While I’m finding the market to be a little sluggish overall, I have found a way to sell my listings quicker. I’ve had several in the last few months sell for list price in less than a week! How do I do that? It takes a lot of hard work, preparation and what I call “pre-marketing”.
The first thing I do is I write up a check list of “to dos” for the owners of the house. I like to start at the front yard and it includes weeding and mulching the beds, trimming the landscaping and trees away from the roof. Adding colorful flowers or plants to the bed and a brand new colorful “welcome” mat at the front door. You wouldn’t believe how important that is! Having inviting curb appeal can make the difference between someone calling and setting an appointment to see the house, or just driving by and going on to the next house for sale.
Once the front yard is groomed and ready, I immediately put my real estate “for sale” sign with a big rider sign that says “COMING SOON!” We have not put the house in the MLS yet, but our marketing has begun! The next phase takes a week or so depending on how much needs to be done to the house.
Furniture, pictures and decorations will need to be rearranged or removed and major “de-cluttering” has to happen. The most important areas of focus are closets, bathrooms, kitchen and master bedroom. The house needs to show like a model home. Touch up painting, cleaning carpets, changing lightbulbs and cleaning windows are all a must!
During this pre-marketing preparation time, I am working hard behind the scenes. I send out emails and a picture of the front of the house to everyone on my database which includes clients, friends, Realtors, neighbors, etc. I talk about the new listing “coming up” at the Keller Williams Southwest Market Center weekly meeting in case other agents have clients that might be interested. We put the house on our website under “our listings” with details, a picture and the price.
Another key component to the marketing and sales effort is the price. In this market, houses ARE selling if they are priced competitively and in the best condition. I look at what has sold in the immediate area, of similar size floorplan and age, in the last 3 months to get a feel for what the house will appraise for. This will give you a realistic view of the value of the house.
Aside from houses that have sold, what is most important right now, in the current market, is the competition in the the neighborhood and surrounding area. What are similar houses listed for RIGHT NOW? What is the condition of those homes? How does my new listing compare? This gives me a good idea of how to price the house to be competitive with the market.
After the house is staged, cleaned and ready to show I schedule a professional photographer to go and take still shots and a virtual tour of the house. This is SO important because good pictures can really sell a house. I know this because I also work with buyers. Often there are SO many choices of homes that they narrow down the ones they want to see based on the pictures. A house with lousy pictures will get eliminated very fast! Also, I make sure to include a lot of comments for each photo in the MLS. The comments show up just below the photo and there is quite a bit of space available for writing descriptions. A lot of agents do not write any comments with their MLS photos, and I don’t know why that is. Pictures create interest, and good comments alongside the photos can enhance the interest of the buyer viewing the listing online.
Once the professional photographs are taken and the virtual tour and pictures are entered into the Austin MLS, the home is ready to go on the market!!! As a seller, you want to be sure to be as flexible as possible about making the home available to show. “GO” or “Call First and GO” are what agents want to see on the showing comments, and the easier you make it for them, the faster the home will sell.
Another important tip for sellers regarding showings…LEAVE! Do not stick around and show prospective buyers and their agents around. They will usually not appreciate it and it can cause buyers to feel uncomfortable and leave quickly. You want them to linger and appreciate the house without worrying about “invading your space”.
I have found all the ideas above to be well worth your time. I have used these methods more aggressively in recent months and many of my listings have sold in less than a week for full price. Premarketing, preparation, elbow grease and going the extra mile can make the difference between a house that sells, and one that sits on the market and eventually expires.