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Selling your home is nerve-racking even with plenty of buyers around. Now with fewer people purchasing, it’s understandable when sellers make mistakes out of anxiety to achieve a sale.
A common mistake made by sellers in a slow market is choosing a real estate agent who promises the world but ends up underdelivering. Another is getting caught in a waiting game by over-estimating the property selling price. Here we look at how to keep a level head by using these five strategies to sell in a slow market.
1. Find a realistic price point
View your home through the eyes of the current market, not your own. Your attachment to your home can cloud your judgement, causing you to hold on to unrealistic expectations about its worth.
Pricing your property higher than the average runs the risk of turning buyers away. In a slow market, buyers may simply ignore the listings that fail to offer good value, which means they’ll never even make it to the open house to see the merits of your property.
For a rough guide to what your home might be worth, look at what similar properties in your area have recently sold for. Note the features and amenities of these homes and adjust your price guide up or down according to how yours compares.
The supply and demand in your area will also influence the selling price, so be guided by the advice of a reputable real estate agent.
2. Choose your selling agent wisely
A better strategy might be to negotiate an incentive commission structure with your agent.
When you appoint a real estate agent based on the usual practice of a flat commission structure, there is little incentive for the agent to work hard to achieve the highest possible price for your home. Instead, the temptation is to sell your property as quickly as possible in order to move on to the next sale.
A better strategy might be to negotiate an incentive commission structure with your agent. For example, you could offer to pay a reduced percentage commission if your property sells within a pre-agreed range, but if the property sells at a higher price, the percentage commission increases.
Self-selling is another option for avoiding a hefty commission, but you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons carefully. In a slow market, you might benefit from a real estate agent working on your behalf if they are skilled at driving a sale and negotiating a better price. To make sure you pick an agent with these skills, ask them for anecdotal evidence of how they’ve closed previous deals and then observe how they negotiate with you to try and secure your business.
Make it clear in advance of choosing an agent, that you don’t want the sale of your home delegated to a junior agent. Also, be wary of agents who overestimate your property’s value to secure your listing. Ask for evidence of what they are basing their price on.
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3. Show your home in the best light
Give your home the winning edge by being conscious of its appearance throughout the selling campaign.
Little details count, such as having your home photographed at a time of day that flatters its best features or keeping its front aspect tidy to impress potential buyers who are driving by. If you live in a busy area where parking is a problem, try and schedule your open home inspections during the quietest times of the day.
First impressions last, so it’s common sense to clean, tidy and declutter when preparing your home for inspection. Go the next step and make your home stand out by putting some money towards repairs, maintenance and styling.
The trick is not to overspend by fixing everything. Instead make a list by order of importance concerning what potential buyers will notice and care about, such as peeling paint, worn floorboards or daggy carpet. If your furniture is dated or your style is anything but neutral, bringing in a home stylist will help buyers believe they can move in immediately without doing any work, improving your chances of a sale.
4. Ask for feedback
Step back from your emotional attachment to your home and ask your friends and family for their honest reviews. Get them to tell you what they think of its presentation, what they suggest you improve and would they pay this price themselves? Make it clear you want warts and all feedback because you’re looking at the sale of your property as a business proposition.
5. Don’t knock early buyers
It’s hard to accept the first offer on your home because it’s human nature to wonder whether there’s a better offer just around the corner. However, in a slow market, the first offer may be your best or only offer.
If you’ve followed strategy #1 & 2, you shouldn’t doubt the merits of quick action because your property price is realistic, and your agent is skilled at negotiating. After all, the longer a property stays on the market, the more suspicious buyers become of why it hasn’t sold.