So your home was listed on the market and didn't sell, and perhaps the question you're asking yourself right now is, "What went wrong?" If you attempted to sell it by yourself, you may simply have not fully understood the process of selling a home. However, if you listed your home with a professional agent, there are really only several things to review to find out what happened.
Why Didn't My Home Sell?
Assuming that you previously listed your home with an agent, problem areas with sales usually involve on of the following:
When the National Association of Realtors polled homeowners for their annual poll, more sellers cited poor communication as the biggest complaint they had about their agent. It is imperative that you work with an agent that you can talk to and just as importantly - that can talk to you honestly. If there are issues that are preventing the sale of your home, your agent needs to be able to communicate these to you. Your agent also needs to be able to relay feedback received from buyers that have viewed your home - it allows you to make adjustments on the fly for improved showing experiences for the next buyer.
It's important to understand that you will not determine the price your home eventually sells for. Neither will your agent. Only the market is going to determine that price in the end. So then you might ask, "Why do I need an agent then?" It is your agent's job to help you set a list price that will attract the right buyers, get your home in optimal showing condition, and evaluate the market to put you in a better negotiating position. Marketing is extremely important - after all, if no one knows your home is for sale, no one can buy it. One of the biggest differences among agents is how effectively they can expose your home to largest possible audience.
Agents use the central MLS system to develop a comparative market analysis (CMA) for your home. Typically, they'll search for similar properties (square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, lot size and features) in your neighborhood and use three active listings and three listings that have sold in the last 3 - 6 months. These properties will usually paint a pretty clear picture of a price range that your home could be expected to sell for. Finally, three expired listings will also be pulled as an indicator of what the market is not willing to bear. Armed with this information, you can ready your home for sale and feel comfortable about your asking price.
Preparing Your Home
What's the quickest way to get someone to fall in love with your home? Make it as easy as possible for potential buyers to envision themselves living in it! Your job in preparing your home for sale is to make it appealing to the widest range of buyers as possible. A good agent will have lots of ideas of how you can make your home shine!
Staging your home doesn't have to be an expensive proposition. Start with the yard - trim back the trees and shrubs, pull the weeds, and keep your lawn mowed and edged at least weekly. Put down some fresh mulch to make those flowerbeds pop, and consider putting in some seasonal color during the showing period. Inside the home - remove any furniture and fixtures that you don't absolutely need to live; de-personalize the home by putting away family photos and nick-nacks, pack up and store all that extra stuff you keep in closets; and clean the house from top to bottom, including all the windows. Fix all the little "things" that you've been meaning to get to - eliminate the problem before the buyer sees them. Touch up the paint, and neutralize colors - think about the colors that you see in model homes. Open the blinds, keep the house a cool temperature, and always, always keep the house smelling clean - baking scents work wonders.
The object of all this makeready is to make your home seem as big and bright as possible. Buyers want to see large rooms, large closets, and great flow. They cant see all that if your rooms and closets are cluttered with furniture and belongings. Clean smells, soft music, and bright homes make buyers sit up and pay attention. Remember, your home is competing with all the other homes currently for sale - make yours the best looking home for the money.
How Will You Market My Home?
You should always ask potential agents what specifically they do to market your property. Make note of any differences in marketing strategy and compare what's important to you. Ask agents to elaborate on specific tasks that you think will make a larger impact in the sale of your home. Pay special attention to agents customer service skills - these will be crucial in dealing with buyer's agents and ensuring that transactions proceed smoothly.
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