When you’re trying to sell your home, there are things that you simply can’t change. If you bought in an awkward location, there’s not much you can do about that now. If the plan isn’t as functional/modern as most buyers would prefer, this is something that may cost too much to remedy. You also can’t really control which buyers are in the market at any given time.
However, there are three big items that you can and DO control:
Pricing: This is a biggie. Make sure that you give this part some sincere thought. You and your listing agent don't dictate the market - buyers do. In fact, one definition of market value is the price that a ready, willing, and able buyer will pay for your home.
A solid agent can provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) that should give you a good idea where to begin when pricing your home to sell.
Also, give some thought to where the "breaking points" are with the homebuying audience. In my local market in Austin (and probably elsewhere), $200,000 is one such breaking point. What that means is that there are a lot of buyers looking UP TO $200,000, but NOT over. If you price your home at $202,500, you are hurting your chances of selling. Price it at $200,000 or $199,999 if you want to use the retail psychology trick. Either way, it's a big mistake to go just over one of these breaking points. Your agent should be able to help with this, too.
TIP: If possible, go with your agent to see a couple of the homes that you will be competing with nearby. This will allow you to see what potential buyers are seeing, and it often gives you a much better sense of how your home stacks up.
Condition: As I alluded to above, you probably don't want to spend a fortune remodeling your home, but you do want it to show in the best possible light. Getting good photos, staging, cleaning the carpet, and painting if needed are all inexpensive ways to improve the condition. If you have repairs that you already know are needed, do them now. If buyers notice them, they tend to assume that the home isn't well-maintained. I guess the best advice I can give here is to get your house in the best possible condition with your budget. This WILL make a difference when you're competing with other places.
Agent: I would like to tell you that this is the single most important part of the equation, but it's probably not. Price, condition, and location will largely dictate whether or not you get offers. That being said, if you have an agent who isn't reachable by phone during reasonable hours, or who is unpleasant or difficult to deal with, or who doesn't really make an effort to present your home well, this will hurt you. Additionally, make sure that you really like your agent, because you will likely be spending a good deal of time talking to him/her. Ideally, you want someone who can get you the maximum exposure for your home, and who is reasonably experienced and good with technology (at least the basics). Friendliness and honesty are two characteristics that are critical. You aren't paying your agent to tell you what you want to hear; you're paying him to tell you the truth.
There are a number of other intangibles that are part of the formula for home sales success, but these are the ones that you can affect. "Location, location, location" still applies, but these are probably the next three in line.
Thanks very much for reading!
Photo: Diana Parkhouse Creative Commons 2.0
If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com. Thanks!