The 3 immutable laws of selling a home

Christina Lowry James
Published on October 31, 2017

The 3 immutable laws of selling a home

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There are many things that will always change, seasons, life, and trends to name a few. There are some things that will never change. Real estate, too, has its immutable laws and there are three very important ones you should pay attention to as you get ready to put your home on the Birmingham market. 

The 3 immutable laws of selling a home

1. No, your home in need of repair won’t be popular, unless you price it at rock bottom

Unless you absolutely cannot afford to fix what’s broken in your home, making repairs is a must. At least if you want to make the most money possible. Don’t make repairs and the buyers most attracted will be investors who won’t pay you anywhere near what you hope to make. And, if the necessary repairs are major, few lenders will loan a buyer the money to purchase the home unless and until the repairs are made.

Even a home in need of minor repairs – dripping faucets, ratty carpet, walls in need of patching – loses perceived value. People want to buy a home, few want to buy a project they have to complete before moving.

If your home appeals to first time homebuyer in their late 20’s to early 30’s, a recent National Association of Realtors study finds that these buyers neither have the money nor the desire to make repairs after they purchase a home. “They want to cook in that kitchen from day one and entertain in the backyard that very weekend,” according to Consumer Report’s Dan DiClerico.

Want to make a profit when you sell your home? Fix anything that needs it.

The 3 immutable laws of selling a home

2. Overprice your home and it will stay on the market longer and, trust us, you won’t like the offers you get on it

Pricing a home is not an exact number. The right price is within a price range. In one given neighborhood there may be 10 comparable sized homes of similar age and construction. All 10 of these homes will sell at various prices. The price range is from high to low to average. The homes with the most updates or best flow or the right buyer at the exact right time, sell at a higher cost per square foot than those without the latter. The right price then becomes a sliding scale of value. If a home is average, you’ll price in the mid-range of the scale. If a home is exquisite, it will be priced at the top end of the scale. If the home is slightly above average with attributes sought after by buyers like main level living or a full-blown, oversized man cave in the basement or a remodeled kitchen and master suite, then you may want to push the needle on the scale.

Once the number is established and it is on the market, listen very carefully to what the market is telling you and respond quickly. The number of showings and feedback will tell you if your number is in the sweet spot or needs tweaking. If showings need to pick up and feedback is focused on “too much to do,” after the first 30 days, make the appropriate changes.

The 3 immutable laws of selling a home

3. Signs don’t sell homes, marketing does

Yes, that’s a for-sale sign in your front yard. But it takes a lot more to sell a home than an MLS listing and a sign. Even though right now buyers are lining up for certain types of homes and homes in good condition in decent areas, you won’t get top dollar for yours if it isn’t marketed properly.

I consider staging a home as the first point of marketing a home. The first investment I make when listing a home is helping the seller stage a home. Staging falls under my “marketing” expenses. How the home feels and looks, first, in pictures and then in person is what moves a buyer and sells a home.

The internet has changed just about everything when it comes to home sales. The biggest change is that potential buyers can and do begin their home search from the comfort of their homes or offices. They’ll surf the internet, both real estate brokerage sites, and the big real estate aggregators, poring over listings of homes in the areas in which they want to live. I want my listings to capture these buyer’s interest and stand out from my client’s competition. If both the exterior and the interior are captivating enough that when potential buyers view photos of the home online, they will be compelled to want to tour it.

I bring in a professional stager into the majority of homes that I have the honor to put on the market. Together with the homeowner, we walk room to room making a list of suggestions and assessing furniture placement. A stager may recommend painting a home (in colors that sell), floor coverings, new flooring, paintings on the wall, new appliances, etc. Do not fear these suggestions for the money it will cost you, but welcome them for the money it will make you. A buyer that is not attracted to your home will not come to see your home or once they are in your home, they will overestimate these items by 3X’s the amount of what it costs.

Next, professional photography, blanketing the internet and informing the neighbors and public are all key components I invest in when selling a home quickly.

In the age of technology, the basics of readying a home for the market – decluttering, deep cleaning and increasing its curb appeal – are no longer choices, they are necessities. At least if you hope to get the most money possible when selling a home.

Making needed repairs and properly readying your home for the market will increase its perceived value. Pricing it competitively will help it sell quickly. It’s like hitting the trifecta!

Birmingham Home Agents The 3 immutable laws of selling a home

© Christina James and BirminghamHomeAgents.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christina James and BirminghamHomeAgents.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The 3 immutable laws of selling a home
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