Sell Your Home in 10 Weeks: A Series. Part 2 of 4
Part II, Weeks 2-3
In Part 1, we discussed the prep work necessary to get your home ready to go on the market. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.
In Part II, we will take a look at putting your home on the market and factors to consider in pricing. We will also review the aspects of the marketing plan that your REALTOR puts together. Finally, we will discuss tips for showings and open houses.
House for Sale!
Week 2: Your Home Goes on the Market
This is the week for you to choose a REALTOR to manage your home sale. Your choice should be based on several factors: their knowledge and experience; their marketing plan; and your comfort with that person.
Your REALTOR should have a marketing plan that includes a variety of marketing vehicles. Ask if the marketing plan includes:
- Yard sign - alerts passers-by that your home is for sale
- Postcards to neighbors - so they can tell their friends
- Flyers at local bulletin boards - posted at high-traffic organizations
- Internet - MLS, web sites, email announcements to your REALTOR's database of contacts
- Social media - announcements on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
- Blog - does your REALTOR have a blog?
- Video - for exposure on YouTube and other video sites
This type of high-level marketing plan takes time for your REALTOR to develop and put in place. It helps your REALTOR attract qualified, motivated buyers for your home. In order to sell your home in 10 weeks, nothing less than a full-service marketing plan will do.
What about price and commission? Ah, these two areas are where sellers face difficult decisions. To sell your home in 10 weeks, you will need to have your home in top condition, listed by a REALTOR with a comprehensive marketing plan, and priced at a competitive market price.
Review the market conditions of your area with your REALTOR. He or she should share with you such information as the number of homes on the market, the number of homes similar to yours that have sold in the past 3 months, the sales prices of those homes, and the ways in which your house is similar to or different from the homes that have sold.
Based on these numbers, your REALTOR will provide you with a range at which your home should be priced. Take your REALTOR's advice on the list price of your home. If you are hesitating, consider these questions: How many homes have you sold in your lifetime? How many homes has your REALTOR sold? Who has more experience in selling homes - you or your REALTOR? Who knows better the features that are attracting buyers right now? So...who can most objectively pinpoint a price range for your home? You know the right answer.
Regarding your REALTOR's commmission, in most cases their fee is based on a percentage of the sale price of your home. Look at your REALTOR's sale record, marketing plan, and level of expertise. Have a frank discussion with them about the value they bring to your home sale, and how the commission gets distributed if a buyer's agent is involved. By the time a sale is complete, your REALTOR will often net only 1-2% of the sale price of your home.
A word about discount brokers: Often, home sellers will hire discount brokers who will list their home on the MLS for a discounted fee but provide no additional service. This saves the seller money; however, be advised that a discount broker usually attracts discount buyers. If you followed my Week 1 plan, your home is ready for quality buyers who are looking for a quality home. Think very carefully before hiring a discount broker.
Photographs and Video: Your REALTOR will take numerous photographs of the interior and exterior of your home. If you prepared your home as described in Week 1, this should be a fairly unintrusive photo shoot. Your REALTOR should use a digital camera and digital video camera to take the best quality shots.
Go through every aspect of your listing agreement with your REALTOR. This is a legal agreement, and you both have responsibilities. Once you fully understand what will happen, sign the contract. Congratulations! Your home is officially for sale.
Week 3: Surving the Showings
The first two weeks that your home is on the market will be the busiest time for showings. In this plan, we aim to get an offer accepted during these two weeks.
Your REALTOR should install a lockbox on your house in order to make showings more flexible. A lockbox is simply a tamper-resistant container that holds your keys. Only your REALTOR, or other approved agents, will be given access to the lockbox. Having a lockbox means that your home can be shown when you are away from the property.
As showing requests come in, your REALTOR will contact you to confirm the showing times. Plan to be flexible enough to allow showings mornings, afternoons, and early evenings. It will be inconvenient, but you want as many buyers to come in as possible, don't you?
Since your home is in tip-top showing condition, you really just need to do a light cleaning and straightening up before any showing. If you have pets, make arrangements to have them cared for and removed from the property during showings. This will be inconvenient, but if you want to sell your home it is important to remove distractions. Keep the buyers focused on your beautiful home.
Your REALTOR may want to hold an open house, and if so, he or she will provide you with tips for preparing for this block of time. Some ideas may include:
- Bake cookies so the house will smell good
- Set the table with your best dishes and linens
- Place fresh flowers around the house
- Play light music
One thing I advise against is the burning of scented candles. These can be a turn-off to buyers who have allergies to the perfumes used in such candles.
Your REALTOR will ask visitors to sign in, and he or she will follow-up with each visitor after the open house. The aim is to obtain feedback from every person who sees your home so that you have a gauge as to its appeal.
After all of this work, you hopefully have one or more offers on the table by the end of two weeks! In Part III, I will address the business of negotiating offers and working through some of the legal aspects of your home sale.
Until then, keep the showings going!
Kathryn Acciari, REALTOR
RE/MAX Professional Associates
49 Main Street
Sturbridge, MA 01566
Cell: (508) 982-0686
Strengthening the Massachusetts Real Estate Market One Property at a Time!
Also see: Sell Your Home in 10 Weeks, Part I
Putting Today's Technology Tools to Work for You
Text and photos copyright Kathryn J. Acciari unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved.
Kathryn Acciari, RSPS, SRS, RESE, CFA
Century 21 MetroWest
45 Lyman Street Suite 14
Westborough MA 01581
Serving the Route 9/20 Corridors of Central Massachusetts
Sturbridge to Westborough
Cell: (508) 982-0686