offrs Review: The One-Week Booster Shot for Home Sellers
Okay, so your home's listing has been up for longer than you had hoped. Your household is tapped and your agent is saying something to you, but you can't quite make out the words. You've been knocked to the ground. It's okay, this too is part of the process. But it's time to get back in the ring... here's a One-Week booster shot to help get you on your feet again...
Been down on your luck? Don't fret it, even real estate pros have these slumps. If your home has been on the market longer than you anticipated, then it's going to be important to take a step back and prepare for round two, because as we've said before, it's how quickly you get back in the game (and how much energy you can muster up again) that will make the biggest difference in the sale of your home. With that in mind, here's a One-Week booster shot... something you and your team can do to get back into the fight.
Reassess your sales strategy
Okay, first off - a few rhetorical questions... are you marketing to the right audience? If your home is in a neighborhood with lots of children, are you promoting it to young families? If your home is in a mature neighborhood, are you promoting it to empty nesters? How much exposure is your home receiving on the internet? Have you done a good job of decluttering your home and staging it? All of these are legitimate questions that every home seller has weighed. But it's not the answers that we're looking for here. The real question is: how long has it been since you've done a reassessment of your strategy.
Start by re-examining your initial expectations. Many factors contribute to how long it will take to sell your home. Some you have control over and some you don’t. Of course, if you've been trying to do this alone, then that will almost inevitably be your issue. After all, it's not going to be what you don't know... it'll be what you don't know that you don't know. Make sense? It's okay, the takeaway in this instance is: get aligned with a pro. The cost you'll put out to bring in their expertise will be offset by the ROI and/or speed by which you could make that ROI. Assuming you've got a pro, then review the following with them or on the side with your family:
You won't be the first homeowner to believe that aiming high gives you more wiggle room to negotiate downward. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with this (not to mention the obvious: that the listing price isn't the only ROI you can negotiate, yet is the one that will either attract or repel the most buyers from the start).
- First off, your home isn't sitting in a store where all things are equal and every product is in sight. Most home buyers, whether they're working with agent or not, will at least start their search online and have filters in place to hide anything too far above their "rainbows & unicorns" threshold. Simply, and as gently as possibly put, they won't see your home. Even if they eventually do, your's will be the last on a long list of homes they've already been browsing and they'll have every reason to consider each in the lineup before the more expensive ones.
- Second, with homes, price doesn't directly equate to quality or value. A home is understandably an emotional investment, but again... the buyer market is likely not as emotionally-attached as you are, putting you at a disadvantage if you're stacking dollars for each and every memory that only your family can recall. Remember that will won't have access to many of your potential buyers - they'll be browsing anonymously, left only with your price tag. Don't rely on "making the case" in person. Likely, they weren't emotionally-invested enough to care. =(
- This leads to the final point on price here... you teach people how to treat you and an abnormally-high listing (a valuation well above the neighborhood market - even if legitimate), will warrant immediate doubt about the readiness for negotiations that the homeowner or listing agent is coming to the table with. You may have added "motivated seller," but that's not as powerful as a motivated seller that's showing it out of the gate in the form of a price to move. There are other ways to get your ROI such as negotiating closing costs, inspections, etc.). Right now, you need their attention. There's a next button and you want your buyers to stay away from it.
Location plays a big part in how much attention your home will get and if you're not in a prime location, it will probably take longer to sell (regardless of its price). It may not be entirely your call... how were you to know that they'd open a strip mall in front of your panoramic vista and that it'd become a dilapidated heap 5 years later? But somehow, you're going to have to get creative and turn this eyesore around. Why? Because you have to work with what you've got and there's just no way around that. But you aren't limited to working with your home alone. Look around and identify things that really make your home unique... whether you consider it valuable or not. You never know what is going to be an important (and valuable) feature to your home and, more to the point, it may have little to do with your home in the end. You may be surprised how many small business entrepreneurs are actively seeking out homes within walking distance to that cost-effective retail storefront they've always dreamed of opening. With a little re-marketing and innovative wording, your problem just became someone else's dream.
If your house needs a great deal of updating to compete with other homes on the market, then your listing may be sitting there a while. As mentioned above, you may have to work with what you've got on hand and there still is a market for buyers seeking a fixer-upper (depending upon the level of hazmat suit required for the job). But even then, a fixer-upper assumes a reduced cost and higher ROI for them, so it'll be a balancing act. Assuming that your home has been on the market for a while and you're not getting through to the fixer-upper crowd, then you're going to have to get realistic about the quality of your product and what you can do to turn the tables a bit. Fixing your home may not be (and likely isn't) as expensive as you may think. For instance, you're probably thinking about the landscaping or the out-of-date kitchen appliances. But these are the things you see after having lived there over the years.
The good news is that your buyers may not be thinking about these things, or if they are, $100 in new cabinet doorknobs or a new steel front door may do the trick. This isn't to say that these are the end-all solutions, rather, unless you discuss options with your agent, you're going to be working off of an assumption that may not be accurate. The longer your home sits on the market, the more your buyer pool is going to come to the conclusion that something else is wrong with it. You not only want to move your listing because you want to move on with your life goals, you want to move your listing so that you don't lose that important momentum that newer listings have. If your home has been sitting a while, then consider taking a couple of thousand (or even a few hundred) to spruce up the place. Again, check with your agent... they'll know where you can best utilize that infusion (based on what's moving in the region and why).
How to administer a booster shot
Your agent should be able to tell you what the Average Days on Market (DOM) for a house like yours is. The important thing to recognize is that even the Average DOM in your area is just that – an average. Don’t get too discouraged if your home is on the market longer than the average for the area. Of course, you don't want to wait until you're on the field and in the game to review realistic expectations, options and fallback strategies. This is all to say: take a breath, and a couple of days to assess and plan out your comeback. Selling your home can be exhausting, mentally and emotionally. If you’ve had a couple of false starts (buyers who seemed interested in making an offer, only to have fallen through in the end), then it might be hard for your family to muster up the emotional strength to face another round. But, like anything in life, the longer you wait out the round, the harder it will be to get back into it. So, don’t wait too long. Here's a good recipe you can try on for size (it balances recoup with restart):
- DAY 1: Take a breather. You've likely been on cleaning or exit duty (as in exiting the house to make room for the grand tour). Today, just catch your breath.
- DAY 2: Research and gather. Gather all of your market data, buyer lead feedback and marketing materials. That's it - keep it simple.
- DAY 3: Meet with your agent to review the materials, looking specifically for gaps in the plan. This session is about spotting holes.
- DAY 4: Review the holes with your household team. Hit the park, but keep the conversation on the old versus new strategy. Go for gut instinct here.
- DAY 5: Meet with your agent and share your family's thoughts. Specifically, try to detail 5 bullets that you think were off and 5 bullets that you think could work.
- DAY 6: Let your agent work on your notes. Go out for pizza... you deserve it.
- DAY 7: Meet with your agent and agree on a strategy moving forward. Not just how, but why. Tomorrow, you begin the next round... go in swinging hard!
The 8th day (and 9th and 10th...)
This exact formula isn't as important as having your own formula. The key is to give yourself (and your team) time to breathe, sulk a little, evaluate, strategize and implement. You'll notice that in the above schedule, there isn't a lot of time to craft updated marketing materials and the like. Your team may want to go a little more aggressively into the next round and you can either budget your days in a more fitting matter throughout the week, or... add a few days. A "One-Week" booster shot sounds cute and it got your attention enough to help you help yourself, but that's all it is... an excuse to get back into the ring. Whatever works for you works. A side note to consider (and this is important too): if you’re not happy with your agent, you can always switch. Just don’t expect that another agent is going to have a magic wand. If you chose your agent carefully in the beginning, the odds are more in your favor if you continue working through the problem rather than starting over from scratch with a new unknown factor such as a new teammate. Give it another go. Get back in the ring, tiger!
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