Price Point is Paramount When getting ready to put a home on the market, determining the right listing price is the number one most important element in the home selling process. After you have carefully chosen an agent, the trust you have established will come into play immediately. Have those tough discussions with your agent about where to price your home. Make certain you understand how the agent has arrived at the price, including how previous sales and current homes on the market make an impact. If necessary, jump in the car with your agent and see some of the homes on the market in the area. This will provide first hand knowledge on homes that are available in your neighborhood.
Appeal to Your Audience Work with your agent to determine how to get your home to stand out. Providing incentives is a great way to draw in potential home buyers, and monetary bonuses don't just have to come from negotiation of the listing price. Sellers can also choose to contribute to closing costs, or conduct pre-home inspections, which can comfort potential home buyers in knowing that the property is in top shape.
Leave a Great First Impression Everyone talks about curb appeal, but a first impression is truly lasting. Remember, your agent is your trusted advisor. They will know the necessary updates and upkeep you should make to get the home ready for showings. But some of this is fairly easy and the front door is particularly important. This is the area where a buyer will first step up to a home - and likely wait for a moment providing time to look around. Do this ahead of time, stand directly in the front door and look up and around at the home from all angles - cobwebs that have not been noticed in years could be the first thing greeting a potential home buyer, so it's important for this area to give a great first impression.
Everything is in the Visual Don't underestimate the power of visuals in marketing your home. The National Association of Realtors found that, more than 90 percent of home buyers begin their search online. Your agent may push hard for you to have the home prepared for vivid pictures and video of the property that can be posted on many different websites.
Hit the Right Note with all Five Senses When a buyer comes to look at a home they want the full experience. To help a home stand out, your agent may ask you to focus on appealing to all five senses. Small and inexpensive upgrades to the home such as getting the walls painted, de-cluttering and making minor improvements to the outdoor landscape. In terms of "touch," remember that buyers aren't just going to look - they'll be turning on your faucets and opening closets, so make sure closets are clean and organized. When it comes to making a home smell good, many agents prefer the smell of baked goods rather than fresh flowers or air fresheners which can be overwhelming. All of this is being done to allow the buyer to properly visualize living in the home.
What should you do if your home has been on the market for too long? You listed your home for sale with hopes. You love your property and you felt certain that it would sell in a reasonable amount of time. But it's been several months since you listed your home. You've had some interests and several showings. You've received a few lowball offers. Maybe you've even experienced the emotional turmoil of watching a contract fall apart. Regardless of the details, one fact is clear: your property is very much still for sale. What went wrong? What can you do? Here are 8 effective tips to facilitate a faster sale.
Depersonalize If your house has been on the market for six weeks or more without so much as a nibble of interest, it's time to take a hard look at what might be putting buyers off. If buyers can't imagine themselves living in a home, they'll be reluctant to make an offer. To make your home appealing, pack away all of your family pictures, child artwork, and mementos. Paint your walls a neutral color like beige, cream or white. Pack away any polarizing or controversial pieces of artwork or decor. Depersonalize and try to make your home look like a model home.
Declutter Buyers like to see clean, wide-open living spaces. If you have physical or visual clutter in the room, you're sending a message to the buyer that you don't have enough storage space. Don't send that message. Instead, get those moving boxes and start packing. You may not have a contract yet, but if you minimize your possessions and declutter the space, you'll make the rooms look larger and create the impression of having tons of storage space.
Remove Evidence of Pets We love our four-legged friends, but their food and water dishes, crates, and even just hair on the carpet can be a big turn-off to buyers who don't like animals. If you know that someone is coming to look at your home, put the food dishes away, store the crate in the garage or outside, and make sure to remove all signs of pet fur and dander.
Freshen Up the Space Don't let buyers turn up their nose at your home. Smell is the first thing potential buyers notice when they walk into a house. Clean your home to get rid of any dusty or musty smells. If the weather is nice, open the windows to let your home air out. Install all-natural room fresheners or light scented candles in discreet places like the bathroom closet, laundry room, and garage. Choose a neutral and natural scent, like vanilla, rather than a pungent floral scent. You could also consider investing an essential oil diffuser to leave running during home showings. Sage, lemon, lavender, and cinnamon are all subtle, relaxing, and inviting scents that help brighten your living space.
Work on Curb Appeal Some buyers won't even step into your home if they don't think the property has curb appeal. Clean the windows and make sure that there are no visible cobwebs. Mow your yard and trim the edges, prune the bushes, plant fresh flowers, and spruce up your shutters by giving them a fresh coat of paint. You may even want to install a new mailbox and outdoor light fixtures.
Consider an Affordable Mini-Renovation Not everyone likes a fixer-upper. Stained carpets and less than appealing paint colors may look like dollars needed for (and the hassle of) renovation in the buyer's eyes. Small renovations may lead to big payoff. Consider painting the walls a neutral color, installing a smart thermostat, replacing hardware and fixtures and other fairly inexpensive changes that will take away the label of a fixer-upper.
Stage Like an Expert You've depersonalized, decluttered, renovated, and worked on curb appeal. Now it's time to stage your home like a pro. Place brand new, neatly folded towels and candles in the bathroom. Place a decorative bowl filled with bright red or green apples, lemons, or limes in the kitchen. Fill a clear glass cookie jar with fresh cookies on the kitchen counter.
Ask Your Agent About Pricing If your home isn't selling after you've done everything above, it's time to talk to your real estate agent about adjusting the price. This is where your agent's knowledge of your market and the amenities of your home come into play. If your home is priced competitively, buyers will feel like they're getting a great deal. A $5,000-$10,000 reduction may be all it takes to motivate the right buyer.
Make Your Home More Accessible Make your home available for showings. If you limit your home to pre-scheduled viewings, you're definitely not going to be able to sell as quickly. If you're flexible with when you allow buyers to come see your property, you'll have a better chance of getting more foot traffic and more potential buyers into your home. Time is of the essence when it comes to selling your home. Stand out to buyers by following these 8 effective tips to facilitate a faster sale.
Contact me today for more home selling tips.
You're moving away from your current home and you're not sure whether you should sell your current home or hang onto the property as a rental. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
If you hold onto your home, you can enjoy residual rental income as well as any positive home value appreciation. You'll also have the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that you could move back, if circumstances allow.
If you sell your home, you may have cash from the sale that can help you purchase another home in your new location. You also won't need to worry about renting and maintaining your former home.
It's a tough decision and there's no "right" or "wrong" answer. But don't worry, we've come up with six critical questions you should ask yourself when you're trying to decide whether to rent or sell your current home.
1. What Are the Current Market Conditions?
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes national, regional and metro-market-level statistics about real estate forecasts. If your home is located in a major metropolitan area that's covered by NAR data, you can view their current forecasts about your housing market conditions.
But remember, real estate trends are hyper-local, which means the data that applies to your overall state or metropolitan area may not necessarily apply to your neighborhood. For specific local information, talk to a real estate agent who specializes in your location.
Ask a real estate agent to conduct a comparative market analysis look at both the recent sales and recent rental history of your neighborhood. You can also check out home pricing reports, such as the Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report, to compare the value of homes in your area. Again, it's important to talk to an agent who has experience with your specific neighborhood because the market trends may vary in different areas
2. What is the Long-Term Outlook for the Neighborhood?
Ask your agent if there are indicators that your neighborhood may have a positive outlook for the next several years.
If home prices are slated to rise, it could be beneficial to hold on to the property and allow time for appreciation. If you're holding onto your former home, then you may want to rent it out so that you can cover mortgage, repair and maintenance costs during your holding period. If, however, values are on a decline, selling your home may be a better option for you.
Of course, nobody can predict the future. But looking at indicators like job growth, population growth and housing inventory can lead to a smarter decision.
3. Will You Have Trouble Finding a Buyer or Renter?
Every local housing market caters to different sets of people. If you want to be able to find a tenant or buyer, you need to understand who your housing market attracts.
If your neighborhood tends to attract first-time homebuyers, and you live in a high-priced luxury home, it's possible that you may have better luck finding a renter. On the other hand, if your residence is a duplex and your neighborhood is popular with investors, you may have excellent luck selling your property.
Likewise, take a look at how popular your neighborhood is with renters. Ask a real estate agent to pull data about the percentage of homes in your area that are owner-occupied vs. renter-occupied.
In addition, ask the agent to tell you the average length of time that homes sit on the market before selling. This will give you an indication of the demand in your neighborhood.
4. What Are Your Monthly Holding Expenses?
Estimate the monthly rental income for your property. Subtract an estimate for expected vacancy rates as well as an estimate for property management fees. This is the gross revenue you can expect to collect from the property.
Vacancy rates vary depending on neighborhood. Talk to an agent to find the average vacancy rates in your area. You can also call a few property managers who service your area to inquire about rates. Expect to hear estimates around 10% of the gross rent monthly, plus one months' rent as a placement fee for new residents.
Next, calculate your total monthly expenses for the property, including the mortgage payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance), condo or homeowner's association (HOA) fees if applicable, and an estimate for annual repair and maintenance costs. These are your holding costs for the property.
Not sure how to estimate these costs? As a broad rule-of-thumb, repairs and maintenance will cost about 1% of the property value, or $83 per month for every $100,000 worth of home. This is a long-term average that includes major capital expenditures like replacing the HVAC, water heater and roof.
Subtract your holding costs from your gross revenue (after deducting for vacancy and management). How much is left over?
This monthly total will play a big role in your decision to either rent or sell.
5. Do You Have an Emergency Fund?
You'll need adequate funds to prepare for vacancies and major capital expenditures. Do you have an emergency fund to cover the mortgage payment for those months when the property may not be occupied? Can your cash reserves cover the cost of a major emergency repair, like a broken water heater?
If you don't have the money to make your payments on time, then your credit score will suffer, and eventually, you could even face foreclosure. Make sure you have sufficient cash reserves before you start renting out your property.
6. Can You Buy Another Home Without Recouping the Down Payment?
Can you buy another home without selling your existing home? Or do you need to sell your current home in order to recoup the equity, so that you can make a down payment on your next home?
If any offer that you make on a future home will be contingent on the sale of your current home, then you may want to think about listing your existing home for sale.
On the other hand, if you can hold onto your current home and also buy another one, and the rental income on your current home - even after vacancies, repairs, maintenance and management - exceeds the holding costs, then there might be an argument for using your current home as a rental.
Whether you should rent or sell your current home is a difficult question to answer. But if you carefully examine the specifics of your neighborhood, home prices, rental demand, cash reserves, and financial abilities, you'll be able to come up with a smart decision.
If you're thinking that selling is the best option, contact me today for more home selling tips.