Selling Your Home in a Down Market…

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Let’s face it – it’s been a tough real estate world out there.  Foreclosures are high, Short Sales are up, values are down.   The incentive programs by the Obama Administration helped temporarily, but mostly the homes in the lower price ranges.

Market Situation:   Homes are sitting on the market longer, competition is fierce, buyers are more scarce.  So what can You do to ensure the sale of your home?  Follow these rules – get your home sold.   Think that your home is so special – you get to keep it (hey, if it’s that special, maybe you really don’t want to sell….)


1)  Your home has to be PERFECT.  That means perfectly clean, perfect yard maintenance, perfect paint job, perfect smelling, perfectly staged.

2) No, you Don’t live there. “But we have to live here too”….  No you don’t.   Move out if you have to.  If you cannot live neatly, if your pets, little league, scrap booking, hobbies etc. take up your life then take off $10,000 to $20,000 from the price to ensure your sale, otherwise make the appropriate changes in your lifestyle to ensure that your home looks like a model home.

3) The value of your neighbor’s home does NOT translate into the value of yours. (especially if they sold for a great price).    Does your home have granite, travertine, wood flooring, new carpet, new roof, new a/c like other homes in the neighborhood?  Is yours professionally decorated like theirs?  Don’t expect the sales price of your home that may not be updated to be anywhere near the other homes that have been updated.   Their final sales price will help you in the appraisal process, but not in the sales process.

4) Price your home to SELL at the onset.  If everyone else is marketing their home for $250,000, then undercut them immediately and sell yours (all other things being equal) for $225,000.   Pricing yours at $249,900 will not do anything to bring the buyers to yours instead of the other homes.  Then they will start dropping theirs to $239,900 then you’ll drop yours to $238,000 then someone drops theirs to $230,000 and you’ll finally drop yours to $225,000 hoping that they don’t drop it also.  This may be a several month process where you may miss the selling season and may ultimately sell your home for the same amount or even less months later.  You may have missed purchasing the home of your dreams because you couldn’t act fast enough.  Not to mention the months of keeping your home perfect for showings.

5) Hire the right Realtor – and then Listen to him/her! Is selling real estate your business?  Are you not paying your Realtor (at closing)?  Then why not take advantage of his/her years of marketing and marketing knowledge?  How do you know you are hiring the right Realtor?   Many publications and on-line sources give you questions to ask.  So generic.   How long have you been selling homes in my area?  blah, blah, blah.   The number one reason a seller hires a particular Realtor is price.   A seller is always impressed with a high price – not marketing, not length of service.  Then the home sits on the market.   Instead, a homeowner should take the approach that a Realtor that knows the market and is honest enough to give a real evaluation of the home is the man/woman for them.  Experience is key.  A seasoned Realtor will know the other homes in the neighborhood. They will know what and where the competition is and how your home stacks up.  They will know how to stage your home to compete.  The Realtor’s purpose is to SELL your home – not to list it and have it sit on the market.

Norman Frenk, author of blog has been in the Houston metro real estate market for 18 years. Norman holds an M.B.A. and is accredited with an I.R.E.S. designation (International Real Estate Specialist).  He works with Prudential Gary Greene Realtors and is consistently To producer and the Top Listing agent in the office

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