In a down real estate market (also known as a buyer's market), sellers need to find out-of-the-box strategies for selling their home quickly. In many areas, it's now taking the average homeowner up to one year to sell their home. In other areas it may be less. The following is a list of suggestions based off of company wide experience, interviews with experts, and market research for getting that property off of your hands.
Craigslist. Do not underestimate the power of Craigslist or other similar sites. Surveys show that at least 75% of buyers look online for a home. They know that there are deals that they may not find anywhere else. Post an ad and see what happens. If you do not get a response, try changing the word and adding as many pictures as you can. If you want a more professional look for free, try going to Postlets dot com to create a sharp listing page.
Friends / family network. This may be my favorite. I have bought and sold more properties based off relationshipships than any other method. Put the word out! Let your co-workers, your church friends, your clients, bowling buddies, and even your hair stylist know that your house is for sale. You may be surprised to find out that they know someone who's looking for exactly what you're selling.
A big, flashy yard sign. If you live on a busy street, you may want to invest in your own personal billboard (or perhaps a person dressed in some crazy costume to stand at the end of the driveway wandering at people!). Not literally, but it never hurts to spend a little money to draw the attention of people passing by. This obviously will not work if you live in a cul de sac, but in most cases, you never know who's driving by your house.
A clean cut appearance (yard / landscaping). If you've ever been shopping for a house, you probably remember that you made a judgment about each house you looked at in the first 20 seconds. That's barely enough time to pull up the driveway and walk into a house! What that means is that the outward appearance may be more important than the interior! If your yard is cluttered with the kids toys, overgrown bushhes, weedy grass, and several dozen editions of the weekly paper next to the mail box, most people will say "no" before they even enter the house. Trim the trees, cut the grass, replace the mulch, and fix the eye-sores.
Seller Financing. In a buyer's market where conventional financing is strict, more and more sellers are taking advantage of this option. If you're in a position where you do not need the equity in your current house to use towards the purchase of your next house, you may want to consider seller financing. Seller financing is allowing the buyer to make payments directly to you. There are several ways to structure these transactions so that everyone profits and everyone is protected. Be certain you are dealing with an experienced individual when entering these transactions. For more information on this subject, contact our office.
Be competitive. What you're about to read is not going to be popular, but it's the truth! Being competitive may sound obvious, but some home owners believe they are entitled to whatever price they decide their home is worth. Unfortunately, this is not the case; the market decides what a home is worth. While homes in certain "high demand" neighborhoods may often receive full asking price, most will not; especially in a buyer's market. You have to decide how badly you want to sell your house (is it really worth waiting several extra months or possibly years, just to squeeze a few thousand more out of a buyer?) As hard as this may be to swallow, most homeowners over -estimate the value of their home. The painful truth is that your needs, or how much you put into your house does not play a factor in what your home is worth in the free market. A wealthy real estate investor once told me "your house is worth whatever someone will pay for it at the time." How true. Also keep in mind that there are foreclosures in almost every neighborhood these days and that you'll have to compete with them.
Short Sale. This can be a complicated subject. If you're having trouble making payments or are having any financial issues, a short sale may be the right course of action. In an effort to reduce mitigation costs, a bank or lender may reduce the balance on a mortgage in an effort to short sale the house. They realize that a foreclosure is very expensive, and they prefer almost any alternative. This process is extremely tedious and paperwork-intensive, but it's worth it if it will keep a foreclosure off of your credit. Send us an email if you're interested in information on a short sale. We will give you a no-cost consultation to weigh your options.
MLS. You may be asking why the Multiple Listing Service is number eight on the list. Besides the fact that it is the most used tool for selling a house, it is also the most expensive. All too often I watch homeowners list their home with an agent who has no intention of doing anything surrounding pulling two local comps (similar homes that have sold in your area) and taking a few pictures for your listing. If you decide to hire a real estate agent to list your home on the MLS, make sure you interview them and ask them what strategies they'll be using to sell your house quickly. A good agent can be your best friend, but make sure that they're well connected, they have a good track record, and that they have some creative ideas for getting a quick sale.
Rent. You may want to consider renting the house while you're waiting for a buyer. This is not exactly a strategy for selling your house quickly, but it may free you financially so you're able to make a move. You never know – your renters may turn into buyers! If you're renting to someone you do not know, always be sure to check their background, credit, references, employment, and former landlords. Do not compromise and allow unqualified tenants to rent your house. If you're moving to another area, it's a good idea to hire a property manager to handle collecting the rent and maintenance. Even though you may have to weed through many people to find the right tenders, it will be worth the wait.
Auction. This option can be scary for some homeowners, but if it's done right, it has the potential to get you the highest price in the quickest time. The good news about auctioneers is that the buyer usually pays the auction fee (not always, but in most cases).
Most auction companies already have large mailing lists of potential buyers. Often times, they will also partner with banks to offer competitive financing for the new buyers. Be sure to research and compare auction companies before signing a contract. I also highly recommend personally speaking with at least two or three of their former clients. Ask them questions such as "were they completely honest?" and "did they get the price you were looking for?".
These are just a few of the many strategies for selling your home quickly. Do not be afraid to be creative and try something outside of the box. The world is changing rapidly, and in order to keep up, sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone. No matter which strategy you choose, always be sure you're dealing with experienced, trustworthy individuals.