Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bring your stale listing back alive!

Has the activity on your listing died?

Do you have a listing which has become stale and stagnate over the winter months?

Is there anything that you can do to create interest as you enter the spring market?

Bring it back alive for the spring market.

The first thought is always, yes, reduce the price. Realtors have always had issue with my position that if the house was priced right in the first place NEVER, EVER, REDUCE THE PRICE. Why not just put a big sign out front “FIRE SALE – GET A DEAL NOW – MAKE A LOW OFFER – WE WILL ACCEPT ANYTHING”.

I remember in the mid 70’s when things were bad I had a newly constructed home which set on the market for a very long time. Instead of lowering the price I bucked the market trend and raised my price every month to cover the cost of caring the home in inventory. This house ultimately sold at the higher price making my cost of caring the home zero. Fluke of the times, maybe, but who knows since others ignore this out side of the box idea. Don’t think lower price, make it better, and raise the price.

Yes, I am known for functioning outside of the box. Maybe you need to think outside of the box as well when it comes to moving your stale listing. Oh, your home/listing is perfect and couldn’t possibly be improved. All that says is that you haven’t looked at the home from the proper perspective. I don’t find any “perfect” homes. If yours is so “perfect” why hasn’t it sold?

Here are some suggestions for consideration. Once completed, make a big deal out of it with changes to the listing information, new sheets in the house, information to Realtors, a special luncheon or open house to showcase the changes.

  • Rent a storage unit: Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Leave just enough furniture to exhibit the room's function and abundant room to move around. Empty house, don’t fret many of these items will apply. Some of the worst homes I inspect are empty, apparently ignored, homes. Out of site, out of mind.

  • Disassociate yourself from the home, set aside your emotions, this isn’t personal, this is a business transaction. This isn’t YOUR home any longer it is the home of a potential buyer. Walk through the home, become that buyer, what would be your impression. What could you change to make a better impression?

    • De-cluttering and maintain it without clutter
    • Pack up your knick-knacks or donate them
    • Put things you need on a daily basis in a box you can pull out when needed and put up when leaving for the day when a showing might occur.
    • Different art, trinkets, wall hangings, etc
    • Clean off the kitchen counter
    • New appliance
    • New counter tops
    • Replace light fixtures
    • Replace old door hardware
    • New floor covering, wood flooring or ceramic tile
    • Remove wall coverings and add paint (today most buyers dislike wall coverings)
    • Clean up the yard, keep it mowed, trim the shrubbery, plant flowers, add landscaping, keep it immaculate
    • Got a pool? Take the cover off, clean it up and make it sparkle.
    • House empty, stage it with furniture and trinkets, not good at doing that, hire a professional.
  • De-personalize, home buyers are distracted by personal items.

    • Remove personal photographs and trinkets and replace them with impressive looking non-personal items. You do not want a potential buyer thinking of this as YOUR home, you want them to be able to easily imagine their families personal photo and belongings in THEIR home.
    • Minimize storage and clothing items in closets. Move what you don’t need in the short time somewhere else.
  • Rearrange bedroom closets and kitchen cabinets. Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:

    • Alphabetize spice jars.
    • Neatly stack dishes.
    • Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
    • Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
    • Line up shoes.
  • Make Minor Repairs:

    • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
    • Patch holes in walls.
    • Fix leaky faucets.
    • Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
    • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. (Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the pink bathroom.")
    • Replace burned-out light bulbs.
    • If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!
  • Search for issues in need of repair which might standout to the potential buyer or home inspector and repair them. Are you blind to issues about your home or simply feel inadequate or biased? Hire a professional home inspector to take a look and make suggestions.
  • Make the House Sparkle. As a home inspector I visit thousands of homes with new home owners. What do you think is the most impressive single item expressed even on new construction? Allow me to put it in their words. “This is the cleanest house I have every seen. I don’t know how they do it. I could never keep this house this clean.”

    • Wash windows inside and out.
    • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
    • Clean out cobwebs.
    • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
    • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
    • Clean out the refrigerator.
    • Vacuum daily.Wax floors.
    • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
    • Bleach dingy grout.
    • Replace worn rugs.
    • Hang up fresh towels.
    • Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows.
    • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
OK, now you have accomplished the task, have a party (special advertising, Realtor luncheon, open house), get the word out that this isn’t the same listing you might have looked at this winter. Please come back and look again. Haven’t seen this listing yet, you are missing out.

1 comment:

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