In February of 2013, there were folks still insisting that we were in a buyer’s market. I don’t think now, in June of 2014, anyone is claiming that we have been in anything but a rampant seller’s market for the last year and a half. Sellers are pretty confident of selling their homes in today’s market. In fact, they are so confident in this fact, that many sellers are hesitant to put their homes up for sale because they can not identify enough acceptable properties in the new neighborhood they want to live. Sellers have expressed that they are worried about what happens when their home sells quickly and they have not identified a place to move in to.
If You Are A Seller
For whatever reason, you have chosen to place your home on the market in what will prove to be great timing. Low inventory levels, steady to rising buyer demand for homes, and near historically low interest rates are a great mixture for selling your home. In some areas across Southeast Michigan, we are seeing sales prices at or above pre-crash levels.
Assuming you are working with a real estate professional on the marketing, pricing and sale of your home, be sure you are taking a sharp pencil to the pricing of your home. Too often, when I am working with buyers, we will run across a home that has been on the market for a significant period of time longer than other homes. There may not be anything physically wrong with the property, yet still the property sits on the market. My buyers and I have found that overpriced homes not only scare off buyers in the first few days on the market, but after a few weeks, cause the home to be seen in a poor light.
The buyer line of thought is, “Well, it’s been on the market for 3 weeks. There is clearly something wrong with it. Yeah, it may be overpriced, but what are other buyers seeing that I am not.”
That “seasoning” of the home on the market, in today’s conditions, causes buyers to get nervous. So, the first key to multiple offers, as a seller, is pricing. Pricing at market value is as key now, as it has ever been. You and your agent should be staring at your home like an appraiser, given that the majority of sales are still financed purchases. Taking an appraisers eye to your current value will solve many of the value concerns, right out of the gate.
Your home, for better or worse, will be judged on its condition, compared to other properties in the market. From floor to ceiling, ensure that your home is clean, organized and simplified. Making your home gorgeous, I call creating a “Sticky Home.” Stickiness in a home for sale is that process where a prospective buyer catches their breath, or pauses, shortly after walking over the threshold of your home.
Creating a sticky home begins before a prospective buyer darkens the door of your home. Having gotten your home in to excellent shape, it is now time for the professional photographer to work their magic. Notice, I am stating that an agent’s camera phone is not enough for capturing the beauty of your home, likely your largest financial transaction to date.
Beautiful photography, coupled with a video of your home, will go a very long distance, indeed, to showing the prospective buyer the beautiful home you live in. Taking these digital assets, and creating one online location for them, continues to assist the buyer in their decision making process regarding your home. The use of the digital assets should allow your agent to push the marketing for your home to the “four corners” of the internet.
One of the greatest frustrations that I have had working with buyers in this seller’s market is how multiple offers on a great house are handled. In some instances, I have submitted the first offer, and the agent proceeds to continue to show and accept offers for over 24 hours after our submission. I despise this practice for two reasons: it frustrates real estate consumers and calls agent practices in to question, in the mind of consumers.
Controlling showings on a property is a must, in a seller’s market. For sellers that still occupy the home being sold, being kicked out of your house a few times a day for showings can get annoying. For buyers, not having a hard timeline to work within can be disconcerting.
To assist my sellers in getting the highest dollar amount, in the shortest period of time, with as little inconvenience as possible, I have come up with a strategy that has worked very well, this last year and a half. I launch my listings as active on a Wednesday, and hold off on any showings until the open house on the next Sunday. Typically, my open houses have 15 or more folks through them in a two hour time period, and the properties have multiple offers by my Monday afternoon deadline.
For my sellers, they are inconvenienced for one two-hour stretch and are confident that they will have their property under contract in a few days. For buyers, it is a pretty straight-forward process: see the home, research the price, submit an offer by the deadline, learn the results of their bid the day after the deadline.
Bringing it all Together
Setting a correct price, in conjunction with a well prepared home and a strong showing plan has served my sellers well. Taking into account the “deal sweeteners” that buyers can use in multiple bid situations, my sellers have successfully sold their homes for above list price and appraised values. Frequently, my sellers are setting the highest sales price for a specific floor plan in their neighborhood.
Check out some examples of the marketing system put into place for my selling clients, as well as the results of homes sold or already under contract.