Getting the most money for your home is the goal when you decide to list your house for sale. Multiple elements contribute to the overall value of a piece of property – some of which you can influence, and some of which are subject to market trends. When it’s all said and done, the success of the sale of your home will depend largely on how well you put together a marketing strategy. Here’s a guide to marketing your house for sale.
The Price is Right | Attracting the Qualified Audience
Pricing your home correctly and competitively from the beginning is an essential element in marketing your home for sale. The price packs a powerful punch on multiple levels.
The Search: Home buyers shop for houses within a price range, particularly when searching for properties online. A shopper with a budget of $300,000 is likely going to explore between $200,000 and $300,000, but eye-spy the numbers in the $250 range. If your home has a value of $200,000, but you priced it to sell at $199,999 to give the impression of a special or a lower price, your house won’t even appear in a search conducted with the criteria of $200,000-$300,000. You priced yourself out of your desired audience. On that same token, if someone was shopping homes between $100,000 and $200,000, you’ve priced yourself at the highest point of their search and their budget. In other words, that one tiny error could price you out of both of your target audiences.
The Competition: When a search query produces results, the buyer is then looking at a list of houses that have the right number of bedrooms, the correct number of bathrooms, nearby, and similarly priced. That buyer now has the idea of competing properties and can begin to size them up against each other. If you’ve priced your house for sale at $250,000, you’ll want to make sure your home is equal to or better in quality than other properties priced at that same price point in your area. Ask yourself, why would a buyer choose your house for sale over your neighbor’s house for sale if they were similar houses in the same neighborhood at the same price?
The Reputation: The moment you list your house for sale on the market, you tap into an existing pool of buyers. That current pool of buyers are the people who have recently been or who just actively started shopping for properties. This longevity means those buyers become familiar with real estate that matches their criteria. As they rule out homes from their list, buyers remember. The longer your house is on the market without selling, the more recognizable it is to the current pool of buyers. The more time that goes by, the more those buyers begin to ask themselves why that house isn’t selling. How come that house is still available? What’s wrong with it? And that “what’s wrong with it” question becomes a stigma, a bad reputation that the house is unsellable. Your only option at that point is to pull the house from the market and allow the current pool of buyers to clear the market. When a new group of buyers is available who are unfamiliar with the property, you can re-list it at a more competitive price and try again.
It’s vital that you get the price right from the start. Your real estate agent can offer valuable assistance when it comes to instant home valuations and listing appraisals. So, talk with your real estate agent to get the best advice when moving forward.
Inspection and Appraisal
During the real estate transaction, after you’ve accepted an offer from a buyer, the buyer’s lender is going to require an inspection and an appraisal, both of which closing costs encompass, that are most often paid by the buyer, meaning there’s no cost to you. That’s important to note because as part of your marketing strategy, you may opt to order an independent inspection and appraisal to help in determining the value of your home, and in discovering ways you can increase the value of your property. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use the independent evaluations that you order to aid your efforts in marketing your house for sale as official reports for the buyer’s lender. The inspection and appraisal will have no value to anyone other than you, but they’ll have benefit to you.
The inspection can help reveal any problem areas with your house that may be discovered later by the formal examination. If an official analysis shows a problem, the buyer has the right to negotiate a lower price to allow for repairs, or request that you make repairs before closing which could delay the process. By having the inspection ahead of time, you eliminate potential unpleasant surprises and add confidence to your pricing strategy because you know you’re charging for property that’s in excellent condition.
The appraiser inspects the property as well as reviewing public records documents about your house for the sole purpose of determining the fair market value. The appraiser can also help you discover ways to increase the worth of your home by highlighting areas that deduct from the home’s value. Examples of items that could reduce the home’s value are torn window screens, rusty door knobs, and locks, cracked electrical socket covers, etc. For a few bucks and a few hours, you can wipe out items from the appraiser’s list that could equate to hundreds of dollars. Appraisers assess in $500 increments, so a collection of objects totaling $150 to repair could have reduced the home’s worth by $500.
You can’t use the reports in the transaction, but there’s no harm in having them printed and neatly displayed so buyers touring the property can see that you’ve taken the time to do your homework and prepare the property for sale, so they’re great marketing tools.
Staging Your House for Sale
To stage your home for sale is the same concept of putting your money where your mouth is. Through the art and science of staging, you’re conditioning the property in such a way that potential buyers can see the attractive features and selling points of the home, offering intrigue and inviting a desire to explore the possibilities further.
The term staging involves decluttering, organizing, cleaning, arranging, and decorating the structure, furniture, and design elements to dress the home for success in showings. You can prepare your home yourself, or you can outsource the tasks in part or entirely. To stage your house is to get it ready for a blind date with what might be its new owner. Your job is to dress your home in charm, so it flirts with the buyer enough to provoke an offer.
The exterior of the home is also included in staging because it encompasses curb appeal. Curb appeal is responsible for the first impression a buyer has when they physically visit your property. Their instinctive reaction is either of excitement to see more, or hesitation of what they might find.
The Story That Your House Tells | Word-Weaving Your Listing
You have one chance to use a few short sentences to describe your home’s best-selling points to a potential buyer.
When you’re browsing for houses sale, you’ll see a lot of words like cute, charming, quaint, adorable. These words are empty; they hold no power. They say nothing of the home. Use your words wisely and describe what features buyers want. Replace quaint with the word brick. Swap out cute with yellow. Take away charming and sub with renovated.
The words you choose not only serve a purpose with the buyers who are comparing properties, but they also trigger search results when you use your property descriptions with keyword emphasis.
Professional Photography and Videography
Technology has allowed for buyers to pre-shop; they can browse properties online and take a look around. If they don’t like what they see in the digital line up, they rule a house out and move on. If your listing doesn’t have the right verbiage, pictures, and videos, you may never attract that buyer to your open house.
Pictures are the most popular part of a listing. Buyers want to see. They’re looking for eye-candy. If your photos don’t do your property justice, you’ll lose their interest.
Smartphones have great cameras, and it’s not difficult to access a DSLR camera. But having the tools and knowing how to use them for a specific result is not the same. Experience leads to tips, tricks, techniques, and things you’d never think of regarding angle, lighting, and editing.
Hire a professional photographer and a professional videographer with experience in creating virtual slideshows and tours of houses for sale. You’ll invest a few hundred dollars up front for the service, but you’ll most likely recoup that and then some in the long run.
Up the ante and deliver the wow-factor by including a video tour of your neighborhood so buyers can explore the local resources for schools, parks, climate, public transportation, restaurants, shops, and recreation.
Your Real Estate Agent’s Marketing Know-How
Your real estate agent will present you with a marketing plan of their own – one that likely includes the points of pricing, inspections and appraisals, and staging.
Your agent will help you price the house, and will then list your property in the MLS, the Multiple Listing Service, a shared database real estate agents use to share information about homes, but to which the public has access when conducting Internet searches of properties.
Most real estate agents can create a property page on their website to feature your home’s description, features, price, image gallery, and virtual tours.
Your agent also has a database of potential buyers whose criteria may match the home you’re selling. In these situations, your agent will email his or her database to notify qualified buyers about your listing.
Although it may seem old school, your agent will still put the traditional “for sale” sign in the yard along with contact information.
Your agent may also choose to send postcards, flyers, post to social media, and host open houses.
Talk with your real estate agent at length to understand their marketing plan for your property, and ask what you can do to help.
Just because your agent has intentions of sharing your property on social media doesn’t mean you can’t, too! Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social networks to share the word about your house for sale. Use the link back to the property page your real estate agent created on their website.
But it’s more than social networks. Talk with the neighbors. They might love to hand-pick who gets to move in next door. Tell your co-workers, your team-mates, your congregation. Even if no one you know is interested in purchasing your house, you never know who they might know that is looking for a home to buy that’s just like yours.
Selling a house is not as simple as hiring a real estate agent and then washing your hands of the ordeal. On the contrary, you’ve got to be hands-on in the process of preparing your house for sale, pricing the house competitively, staging the property so that it’s drawing in the right buyers, and marketing the home to the qualified audience. Although it’s true that quality housing that shows attractively and has an attractive price will sell itself, it’s still an excellent idea to empower yourself with a solid marketing plan for promoting your house for sale. The better job you and your real estate agent to at marketing your home, the faster the house will sell, and for the highest price.
Call The Wright Choice Team today at 804-307-2589 to tour available homes for sale in the Chesterfield County area.