I don't think I have to venture too far out on a limb to make this New Year's prediction: Trying to sell your home in 2015 will pretty much be the same as selling in 2014. And that isn't necessarily easy, at least in the Lakes Region of N.H. While other areas of the country and even this State are booming and properties are selling quickly with multiple offers, that is just not the case here. Sorry! While some segments of our market, like vacation properties and entry level properties, are somewhat easier than others, it really is still a buyers' market here especially in the mid-range price residential home market. Now, that's not to say you can't successfully sell your home, you can, just as hundreds of people did in 2014. But just to help you out, here are some tips to help you get it done in 2015.
1. Get a good realtor. If you haven't already worked with an agent in the past and had a great experience with him or her, interview three different agents from different brokerages. See what they, and their company, have to offer in terms of marketing, how well they communicate, and how knowledgeable they are about the market. Ask lots of questions. Find out how dedicated they are to their profession and if they are full or part time. Their availability to you is extremely important, as is effective communication. Ask if they are going to attend every showing on your home, they should, shouldn't they? Do they invest in their own success? Do they have a website to check them out on? Perhaps one of the most important things is to determine how well you think you will get along with them. Personality matters a lot as you are going to be working together for some period of time to sell your home, so make it an enjoyable choice if you can.
2. Get the right price. This is probably the single most important factor in getting your home sold in 2015. Ask each agent that you interview to give you a market analysis and a suggested price range to list your home at. The suggested price range for your home is derived from looking at similar properties that have recently sold. Therefore, the prices recommended should be pretty close although subject to the agent's personal interpretation. If the prices the agents give you vary wildly, ask for further explanation. Never pick an agent based on the fact that he gave you the highest price range to list your home. Your choice of an agent should be based on a number of factors including the marketing program offered.
3. Get the best marketing program. You want a marketing program that casts the widest possible net to find a buyer for your home. You also want one that presents your property in its best possible light with professional grade photography, appropriate and enticing property descriptions, and lots of details. Ask where your property will be marketed, where will it be seen, if video will be part of the program. So part of choosing a realtor to represent you is looking closely and objectively at his marketing plan for your property to ensure it covers all the bases.
There is a term called "ZMOT." ZMOT is an acronym for the Zero Moment of Truth which was coined by Google. ZMOT is the exact moment in time that someone makes a decision to purchase goods or services. In real estate, it could be the moment a buyer decides to go look at a property because he happened upon a home shown in a high quality video on YouTube. It was that compelling to make him pick up the phone or send an email to see the property. Home buyers use many different pathways to home ownership, but by and large the internet is the main vehicle they use to get there. There are also many different components that help a buyer to that ZMOT. Professional grade photography, enticing property descriptions, complete property data, and now even high quality video are a must. The more opportunities a marketing plan has to provide that Zero Moment Of Truth to a buyer the better it is.
4. Get Ready. Your home has to be show ready and at its best to compete in the 2015 real estate market. Ask your agent to help point out what, if anything, needs to be done to make it so. Are there unfinished projects and repairs that need to be done? Your home needs to be clean...no, it must be pristine! De-clutter, organize, and spruce the place up wherever you can. A simple coat of fresh paint makes a world of difference. Simple improvements can make an enormous difference in the way your home shows. Hiring a home staging expert for a minimal cost can provide not only a quicker sale, but higher sales price. So get ready.
5. Be ready to negotiate. More importantly, be willing to negotiate. The chances of you getting full asking price for your property are probably less than winning the Powerball. Buyers want to feel that they got something off the asking price and that they were successful negotiators. Sometimes it doesn't have to be a lot, especially if your home is priced right. Obviously, a lot depends on the offer you get. A low ball offer might tend to alienate you and sour the deal right away, but try and work with every offer. You can never be sure where the final number will end up. Both buyer and seller should remember that the initial offer negotiations are often followed by further negotiations after the home inspections and beyond. So playing nice in the sand box right from the beginning might benefit both parties as things are "needed" further on in the transaction. Negotiation is the art of compromise.
Now, go sell your house!
Pease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.
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