The real estate market is softening for home sellers. This means homes may not sell for above listing prices as they have been over the past couple of years. They may not sell in record time. There might be things you would fix or not fix in your home before listing it. Buyers are not waiving appraisals and inspections like many were. They are starting to negotiate the listing prices and other contract terms again. Sellers need to consider some strategies that have always been around but weren’t being used much in the past couple of years during the hot seller’s market.
Price Your Home Right
If you are in the market to sell your home, interview real estate agents and have them each prepare a comparative market analysis for you. They should include homes that have recently sold in your immediate area, homes that are currently for sale in your area, and homes that are under contract. They should be comparative homes in regard to square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether or not they have basements, the number of other rooms in the homes, and the like.
Prepare Your Home for Listing
When the market was hot for sellers, homes were flying off the shelves. Many sellers did not have to do too much to their homes to prepare. Now, you should perform a few tasks to prepare your home before you list it for sale. Declutter and start packing. Ask your agent for a few home staging tips or hire a home staging company. Clean your home or hire a professional cleaning company. Have your carpets steam cleaned? Paint a few walls or rooms if they are in need. Replace carpeting in areas or rooms where it is worn or old. These are just a few ideas for preparing your home.
Photos, Videos, and Virtual Tours
Professional quality photos of your home are non-negotiable. Be sure your real estate agent is going to hire a professional real estate photography company. If he is going to take the photos himself, be sure he has a professional-quality camera, good lighting tools, and experience with photo editing software. Video tours are trending right now. Some agents create their own videos and narrate them while walking through homes. Some will hire a professional company to create them. Virtual tours are also popular. Some tour software pans 180 degrees, and some can pan a complete 360 degrees around rooms. Drone photos and videos are a nice touch as well. These photos, videos, virtual tours, and drone pieces can be uploaded right onto multiple listing services and real estate websites.
Some sellers are now offering their buyers a prepaid home warranty at closing. This is a marketing tool that buyers love. When it was a seller’s market, buyers were purchasing their own home warranties.
Some sellers are even asking their agents to offer buyers bonuses if they sign a contract by a certain day or close by a certain date. It is important to understand that this has to go through brokers and be in the form of a rebate after closing. The sellers pay their listing brokerage extra commission, in the number of bonuses, and the brokerages rebate it to the buyers after closing. It is completely legal for brokerages to give buyers rebates. However, mortgage lenders cannot have this transaction be a part of the closings or on the closing statements.
Another strategy for sellers is to offer their buyers a professional move-in home cleaning. The sellers can pay for it and arrange for it to be completed right after they move out and before the buyers move in.
Some agents still offer an open house as part of their listing services. Some sellers see the advantages, and some do not want strangers walking around their homes while they are out. In recent years, there have been more thefts and crimes occurring at open houses than ever before. It is best to discuss the topic with your real estate agent.
Work with Buyers on Their Home Inspection Requests
When the real estate market was in favor of the sellers, some buyers were actually waiving professional home inspections in order to make their offers more pleasing to sellers. Or, they were having professional inspections performed for their own knowledge only. They were not asking sellers to repair or replace defects. Now, you should be prepared to work with your buyers if your home has any defects or safety hazards. You may have to repair a few issues or offer your buyers a monetary credit at closing. Depending on the issues, the buyer’s mortgage may not be approved unless certain issues are taken care of before closing.
Sellers should strategize with their real estate agents about what they need to do in this softening seller’s market. Real estate markets are different all over the country, so it is important to know your local market.