How to be a Successful Seller in 2011
If you are anything like me, when it comes to making those new year resolutions, you have the intention of starting when you hop out of bed (or lay in bed recovering from the night before) on January 1st. Well, sometimes the best of plans get delayed due to hectic schedules, fear of failure or change, or just the fact that we are creatures of habit. Due to the fact that I am just starting to implement my resolutions a month later than planned, I feel that February is not too late to consider a few new ones, especially if you are trying to sell your property in this buyer’s market. Here are a few tips (straight from the buyers mouths) to make your resolution focused on getting that property sold!
1. Ensure the photographs of your property are enticing and will catch the buyers attention.
I would feel confident stating that 99% of buyers look online before even reaching out to a Realtor® for further information or assistance. The top reason they are online is to look at listing photos of a property. If your property does not look good online, there is a high probability they will eliminate it from contention. Most buyers will consider or reject a property based only on how the property looks online.
The photographs should be high quality and clear. I am amazed at some of the fuzzy, distorted images that are used to market some properties. Make sure that the rooms appear as bright and spacious as possible. Pull up the blinds (especially if you have views that are desirable) and let natural light illuminate the area.
2. Be realistic about the listing price you decide to market the property at.
The bad news for sellers is there is a lot of inventory on the market AND the power at the negotiating table is in buyer’s court. There is a lot of emotion involved in selling your property. Trust me, I know. There has been a couple of times when selling my own properties within the past year, I have had to call my business partner to help me keep my emotions out of the equation, even though I am a real estate professional myself.
A good Realtor should provide you, as the seller, with a high, average, and a median value of comparable properties that have sold in the past few months. Maybe interviewing a few agents who specialize in your neighborhood so that you can ensure you receive a true reflection of your property’s current value from a few credible sources would be a good idea, especially if you are not familiar with Galveston’s current market. If there happen to be open houses in your neighborhood, go and see what your competition is, or will be. Price it right from the beginning.
Some Realtors tend to have a strategy which includes scheduled price reductions until an offer is received. This strategy can be a powerful one, keeping the listing on the “hot list” to catch other Realtor’s attention. As always, there can be a negative to this strategy, depending on the property, as some buyers will assume that there is something wrong with your property if they see constant price reductions. “Testing the waters” with a high listing price is a big no-no in my book…this can be deadly and will result in no one considering your property as a possibility. I know it’s hard, but if you are a true seller, leave your emotions at the door and be realistic!
3. Provide your Realtor with as much information up front as possible.
After signing a listing agreement and committing to help you sell your home, a Realtor® should ask you for a list of items. These items will differ depending upon the type of property you own. If you presented a seller’s disclosure to fill out, make sure to be honest and as detailed as you can be when filling this out. Your Realtor® can not fill this out for you, or help you fill this out.
You may also be asked to provide average utility bills for the past 6 months, a survey and elevation certificated of the property, insurance costs associated with owning the home, past inspections, and rental statistics for the past 12 months (if marketing the home/condo as a second home or vacation rental).
Buyers will ask for this information if they are interested, and the faster we can get this information into their hands, the faster they will be able to make a decision on whether or not to submit an offer.
4. Listing early in the year does not make you look desperate.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, home buyers are browsing the internet now for their home they intend to buy this year. Usually, this will start happening after the craziness of the holidays is over. My phone has begun to ring earlier this year with people starting their search now, but planning on pulling the trigger in the Spring.
If you have priced it correctly, there is not a “bad” time to put your home on the market. In my business, a second home purchase is an incredibly emotional decision for buyers and one they do not have to do.
Many second home buyers start their research 3 to 6 months before even contacting a Realtor®. I cannot tell you enough how important good online presence is in such a technologically dominated world.
5. Start your Spring cleaning NOW! Make your property as friendly to show as possible.
Been there, done that. This is sometimes the worst part of selling a home, keeping it clean and having strangers in your home. It can feel very invasive & is tough to do, especially if you are occupying the home and you have children.
I have 3 young ones myself and this was one of the biggest challenges that I faced when selling my West End home last year, especially when it was being marketed as a second home! Forget the expensive “staging” – here are some tips to help make your home look fabulous!
Rent a storage facility for extra stuff… this will make the garage appear larger, the closets look more roomy, and just plain feels good. Anything that you forgot you owned or haven’t used in a year, donate to a charity or throw away. No hoarding allowed!
Buyers will open your cabinets, drawers, and closets. Make sure they look organized and roomy as possible.
Curb appeal is important if applicable. Make sure your landscaping looks clean, the lawn is mowed, the front entrance is inviting, etc.
Make sure your property smells good. Pet odors, cooking odors, and the musty odor that will take over your property if it is vacant, will turn off buyers immediately.
NEVER SAY NO TO A SHOWING!
The buyer will find another property they like during their day looking at the other competition out there. Always be ready to show… wake up in the morning with the idea that someone is coming that morning to look.
If you start out (or make it a point to start now) as a seller who has priced the property correctly and have it in the best shape possible, you are giving yourself an advantage over the other sellers out there.
The first month your property is on the market is the most crucial time – this is when you typically will get the most interest from buyers and attention from other Realtors® that represent buyers.
In order to be a successful seller in 2011, I suggest following these tips to get the property sold as quickly as possible. Don’t let it linger on the market and become stale. If you are looking to sell your property, do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or if you would like some advice. Here’s to a prosperous 2011 Galveston Island real estate season!
Lyndsey Garza is a Galveston resident of 13 years, a real estate agent with Galveston Real Estate Resource, LLC, and a provisional member of the Junior League of Galveston County. Additional market information is available on her brokerages’ consumer friendly websites: www.homesofgalveston.com, www.condosofgalveston.com, and www.pointewestrealestate.com. You can reach her directly at email@example.com.