Your REALTOR®’s marketing efforts and considerations will include advertising, showing the property, how long the house has been on the market and whether you’re buying another home. Your home should be listed, whenever possible, with a Realtor and through his Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Advertising and Promotion
Properties are commonly advertised through Realtor web sites, internet home search/listing services, classified advertising and real estate guides. Promotion efforts through office and tours are a good way of getting other buyer agents to view your home and to promote it to the buyers they are working with.
Even with all these advertising avenues, ‘For Sale’ signs on front lawns are still remarkably effective. Many REALTORS® promote their web sites on the sign and use brochure boxes with the signs to market the property. When appropriate, and with your permission, your REALTOR® may send a ‘Just Listed’ card about your property to neighbors. Sometimes one of them has a friend or relative who always wanted to live near them or in that neighborhood. Word of mouth advertising by friends, relatives and neighbors is still a great way of selling homes.
Showings and Open Houses
Some buyers won’t ‘bother’ a Realtor to see a home, but would love to view it at an open house. To prepare your home for viewing, make it as bright, clean, cheerful, and serene as possible. Always look at your home from the buyer’s point of view. Your REALTOR® will probably find a tactful way to suggest that you be absent while the house is being shown to prospective buyers, because your presence will inhibit their actions and conversations. They won’t feel free to open closets and cabinets, test out the plumbing and discuss their observations objectively as they walk through the house. It goes without saying that your children and pets should not be on the premises either. Regarding pets, get rid of the ‘pet smell’.
If your REALTOR® has scheduled an open house, you may want to notify the neighbors, and assure them that they’ll be welcome and expect more traffic than usual. They’ll jump at the chance to poke around in your house, and sometimes they can turn up a buyer among their friends.
Quick tips for showings and open houses:
- clean or replace dirty or worn carpets
- open all curtains and blinds
- replace any burned out light bulbs and turn on all lights
- clear all clutter
- clear all countertops
- wash and put away any dirty dishes
- set the dining room or kitchen table if you have particularly nice linen or china
- simmer a few drops of vanilla on the stove
- put on soft music
- burn wood in the fireplace on cold days, otherwise, clean the fireplace
- put fresh towels in the bathroom
- take any laundry out of the washer and dryer
- leave the house so your REALTOR® is free to deal with prospective buyers in a professional manner
- put pets in cages or take them to a neighbor
How Long Has Your House Been on the Market?
Appraisers sum up their entire process your home is worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it.
If your home has been on the market for months, it’s a clear message that the property may not be worth what you’re asking for. This is particularly true if there hasn’t been many prospects coming to see it. What you do at that point depends on whether you really need to sell, and whether you’re working with a time limit.
If you’re not really motivated to move soon, you can always wait until you get the price you want. The problem is that in that time buyers become suspicious of a house that’s been on the market for a long time.
If you really do need to sell, with your REALTOR® discuss a schedule for gradually dropping your price until you find a level that attracts buyers. Anything will sell if the price is right.
If You’re Buying Another Home
You may wonder what will happen when you’re selling one home and buying another, how will all that work out? This is a common situation and REALTORS®, title and escrow companies have plenty of experience in arranging contracts so that the two transactions go smoothly.
Should you sell your home first then buy or buy first then sell? Ideally, it’s best to find a home you like and make an offer ‘Subject To selling your current home’. In a ‘hot’ market most sellers will not accept a ‘Subject to Sale’ offer. In this case you need to sell your home first and then buy a new home in the period between selling and vacating your house.
If you find that you need to buy the next house before you’ve received the proceeds from the present one, lending institutions can sometimes make you a short term ‘bridge’ loan to tide you over between the two transactions. Make sure you fully understand the exposure and emotional investment before proceeding with this type of loan and there is only a certain amount of lenders that do those type of loans so check into that.