Did you know that despite being a Seller in a Sellers Market, there are things you can (and should) do to ensure you get top dollar and have the smoothest transaction? Let’s talk about that right now!
If we haven’t met, my name is Emily Berdon and I’m a residential Realtor servicing the Conejo Valley and surrounding areas … but these tips are good for just about anywhere.
#1 GET YOUR OWN INSPECTION DONE
Me: “Get your own inspection done before listing your house!”
Seller: “Wait … what?? Why would I want to pay a few hundred dollars for this when the buyer is going to get an inspection done anyway?? Besides, I know EVERYTHING about my house, and there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Me: “Sorry, hate to break the news to you, but EVERY inspection finds something wrong with a house that the owner didn’t already know about … pretty much without exception.”
Seller: “Still, what’s the point??”
Me: “Ok, check this out – YOU will find out what’s wrong with your house ahead of listing the house, and YOU will choose to repair what you want, and then let potential buyers know what hasn’t been fixed yet before they make an offer.”
Seller: “WAIT – you want me to TELL a buyer what’s WRONG with my house?? That’s nuts.”
Me: “Ha, Sounds like it, right? But here’s why it’s NOT nuts – The greatest negotiating tool a buyer has AFTER their offer has been accepted is the inspection report -that’s when they can claim they found out about a bunch of expensive repairs and now they want you to lower the price to offset these costs.”
Me: “BUT what happens when you give all this info up front? It’s already been FACTORED IN to the asking price. That’s right – there are likely no surprises they can use as an excuse to get you to lower the price by thousands of dollars, because it’s all been disclosed up front.”
Seller: “Wow thank you!”
Me: “You’re welcome”
Why bother staging – Sounds like a waste of money, right? If you’re only dealing with investors that are “doing the math”, then you may be right. But for the vast majority of buyers, staging can be the thing that allows them to picture what their life would be like in your house … and makes them fall in love with it.
Homes that are staged sell for up to 5% more money, and sell much faster, according to a National Association of REALTORS® study in 2021. But what if you will be living in your home and you don’t want to move your furniture out just yet? A professional stager can still come in and work with a combination of your own furniture and some additional elements to really make your home “pop”.
In fact, this was MY exact situation when i sold my townhouse – I hired a stager. She rearranged a few things, helped me de-clutter (probably the most important step!), and brought a few new items of decor and plants in to make the place feel like it was right out of a magazine. It almost made me change my mind about selling! So … did it work? Before we could even schedule an open house, we got an offer for more than any other unit had ever sold for in our complex (and it wasn’t even the biggest floorplan!).
#3 PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Professional photography is an absolute must in today’s market. Savvy buyers need to see as much detail as possible in a listing to determine if they want to come see a house in person.
Case in point. I have some friends who bought a home recently and got the house for about 10% under market value because the photos online were so bad. NO ONE was going to see this house in person after seeing the terrible photos online. Because there was no other interest in the property, they were able to negotiate a great deal. This was awesome for the buyers… but sucked for the sellers who missed out on a lot of money in the deal.
#4 VIDEO & DRONE FOOTAGE
A video tour of your home gives buyers a more detailed view than photos alone. It shows a more complete picture of the layout, and allows you to showcase the parts of your home that really deserve some extra attention.
In addition to this tour of the inside of your house, you’ll also want cutting edge drone footage showcasing the exterior of your home as well. This aerial view gives buyers a unique perspective of your home and neighborhood. According to the MLS, homes with aerial footage sold 68% faster than homes without.
#5 MARKETING TIME!
Buyers are best reached where they already are – online. It’s most effective to have a bespoke marketing plan to get your home seen by the masses. There is a direct correlation between the number of people who see your home online and the number who see it in person.
A good digital marketing plan should include running ads on social media, Google, and other online services that reach buyers who are in the market for a home just like yours … and you even extend your reach to buyers who AREN’T looking for a home like yours, but happen to see it online anyway, and decide to come check it out. Sometimes buyers don’t know what they want until they SEE it, so you need to get as many eye balls as possible on your listing.
Once the offers start coming in, strategically responding with counteroffers can drive the price up to the highest possible amount, and effectively achieve the best terms for you. Be sure to ask your Realtor® what their counteroffer strategy is. I personally like the strategy of running counteroffers like a live auction. All parties know what the next highest offer is and it can create a bit of a frenzy and drive the price up (there’s a reason auctions are organized this way – live and “Aware” competition most often fetches the best price)