Real Estate

Eight Tips on Selling in a Slow Market

By Kevin Kittmer

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Eight Tips on Selling in a Slow Market

Selling a house in a slow real estate market can be difficult. In times like these, it's not enough to simply list your home and wait; you actually have to sell your home. No one really wants to sell anything when the market is bad, however, it's not impossible to sell your house in these conditions. Even though the market's not favourable to sellers and widespread economic recovery may be months, even years off, there are a number of tactics available to increase the likelihood of a sale. It just takes a positive attitude and a different kind of game plan. Here's eight tips from a real estate sales rep to get you started.

Know Your Market

One of the most important things you can do to get your house sold is to learn your market, the value of your property and your competition. Most sellers operate in the dark, simply offering the property for the price they want, without regard to what other homes have sold for and are currently selling for. Undervaluing or overpricing your home can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

Price Your Home Right

With homes sales slowing and prices plunging, there's little doubt that selling for a good price in today's market is going to be tricky. For example, the median existing home price across the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board area dropped more than 11% compared with the same month last year, according to the  Board. So if you try to ask as much for your property as your neighbour got a year ago, you're going to turn off potential buyers. Instead, price your home conservatively by looking at similar houses currently on the market. Also look at the homes that aren't selling. Chances are those owners priced their homes too high.

If you really want to stimulate a sale, you should under price your property by just a little. Trimming the price by a few thousand dollars can generate more foot traffic and create a buzz.

Make Your Home Presentable

Keep your house looking good at all times, repair things that are broken, and replace things that are rundown. Add a fresh coat of paint (neutral colors preferred), freshen up landscaping, trim trees, clean up clutter and remove personal items, so that prospective buyers can picture themselves in the home rather than seeing you there.

To stimulate a quick sale, consider using a professional home staging service. Your property must make a strong, positive impression. Staging a home is the cheapest way to make a house look different from your competition so it becomes the most memorable one that the buyer saw.

Be Flexible with Showings

It only takes one buyer to get your home sold. Don't make your realtor feel as though their request for a showing is an inconvenience.

Play Up Your Home's Best Features

If you have fireplaces, make sure that you have fires burning so that there is a beautiful warm glow and the sound of crackling. If you have a gourmet cook's kitchen, have some great-smelling treats baking in the oven. Turn on soothing music. Set all lights and lamps if the home looks dark or feels heavy. Lighting is crucial.

Offer Flexible Terms

Often, the best way to sell a home more quickly in a buyers market is to adjust the terms of the sale instead of the price. While it may sometimes be necessary to adjust the asking price downward, or to negotiate a lower price with the buyer, sometimes offering an extended closing date will go a lot further.

Be Patient

Selling your home may take longer than in recent years, so it's important to be patient and keep a positive attitude.

The First Offer Rule

If you get an offer within the first few weeks, the tendency is for sellers to try and hold out for a better offer. This is generally a mistake. Usually the biggest fish bite first, so keep in mind that your first offer will often be your best.

Kevin Kittmer is a Sales Representative for Royal LePage in British Columbia.

Topics: Buying, Property, Real Estate, Selling, Value

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