Today’s buyer-take-all bonanza is a boon for fence-sitters and buyers with great credit and deep pockets. But sellers are steeling themselves to new realities that include paying (rather than making) money at the closing table, providing extras to sweeten the deal, and spending more time and cash making the home camera-ready.
For first-time sellers who have never been through the process before, it’s a different world. One where the value of the house isn’t measured in the profit made on the sale, but by the enjoyment the owners had from living in the home.
Here are three things experienced sellers would tell you, if they could.
Price it realistically from the start
“Your largest number of showings will occur in the first two to three weeks,” says Mark Ramsey, a broker in Charlotte, N.C. One reason: “The (multiple listing service) systems and the Internet tend to drive the majority of showings,” he says. Many buyers are plugged in electronically. So the minute something new pops up that meets their criteria, they want to see it.
Take advantage of that sweet spot by pricing the house competitively right out of the gate, he says.
When first-time sellers James and Emily Foltz put their Oklahoma City home on the market last summer, their agent gave them a comprehensive list of the initial asking prices of nearby homes like theirs, along with the final selling prices. “Some varied by $30,000,” says James Foltz.
It gave them an X-ray of their market.
How you style the price is important. The Foltzes first marketed their home for $155,000. But lowering it to $150,000 meant the listing appeared within the computer search parameters that buyers commonly used in that price range, Foltz says.
The result: A few weeks after the price change, they had a winning offer.