in your area, or street, have not declined. While real estate is a local business, and some areas have maintained their values better than others, it is highly unlikely that your particular home has not been affected by the decline in housing values.
Second, look at the good deals being offered in your neighborhood. Shop the competition on the market right now. Get out in the car and spend a weekend looking at everything you can. Visit some weekend open houses. Just get a feel for what buyers are looking at.
Third, make it a turnkey, not a turkey. The word "turnkey" means a home that is move-in ready. If you want to sell for top dollar, your house must be in tip top condition, especially when buyers have so many houses to choose from. Buyers never want to buy a house that needs a lot of work unless it's an absolute bargain. You have to take away all their opportunities to say no.
Fourth, offer incentives. Besides a low price, incentives for buyers include paying discount points to lower the mortgage rate, paying closing costs or providing flexibility about the move-in date.
90% of buyers are working with a buyer's agent. Consider offering a premium to the buyer's agent. Add a half point or a point to the commission. It may not cause the deal to happen, but it can attract a little more attention and make your home stand out.
Fifth, and most important, price realistically and competitively.
It takes research, often conducted by a real estate agent, to come up with a realistic asking price, and discipline to abide by it.
In a seller's market, sellers typically ask for 10% to 20% more than they expect to get. You simply don't have that luxury in a buyer's market. In a buyer's market sellers should ask for just 3% to 5% more than you realistically expect to get. Another effective strategy is to price your home BELOW market value - you will be surprised how many offers you get and your home will likely sell for more than what you anticipated. Setting an aggressive asking price attracts more prospective buyers to your door, discourages lowball offers and saves negotiating time. You'll know fairly quickly whether buyers are willing to meet you or not. In a market where prices are falling, asking prices must fall too.
If you're considering selling your home, give me a call. I would be happy to provide a professional Comparative Market Analysis on your home, answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. No obligation. No pressure. You may reach me directly at (818) 339-5466.
The BZPros Real Estate Team
Keller Williams Realty