The two most important questions that home sellers want to know the answer to are “How much is my house worth?” and “How long will it take to sell my house?”. Many people will base the answer to these questions off of their neighbor’s recent experience selling their home.
If your neighbor’s house recently took 6 months to sell, then it seems likely that your house may take 6 months to sell as well, right? Not necessarily. There are numerous factors that determine how quickly a home will sell.
Sometimes it can take a long time to sell a home because the neighborhood is far from town and there are fewer buyers in the area. Under these circumstances, you may be correct in assuming that your house will take a while to sell. For people who live within city limits where homes sell every day, the days on the market for your neighborhood will usually vary slightly, based on each individual property.
As I will cover in this blog post, there are 4 major factors that determine the resale performance of a home: Price, Location, Condition, and Marketing. You can't change the location of a home, but you can change the other 3 factors.
My first 3 tips cover the best ways to present a home for sale in order to amplify it’s condition and sell it at it’s highest possible value. The 4th point covers marketing tricks to help you receive added visibility when listing your house for sale online. The last point will focus mainly on the importance of pricing a home right.
UPDATE YOUR LANDSCAPING
Statistically, buyers will emotionally attach to a home within the first few minutes of a property showing. Since landscaping is the first point of contact for potential home buyers, it is an extremely important part of the buyer’s experience. It's the first impression!
You may have beautiful landscaping already, but it is still important to make it look new again. Adding some new mulch, removing any dead or damaged vegetation, and planting a few bright and colorful flowers can dramatically change the curb appeal of your home.
All of this can be done in a day or two with very minimal cost, depending on the size of your yard. If you have no landscaping at all and you are adding it for the first time, it can be more expensive and take days or weeks to complete, but the end result should be well worth it though.
In order to understand the impact of landscaping, you first have to think like a home shopper. Go online and look for a few homes for sale within your price range and organize them in order of your most favorite. (if you’re looking in Colorado Springs, you can use our website at GreatColoradoHomes.com). Now take the homes at the top of your list and look at the 1st picture of the front of the house.
Do any of the homes in your list need landscaping in the front yard? Probably not. Chances are very high that the homes you chose are well landscaped.
There may be other homes similar to the ones you have chosen that you probably looked right past because the initial picture of the front of the house was unappealing in comparison to the others. This is why you want to have nice landscaping. It immediately amplifies the desirability of your home.
MOVE OUT & STAGE YOUR HOME
This is a tough tip to accept, but it’s the brutal reality of the real estate market. Vacant homes that are staged typically show much better than occupied homes. Vacant staged homes are presented in such a way that buyers can easily see themselves moving into them. A staged home triggers emotions that make people want to stay longer. They somehow feel as though life would be less-stressful by living there.
On the flip side, it’s hard for potential home buyers to visualize their furniture and accessories in a property that is loaded with other people’s stuff. If you have a lot of stuff and your house is constantly being used, the best thing to do is to completely move out. It's a lot of work to move out first, but it will definitely help you sell your home faster than your neighbor's home that is loaded with a ton of personal stuff.
You stand the highest chance of getting a strong offer this way because your property is always accessible for showing and it always looks great. Your house will look larger with minimal furniture in it as well. Vacant/staged homes appear much larger than occupied homes because they utilize space better.
If moving out is not an option, then you might want to rent a storage unit and move as much stuff out of your home as possible. Remove as many personal pictures, decorations, bookshelves, and personal items as you can possibly stand to live without for the time that your house is listed for sale. Since you plan on moving anyway, this is work that will have to be done at some point, regardless. You might as well do it at the start of the home selling process and reap the benefits of having a beautifully shown home.
With your home in staged condition, buyers can picture themselves living in your home and are more likely to consider purchasing it. When I show homes, I notice that buyers consistently feel more attached to properties that are vacant with minimal staging.
ADD NEW PAINT & FLOORING
If you have to ask the question, “Should we add new paint and/or change those floors?”, then the answer is most likely “Yes”. When you live in a home and walk on the same floors every day, it’s easy to feel as though those floors are good enough, but you really need to compare them to the other homes on the market.
If other properties in your price range are offering new flooring and paint, then your house is going to highlight the fact that those homes are better than yours and you will be helping to sell those properties. I always say there are two types of homes on the market: homes that sell, and homes that sell the other homes. Your home will sit on the market until there are no other properties available with new paint and floors. It’s just the nature of the business.
If your carpet is more than 3 years old and you can afford to change the carpet, I highly suggest doing it. If your wood floors are more than 5 years old and they have never been refinished, I would suggest refinishing or replacing them. It’s important to look at upgrades in terms of percentage to the overall price of the home.
In Colorado Springs, the average home price is around $350,000. New flooring usually cost around $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the size of the home and type of floor installed. (New flooring can easily cost $40,000+ if you go with the most expensive materials, but we’re talking about basic flooring here.) That means the cost of new flooring is a small percentage of the overall price of the home. However, the impact of new flooring is HUGE.
Home buyers will say that they are willing to put new floors into a house, but when it comes right down to it, most of them will choose a home with floors that they like already installed. It's harder to emotionally attach to a home that needs work. Market your home with new floors and fresh neutral paint and watch it sell fast!
HIRE A REALTOR WITH MARKETING
A good Realtor with great marketing will know how to get the most out of your home's online listing. Every year, there are more digital tools to choose from. Hire a Realtor who knows how to use these new digital tools to sell your home faster than your neighbors.
A professional video walk-through is one of the most powerful selling tools. I have had buyers sit at the closing table and tell me that the video walk-through was the #1 thing that sold them on the property that I listed. They watch it over and over again. After looking at many homes and then going back and revisiting their potential properties online, good video walk-throughs will resell the home to the buyers every time they watch it.
You can add descriptive text and highlight important features and basically sell the home to the buyers before they ever even see it in person. Since most listings do not have good video walk-throughs, your listing will stand out over and above the other listings online.
Here's an example of a good video walk-through. Notice how certain features are highlighted in a way that photos alone could never accomplish.
A good video walk-through will consist of beautiful video footage using high-quality cameras and possibly drones. The video should be used to advertise the best parts of the home and highlight things that may not be instantly obvious. A good video can sell a home more than any other form of marketing.
If you would like to take the marketing of your home one step farther, you can have a professional 3D Tour created for your home to go with your video. This allows home buyers to virtually walk through your home online. Some people may view your 3D tour and realize that the layout of your home is not great for them. This cuts down on showings of your home to people who are not going to buy it. It can also reveal positive attributes that are hard to capture in video and photos. Overall, it gives more information to potential buyers, allowing them to spend more time considering your home. Here's an example of a 3D Tour from the home in the video above.
Once you have both of these forms of marketing created, it's important to utilize them to their fullest potential so that everyone can find them and watch them. The best way to do this is to place both the video and 3D Tour into a separate landing page for your property. Here's an example of our landing page from the property above: Example of Property Landing Page
You'll need to have your Realtor link the landing page of your listing to the Virtual Tour section of your local MLS. This will cause it to show up on every website out there. Then, you'll want your Realtor to put a sentence at the beginning of your listing description to point everyone to your fancy Virtual Tour page. We usually post something like: SEE VIRTUAL TOUR FOR VIDEO & 3D WALKTHROUGH. It helps everyone know that your listing has extra content that is much better than the average listing. This is a pro move that will help sell your house faster than your neighbors.
PRICE IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME
I’ve saved the most important tip for last. Any seasoned Realtor will tell you that there are four things that sell homes: Price, Location, Condition, and Marketing. Of those 4 points, PRICE is the most critical. People will look past condition and location if the price is right. People will also look right past your entire property listing if the price is wrong.
The real estate market is always under pressure from both the buyer and seller’s expectations. Buyers want a deal, and sellers want more than their home is worth. This is the tension that makes the real estate market so interesting to so many people.
Pricing your home right and offering something that other homes in your price range do not offer is a strategy that finds much greater success in securing a higher offer. The "non-strategy" of simply pricing way above market value and waiting to see what happens is a terrible idea.
Home buyers want a special deal, so you and your Realtor should come up with a plan to give them that special deal in order to sell fast.
Don’t base your sales price off of other listings that are currently active and have been on the market for a while. Many of those listings are over-priced, which is why they are stuck on the market.
You should base your home's price ONLY off of what has recently sold. Realtors call these sold properties "comps" or "comparables". These are proven sales that have actually happened. Try to remain objective in comparing the condition of your home with the condition of the recently sold properties. These properties are a gold mine of info to help you determine what to list your home at. A good Realtor will walk you through them and show you what they reveal about your home.
Very commonly sellers are able to dismiss the flaws in their home, but not those of their competition. If your home is honestly as nice as the properties that have recently sold, it would be wise to list your home close to the sold price per square foot of the similar sold properties. Adjust your asking price based off of the amenities of your property in comparison with the previous sold homes. This is your most accurate price range.
Selling a home super fast is challenging, but with the right strategy and tools it is very possible and financially rewarding. Always be sure to choose a great Realtor to help through each one of these steps and the many more steps that are required to complete the entire transaction. They will be your advocate and guide throughout the entire process.
Hi! I'm Andrew Fortune, the founder of Great Colorado Homes and the creator of much of the content on this website. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to share this article with someone who might benefit from it. I appreciate your time here on this site and am always open to suggestions and ideas from our readers. Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.
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