CAN'T SELL YOUR HOUSE?
ALREADY REDUCED THE PRICE?
DID SOME STAGING TOO, AND NOTHING IS WORKING?
Here are some tips that may be helpful if you are struggling with this market.
Look at your competition - what else is on the market and how do you compare? Don't just look in your town or neighborhood; look at homes within 5 to 10 miles, because buyers might be seeing all of those other properties in nearby towns.
Forget about what sold last year, especially anything that closed before September of 2008. Those numbers do not reflect the post Lehman Brothers, Madoff, bailout, bubble bursting, mindset -- things have changed. Look at what is under contract NOW, what did those homes have, that your house is missing? Is anything selling in your price range? Are other homes being reduced? Find out more about why other homes have sold and yours did not? At what price did that property start? How long was it on the market? What are the lot size, amenities, taxes and what was the fee offered to the selling agent? Be certain that you stack up to the competing listings.
It goes without saying that you must make your house look inviting from the street, it should smell good inside, have clean and fresh floors, carpets, paint, wallpaper, windows, kitchen, baths, attic and basement. You must have at least 10 (if not 25 or more) hi-resolution, wide-angle photos and be posted on several top real estate websites if you seriously expect any traffic. Floor plans, surveys and details of your home are also important for online buyers. (Did you know that according to the National Association of Realtors, over 85% of all buyers search for homes on the Internet? You must get with that program.)
Keep it fresh. Does the photo of your house have snow on the front and back yard? Get your agent to take a new picture and change the lead image. This may give you a better look. Shoot exterior photos with the sun behind you and a blue sky. Don't shoot a front yard with all blacktop if the driveway is in front. If the front is too difficult to photograph or you can't get a good image, shoot from the back or maybe lead with a picture of a new kitchen or the best room from the inside of the house.
If all of those suggestions have been taken and nothing is happening, you can follow all or some of the following suggestions to increase your odds of selling:
If your taxes seem high - start an appeal. The deadline is April 1st but there is no guarantee you will be successful because you have to prove to the tax assessor that your house is overvalued by a certain percentage, and you need recent comparable sales to make your case. If you do get the assessment lowered, (which could take until August) you may need to convince the buyer that your house is worth more than that number. This can be a double-edged sword.
Instead: Why not offer the buyer a tax credit for one or two years. Offer to pay some portion of the taxes to help offset the carry? You could put $10,000 a year for two years in escrow and that would make your house more affordable if the other homes in this price range have lower taxes.
If you have cut the commission to the selling agent - consider a bonus. Perhaps an increase of a half or a whole percentage point would stimulate more showings. The buyers may not love the idea that their agent is begin incented to make more money if they sell a particular house, but your house could get more showings and more interest if your Broker promotes this bonus.
If you really want to entice the buyer - one seller is offering a free car in the garage upon closing. You may be able to work out a deal at a car dealer to do something similar. It does not have to be a car, but in consideration of a bonus worth $25,000 to $50,000, you could provide a furniture credit, designer gift or perhaps free kitchen cabinets or even a paint job, if you have a connection with someone in that line of business.
Lowering the price is probably the best way to increase your chances of getting your home shown and sold in this 'value driven' economy. If that is not your preference, any or all of these ideas could do the trick. If you do reposition the price, make sure you attract a new audience by choosing a dollar amount that is likely to bring in new buyers. A drop of $10,000 is not enough, and might not put your house on different search parameters of Realtors or web-surfing buyers. Drop down 5 to 10% or $50,000 to $100,000 and make sure the house will find its way onto new computer screens. One of the best ways to select the correct price is to ask your listing agent or poll the local Realtors of what they and their buyers think. Listen to the feedback of people who have seen your home. The more the buyer or agent says your house needs this or that, the more it means your price is too high. Moving a price from $789,000 to $769,000 might not get much results or invite a new group of lookers. List the house on the 50's and the 00's and you are likely to find a new buyer who will search up to $750,000 but not to $800,000 - those in between dollar amounts are not on easily searched on a website with numeric drop down menus.