When home prices and sales fall, the real estate market favors buyers over sellers. It can be difficult to sell a house when the market is saturated with many houses and the home prices are low. Although selling in a buyer's market is difficult, it is not impossible. Owners can take a few steps to sell their homes quickly without taking on huge losses. A few effective yet inexpensive measures can make properties more desirable and valuable.
Prepare Your Home for Showings
Make necessary repairs to your house. Today's home buyers are competing with foreclosures in addition to fixer-uppers. Homes must appear well-kept and all repairs should be made. Fix squeaky staircases, repair leaky roofs, conquer wet basements and repair floor boards and light switches. Repaint interior trim and casings to give the home a fresh look.
Improve the home's curb appeal. Many buyers look at homes online first or drive by before they decide to go inside. The outside of the home should be as attractive as possible to draw potential buyers inside. Trimmed lawns, neat gardens and attractive landscaping are important. Repair visible damage to lawns and gardens by using sod, planting shrubs or quick-growing plants and neatly edging and trimming yard areas. Remove junk and hide trash and recycling cans. Repaint trim and touch up concrete steps. Give the front door a new coat of paint, purchase a new mailbox and find an attractive number sign for the front.
Stage the home. You can do this yourself or hire a professional stager to create a cozy atmosphere. If you've already moved and your furniture is gone, rent some. Buyers like to imagine people living in homes, which is why most model homes contain furnishings. Avoid clutter and lots of furniture. Instead, paint surfaces, clean furniture and add adequate lighting where needed. Remove all personal touches such as family photos, diplomas and trophies. Instead, make the home an appealing place to everyone.
Remove pets from the home. Board pets or send them to live with relatives before you begin the selling process. Pet owners don't always notice pet smells, but buyers do. Remove all pets and all traces of pets from the premises permanently.
Implement Good Selling Strategies
Choose an agent carefully. Look for billboards, classified ads and local home magazines that advertise realtors. Choose a realtor that is high-profile, has proven success selling homes and knows a lot about real estate. The realtor should be able to sell most properties in three or four months. Read client reviews online, ask friends and relatives for recommendations and look for agents who win awards. Get a professional agent with a viable marketing plan that includes open houses to draw as many buyers as possible. You want an agent who will do what it takes to get results. Finding an agent with experience selling homes in your market will help ensure correct pricing.
Price the house right. You must be willing to sell the house at or below fair market value. Overpriced homes do not sell in a buyer's market. If you need to sell a home quickly, it may not be possible to make a large profit. Be flexible and be willing to take offers that are lower than you'd hoped. Find a way to recover needed funds, but don't look to make a large profit.
Keep an open schedule and ensure that your home is ready to show at all times. Make it easy for prospective buyers to see it. Make the bed each morning and clean before leaving the house in case someone wants to see it while you're gone. On the weekends or in the evenings, be prepared to leave at a moment's notice so that agents can show the home whenever a client wants to see it.
Allow an agent to offer great deals on your behalf. Offer buyers a cash amount to use toward closing costs, payments or a down payment that is within the guidelines of their loan programs. Be creative to appeal to buyers. Market the money as help with decorating, paying the mortgage for a few months or paying off debt.
- "U.S. News and World Report Money"; 5 Tips for Selling a House in a Slow Market; Luke Mullins; April 2008
- "CNN Money"; 5 Slow-Market Strategies; Les Christie; January 2006
- "Realty Times"; Slow Market? Sell the Deal, Not the House; M. Anthony Carr; August 2005
- "Forbes"; Slow-Market Secrets to a Fast Home Sale; William Bronchick and Ray Cooper; October 2008
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images