As of this writing, sellers have regained SOME control in the central Ohio market, but this could be a “false flag” if rumors of “shadow inventory” prove to be true. Selection seems to be decreasing which puts sellers in a better position to demand a higher selling price but there is speculation that Fannie, Freddie, HUD and some banks are holding back foreclosed properties. It is my opinion that if we see an upturn in the market and the corporate owners decide to flood the market with foreclosed homes, prices will plummet again. As a counter measure to lower inventory and higher selling prices – good things for sellers- we are seeing an increase in mortgage interest rates. Think about this: 1% Rate Change = 10.75% Purchasing Power Change. Therefore, if you are thinking about selling your home, think and act soon!
- How do you make your home more appealing?
- Curb appeal! When people drive by, give them something to see. Keep the lawn maintained, plant flowers, make sure the paint looks good, siding has no problems and gutters are secured properly and clear of debris.
- Consider adding a home/gas line warranty to your listing. This shows potential buyers that you are confident in the condition of your home and it gives them a sense of automatic security. Especially with first-time buyers, this is a VERY intimidating process. The more peace of mind they have, the better.
- Make your home available! If you are going to list it for sale, people are going to come see it. They wont always warn you three days in advance. Sometimes they may call their agent while sitting in front of your house because they were driving around the neighborhood. while you can’t always allow a showing at the last minute, try to be prepared. This can happen and the people you don’t have time for may have been the people that wrote the offer that made you happy.
- REMEMBER your home is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it! Any competent Realtor is going to be able to show you a history of your area, current listings, comparable sales, etc., but that is no guarantee of the eventual selling price of your home. Recently, I had a home that was owned by the sons of a woman that had passed away. She built it new for $129,000.00. They wanted to list at $130,000.00. I told them they needed to be much closer to the $100,000.00 mark because the market had declined significantly in the last few years. I got them to reduce to $115,000.00 but I told them they were still $15,000.00 too high and that IF we got an offer, they needed to SERIOUSLY consider it. The listing expired, they listed with another agent, the home sold in 53 days for…. $101,000.00! The lesson here is: LISTEN TO YOUR REALTOR.
- Consider paying the buyer’s closing costs or offering some other incentive to make your property the property they buy. You CAN NOT give them money or pay their down payment. The rules about incentives are very clear. There ARE things that are incentives that are legal unless they become “inducements” to purchase. Your listing agent will (should) be able to tell you what is and is not allowed.
- What do you need to know about being a seller?
- ASK QUESTIONS! Have your agent give you an “Agent Copy” of your MLS listing. Too many times I see listings that have remarks that rave about the interior of the home and yet, there is only one picture of the home and that is an exterior shot. I have seen listings where the exterior shot was taken from the county auditor website, complete with identifying digits below the picture. If your home is a showplace, there should be pictures in MLS to entice buyers to want to see more.
- IF YOUR HOME IS VACANT, don’t let it LOOK vacant. Buy timers and place lamps throughout the home on staggered schedules. Buy an old b/w TV at a yard sale and put it in a bedroom so it looks like someone is in the bedroom at night watching TV when the light goes off. Keep window coverings in place. Keep the lawn mowed. Make sure there are no newspapers piled on the porch, junk mail overflowing the mailbox, trash in the yeard, etc., which brings me to my next point…
- SERIOUSLY, consider using an agent that is in and that knows your community. Listing a $70,000.00 Columbus Hilltop home with a “big name” agent that lives in New Albany and has offices in Worthington, that never comes to the Hilltop community and has a sales history that shows their average transaction selling price is $210,000.00 is a common occurrence. Does it make sense? Not to me. How often is that agent going to come by the house just to check on things? In fairness, the negative is not ALWAYS the case. I know one Realtor that does a great deal of listing in a community where he used to live. He has moved 40 miles away BUT he still comes into the community on a very regular basis and he services his clients well. It can be done, but he is more the exception than the rule. While I am licensed in the STATE of Ohio, and I can do business anywhere in the state, I won’t be listing anything in Portsmouth. It’s not just a matter of putting a sign in a yard, it is a matter of SERVICING the needs of my clients. For the most part, except in extenuating circumstances, my signs will be seen in 43204, 43223, 43228, 43119, 43026, 43123 and occasionally in 43146.
- DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. I’m sure you love your canary walls and your forest green carpet, but not everyone will. If I suggest “toning it down”, it’s because my job is to give you the best advice I can give you to get you to your goal of selling your home. Likewise, if someone looks at your home is they give us feedback indicating that they didn’t like something, remember, taste is subjective. A home that has neutral colors is like a blank canvas and each artist can paint the portrait they wish to paint.
- This is a delicate matter: RELIGIOUS material is best kept to a minimum. We live in a society that is offended by something at every turn. Each person has the right to believe or not believe as they choose. Religion is a very strong and very personal motivator for many people. You don’t want to give anyone a reason to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome when they are looking at your home. Potential buyers need to be able to see THEIR lives in that house, on that street, in that neighborhood.
- PETS are part of the family in most cases but when a house is being shown, unless it is impossible to accomplish, they should be gone. Making a decision as important as buying a home is difficult and it is more-so with Spot barking from his kitchen cage. Sometimes, in peace and quiet, surrounded by the house they think is perfect, people have been known to sit down at the kitchen table with their agent and write an offer on the spot. Wouldn’t that be great?
- GET LOST, just like your pet. If a buyer is walking through your home, they want to be able to speak freely about their thoughts and observations. they want to be able to ask questions of their Realtor. they want to speak openly to their partner about the hideous tile in the bathroom. Your presence makes that impossible, makes them uncomfortable and creates a scenario that has them leaving the house with a bad memory. When your home is being shown, you should really be elsewhere.
- LITTLE THINGS can mean a great deal. On a hot, summer night when a buyer comes to see your home, imagine them being greeted by cold bottles of water or a pitcher of lemonade on the kitchen counter with a little note that says “Thank you for considering my home! Please enjoy a refreshment.” First impressions…
- Can I reduce my listing commission?
No. Please understand this: When (and IF) I list a home, I do so in the belief that I can SELL that home. I am going to take money from my pocket to pay for advertising, mailing, emailing flyers to agents, etc., all in advance of a closing, all in speculation that the home will sell and that the commission paid to me will be enough to cover my expenses and give me a profit. My expenditures are an INVESTMENT and investments are made to create profit. IF I WERE TO REDUCE MY COMMISSION while still spending money as if I had not, I wouldn’t be very bright and you probably wouldn’t want me as your Realtor.