The problem of a huge supply of bank/govt owned properties on the market is improving. For three years we have been saying, “get these off the market and sales plus values will increase”. Well, we are now seeing signs of hope. Go to the FNMA website, homepath.com, enter any zip code and you will see many that are ‘under contract’. In fact, closings are increasing, multiple bids are the norm and inventory is shrinking. There is fear that many more properties are in the pipeline to be sold later this year, but we think those will come out at higher asking prices.
Archive for February, 2012
Warren Buffett this week in an interview, “I’d Buy Up Single-Family Homes If I Could”. He says single-family homes are a very attractive investment right now and he’d buy up single family homes if it were practical to do so. Full Story:
As the seller, you need to make it as easy as possible for the buyer. That means, ‘Think like the buyer’ and anticipate any hurtles. Have you house look good from the road, the interior, market on the Internet and have sale process all lined up. Spring/summer is the best time, with the most buyers, so be ready and prepared.
The final result is that you will have a signed Purchase Agreement, earnest money deposit, closing attorney/title company. So, prior to negotiating with a potential buyer, have all of these items ready. In most states a closing attorney or title company is used. Contact the one used when you bought your property. They will guide you through the process and advise you of any state/local requirements. They normally will also hold the deposit. My experience in selling ‘by owner’ is that you get to a point where the buyer is ready to talk to you about buying but does not know where to start. The seller needs to be ready for this and make it easy for the buyer to state their offer and terms.
Internet, signage, brochures, word of mouth, Open House, newspaper, flyer’s, mailers, and more Internet. If just one form of marketing worked, then that’s all sellers would have to do. But you need as much as possible. For several years now, 90% of all buyers go to the Internet first, so concentrate here. Get on as many websites as possible with as many photos as possible. Don’t be surprised when agents trying to list your property start contacting you, that is what they do for a living. Second, it is proven that the more professional sign you use the more serious the buyer will think you are and the higher price you will receive. Getting a generic sign from the local hardware store rarely works. Smart phones allow buyers driving by to immediately access your listing online, if you have the web address on the sign. FSBO.com really helps in this area. Professional, color brochures help those without a smart phone. The other ideas are based on your time and budget.
First, with a multi level house, always take buyers upstairs first and work your way down. Second, don’t tell them how great each room is, instead ‘ask’ what they think. With their answer you can now over come any objections they may have. Questions such as: Will your furniture fit? Can you see your belongings in this room? Will your family enjoy this area? In different rooms ask: Where would you put your TV, bed, kitchen table, etc? Get buyer to visualize living in your property. Assume this is the house for the buyer, just overcome their objections and you can make the sale.
Seller needs to find out two things immediately: Buyers financial capability and urgency. First thing is to find out if buyer has spoken with a mortgage company, find out who is the company and do they have a Pre-Qualification letter to give you. Second, urgency, do they have another house to sell first, are they able to move immediately, what date do they need to move in. Before showing your property you need to know these basic items.
You are selling a ‘house’ not your ‘home’. “Let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Prepare your house for the new owner. The new owner wants to envision their furniture, their family photos, their personal belongings in the house. Your personal affects distract the buyer from doing this. Remove all personal artifacts. Eventually you will have to box up all of your belongings and move, so do it before potential buyers look at your house. De-Clutter each room. The less furniture in each room makes them look bigger and your house a better value! Remember, think like the buyer!
What is your property worth? The seller, the buyer, the tax assessor, online websites, an appraiser, a local agent and your neighbors all have a different opinion. It is up to the seller to justify and prove the asking price. ‘Think like the buyer’, first thing the buyer does is go online to investigate. They go to Zillow.com, the county tax assessor, real estate websites with other properties for sale. The seller needs to ‘claim’ your property at Zillow.com and make corrections. Plus either have a local agent do a Market Analysis for you or pay an appraiser to do an appraisal. The buyer needs to see in writing how you came up with your price.
‘Think like the buyer thinks’ will be a common theme for your selling tips. First thing, most of the value in your real estate is in the actual building. It is not in the land, landscape, backyard, etc. It is the building that the buyer wants to see first. Go out to the road with a camera and take a picture of your house. Study it, as this is what gives the buyer their ‘first impression’. Can they see the house, all of the house? What do they see? Is the house blocked by overgrown vegetation or tree limbs? Is your view distracted by cars in the drive, open garage doors, toys or bicycles? Does your house need paint or gutter repair? The buyer has many properties to look at and they are looking for a reason to cross your property off their list. Look at the picture and make changes.