You’re set to buy a new home, but you can’t go ahead with your plans until you find a ready buyer for the home you currently own. With more homes on the market today, how can you make sure yours will outshine the competition? Here are some suggestions:
1. Price. Real estate agents emphasize the importance of pricing your home "to sell," which means at the market price, not a higher speculative price that you merely hope to receive. Market-level pricing is especially important when the supply of comparable for-sale homes in your area exceeds the demand to buy those homes.
2. Condition. Homes that are in great shape typically sell more readily than comparable homes that are in need of repairs or that have out-dated décor. If you’re looking for a quick sale, clean out your clutter, pack up your personal items, neutralize any unusual colors and make any necessary repairs before you put your home on the market.
3. Feedback. Some real estate agents will pass along feedback they’ve received from prospective buyers who’ve seen your home. A specific complaint from one or two individuals might not be material since no home will ever appeal to every buyer. However, a number of similar criticisms from multiple buyers might merit consideration.
4. Competition. If you’re able to figure out why other homes on the market sold before yours did, you might be able to use that information to make your home more attractive to buyers. Tip: Open houses are a great way to check out other homes on the market in your neighborhood.
5. Marketing. Don’t underestimate the importance of Web sites in selling your home. Ask your real estate agent for a list of Web sites on which information about your home will appear. Make sure the information is correct and presents the best features of your home. Photos are important too.
6. Showings. Very few buyers will purchase a home they’ve never stepped inside, and some real estate agents will bypass a home that’s too difficult to show. If you severely limit the days and times when your home is accessible, you may also severely limit the number of people who might choose to buy it.
7. Bonus. Real estate agents disagree on the wisdom of buy-side bonuses, which are extra payments or gifts that reward the agent who finds a buyer for your house. Some agents believe bonuses are effective while others suggest your money would be better spent in additional spiffying-up of your home. Ask your agent for advice.