5 Ways to SHIFT your Home Selling Practice
There’s no doubt that the ever shifting real estate market is in a downward shift from being a seller’s market, to being a more neutral seller’s market. Thank God! Any experienced real estate professional can share stories of the insanity we’ve seen in the past 3 years. What once was a problem for buyer’s in some of the hottest areas in St. Louis suddenly became the norm throughout the St. Louis area.
So despite all the fear mongering about real estate, we’re still in a housing shortage, and home ownership is still more affordable than buying. Seller’s have nothing to fear IF they go about selling smartly. The problem with that is that most seller’s don’t understand how to sell smartly.
1. HIRE an Experienced PROFESSIONAL
Hire a Realtor based on their experience, skills and abilities. Conversely, we hear this type of logic all the time: “we knew our sisters’ friend was a Realtor so we just used her.” We call that ‘Gifting the job.’ If a human resources directors used the same logic when they reported to the company president, they’d be fired.
Confusion about how to hire a professional stems from people thinking all Realtors are alike, and not knowing how to identify between experienced professionals. Most Realtors work part-time and many provide limited service and spend less money on things like advertising and less time on things like contacting agents and buyers about your property. Seller should research and look for evidence of a full time, experienced professional. Christopher Reichert, CEO of Stifel Bank put it this way, “now, more than ever, your clients need the guidance of an experienced professional (Realtor).”
Bottom line: make a Realtor earn your trust & the opportunity! Don’t gift your listing!
2. Benefiting from Wisdom
Now that you’ve hired an experienced professional, it helps to use their experience and knowledge of real estate for your benefit. I’ve found it distubingly amusing when someone hires a Realtor to guide them, but want’s to argue about or disregard the guidance without exploring the logistics. Obviously the seller is always in charge regarding what they want to do. Sellers’ should do what they think is best, but before a suggestion is ruled out, find out the cost / benefit and why a professional is suggesting it. Ask questions! An experienced Realtor will be able to share experience and explain how their ideas will impact your sale. Things that seem costly, frivoulous, and unnecessary could help your home sell for more. There also could be options that make things easier for you.
Bottom Line: Use their experience to your benefit.
3. Prepare for a Target Buyer
The ultimate goal for home sellers’ is to get the most money. Experienced Realtors can usually determine the type of person a home would be appealing to (target buyer), and what is needed to prepare the home for that buyer.
In the past few years, younger buyers in the market have been paying more than other buyers, and they like homes move-in ready, walls painted with modern colors, and staged! Staging is the placement of furniture and decor with appropriate items so your home looks better. Staged homes can be done by a professional stager, who is usually and interior decorator. It cost money, but always pays off. Staged homes look better, especially in the pictures a listing agent uses to attract buyers online. Seller’s sometimes balk, and its usually because they don’t want to spend the money, they don’t see the return on investment, or they want the home the style THEY like it. Sometimes older people have homes that look like an old persons home, and don’t understand that some paint ,new fixtures and staging could transform it to a target buyer’s ideal home!
Often times stagers don’t require any money up front, but at closing. Disregarding the ideal home buyer means less $$ for the seller and more days on market for your home.
Bottom Line: Make the home attractive to buyers, not yourself!
4. Price AT Market Value
As the market shifts, homeowners looking to sell must realize that they are competing against other listings more than they were in the past. We’ve found that, with the advent of the internet, home buyers have more information at their finger tips than they did 30 years ago when it was more common to list high, then reduce as needed. Buyer’s are aware of things like Days on Market (DOM) than they were, and have access to other homes and their photos. Over pricing a home means that home buyers that look at your home won’t like it. They’ll find something that’s a better value. Buyer’s that like your home won’t look at it because its overpriced or outside of their price range. (old Realtor adage: looker’s won’t like, and liker’s won’t look). Additionally, the best price is almost always paid when a listing is new. Think of bannanas, after a few weeks interest is less and the price often reflects that.
In the world of real estate, the value of a home is not established by the seller, listing agent or even appraiser; those are all estimates. The actual value is determined by how much a buyer is willing to pay. The buyer determines the price. Finding the right price is something a Realtor is most skilled at, but even a Realtor can’t know for sure how the buyer’s in the market today will respond. Despite the shift, multiple offers are still happening and buyers pay more, but you HAVE to price it right!
Bottom Line: Conservative pricing means more buyers sooner!
5. Fix it First!
Homeowners often say things like, “I want to sell it ‘as-is’, then the buyer can do with it what they want.”
Putting off home repairs in hopes that they aren’t discovered can backfire. So can trying to sell “as is”. An experienced Realtor is more likely to bring a buyer, and they are likely to recognize the need for repairs on broken or badly worn items. Inspectors occasionally scare buyers when they encounter required repairs. Buyers see things and wonder if the home will be a money pit. As any experienced Realtor, and they have lots of stories about buyers walking away, not making an offer, and contractors charging more for urgent repairs that take place when the home is under contract. Sometimes a pre-inspection is recommended.
Updates should also be done so that the first buyers first impression is favorable. When sellers take the ‘wait and see’ approach, the listing might already benefit from the repair AND a price drop.
Bottom Line: Plan for success, not failure!
True wisdom comes from experiences. Experienced Realtors that sell homes every day know what will make sellers the most money and are hired to benefit you the most! The market is ever changing, which means buyers wants, needs, and expectiations are different than they were when you bought, even if it was last year! People working in the field keep up with trends and share them for the sellers benefit.
For help finding the right listing agent, visit us online and set up an interview!
St Louis real estate is our specialty! If you want to net the most money when you sell, anywhere in the St Louis, MO area, call us for a no obligation assessment! We work throughout the metro area, especially in Sunset Hills, Crestwood, St Louis City, St Louis County, Ballwin, Chesterfield, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, St Charles,or one of the other areas we serve, simply click the “How-To Find my listing agent” link at the top or bottom of this page to begin the selling process now. Buying and selling, check out our home buyer blog or home buying page!