After years of a sellers’ market, Boulder County home prices have flattened, and home supplies are higher than demand. If you’re buying, it’s good news. If you’re selling it doesn’t mean your house won’t get sold, just that you (and your Realtor) have to work a bit harder and smarter to do so. Here are nine tips for selling your home in our changing housing market:
1. Get your house in good shape
Deep cleaning, fixing or replacing damaged items, paint touch-up, de-cluttering and depersonalizing are all must-dos. If your house is dated it probably doesn’t make financial sense to remodel, but does pay to address big-impact issues such as bright/dark paint or worn carpet. Don’t underestimate the importance of outdoor areas, especially given our indoor/outdoor Colorado lifestyle. Take a look online at comps (competitive local homes for sale in your size/price range) to get an idea of what’s expected. Higher-end homes are often staged with modern neutral décor that is light and airy. You may not have the budget to do this, but you can remove items from your home to achieve a more open feeling.
2. Price your home correctly
If you want to sell your home in a timely manner, this is absolutely, hands-down the most crucial task. Your Realtor should provide you with a market analysis including comps that dictate what a proper selling price should be. Take your Realtor’s advice! Sellers often think they “need to get as much as they can” and over-price their property. Instead of snagging that one buyer who’s willing to pay more than market value, they usually just drive away potential buyers who look elsewhere while the overpriced property sits on the market and becomes seen as old, stale and rejected.
3. Make sure you have good home photos
Most buyers study online photos of a home before deciding to set up a showing. If the photos of your home do it no justice you’re sabotaging your sale. There is a great variance in the quality of home photos taken, and good Realtors recognize this. When selecting a Realtor, review the photos of homes they’ve represented, and how well these homes are presented in all marketing materials.
4. Compare Realtors’ marketing methods
Besides photos, when choosing a Realtor, compare their other marketing efforts. Do they place ads in the newspaper or magazines? Do they send direct mail? What is their website like? Will they host parties and open houses (noted below)? Some Realtors do a lot, and others do practically nothing at all. A good Realtor will present you with a proposed marketing plan.
5. Have open houses
Open houses fill many purposes in terms of marketing homes. Luckily, anxious buyers drive around looking at homes for sale and going to open houses. Some homes just do not photograph as well as they look in person. Other houses that maybe aren’t so great are in wonderful neighborhoods, which increase their appeal. Buyers often go to an open house above their supposed budget – “Why not? We’re here anyway!” – a house they wouldn’t set up a showing to see. In some cases, these buyers fall in “house love” and somehow “find” the money to buy said home. But note that open house events in the county do not attract the same attendance as city ones.
6. Have a flexible schedule
Make sure your house is ready to show at all times so prospective buyers can see it. Clean up before heading off to work in case someone wants to come by at the last minute, which very often happens. Don’t be tempted to hang around during showings; it makes potential buyers feel uncomfortable, thus they rush through your property.
7. Be patient
We’re all a bit used to our sellers’ market with multiple offers coming in within the first few weeks a property is listed. But those days are gone unless you underprice your property. Our “new normal” means you may have to wait several months for an offer.
8. Stay cool during negotiations
If a potential buyer comes in with an offer you consider too low, resist the urge to snub them in disgust. It takes a considerable amount of paperwork to make a formal offer, so even a low bid denotes interest. Do a counter offer. You have nothing to lose and you never know what may happen, especially if the offer comes from a couple with two minds on the issue.
9. Re-assess as needed
If you have no activity, your house is just sitting with scant showings and no offers; you have two options: drop the price immediately, or take it off the market and put it back on again later. Feedback from your showings should give you some clues as to what the problem is with your home. But usually, it all comes down to the price relative to comparable properties currently available.
By Karen Libin. Karen is the owner and managing broker of KL Realty, and has more than 29 years of experience in the Boulder County real estate market. Contact Karen at KL Realty, call 303.444.3177, e-mail [email protected] or visit klrealty.net.