If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, but you’ve been waiting for signs that the market is improving, it might be time to get off the sidelines. As we head into a new year, all indications are pointing towards a bigger recovery in the housing market for 2013. So if you’re ready to take the plunge and list your home on the market, here are some tips that will help lead you to a successful real estate deal in 2013.
Make a Lasting First Impression
It’s true what they say -- you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Never underestimate the value of your potential buyer’s first impression. With more people turning to the Internet to conduct their home searches, first impressions are now twofold.
The very first contact you will make with most buyers will be in the form of photos you post with your online listing. If buyers don’t like what they see online, they’ll never request an actual showing. So, to make a great impression, it’s best to use warm and inviting photos of your home. If it’s in your budget, consider hiring a professional to take the snapshots; doing so will guarantee that you are marketing an accurate reflection of your home while capturing it at its optimal appearance. Colors and lighting should be vivid and exciting, not dull and drab. Stage the rooms in your house prior to taking the listing photos so the selling features of your home aren’t lost in the clutter.
If you have done a good job with your online photos, you will likely have requests for private showings. Remember to take full advantage of the buyer’s first impression – they will be making snap judgments as they pull up to the front of your house. Make sure the lawn is well manicured and keep all sidewalks and walkways free from debris. If you have a front porch, make sure it is swept clean and perhaps you can put some fresh potted flowers for a splash of color. If the showing will occur after dark, make certain to have all paths well lit. You want to create the “wow” factor as they step through your front door. And of course, just as you staged your home for those listing photos, make sure it is in pristine condition for all showings.
Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
If you are thinking of doing any renovations to prepare your home for the market, make sure you choose wisely. Not all home improvement projects yield the same return on investment. Sit down with your real estate agent and discuss your plans in detail. Different price points come with different buyer expectations and your agent should be able to help you develop a plan specific to your home’s needs and your personal budget.
Make Sure Potential Buyers are Pre-Qualified
We are living in a “post-housing crisis” environment and that means we’re learning to play by different rules. As a seller you need to be aware that buyers are having a harder time qualifying for loans and many lenders are expecting buyers to cough up bigger down payments. So do yourself a favor and weed out the wannabe buyers. Work closely with your agent to make sure that he/she is presenting you with buyers who are already pre-approved for a loan. In other words, you only want to spend time working with buyers who have had their credit checked and have received a green light from the lender to borrow a certain amount of money. Don’t worry about offending the buyer by asking for a pre-approval letter; if they are serious about buying your home they will not mind your due diligence and you’ll be glad you saved yourself the time.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written by Monte Mohr, who has sold over 2,500 homes, making him one of America's top Realtors for the last 25 years. This experience has given him a unique perspective on the Nashville TN Real Estate Market worth paying attention to. He is also a regular contributor of real estate advice to Nashville’s NBC affiliate station, WSMV Channel 4. To learn more about Monte Mohr's experience as a real estate agent, to get free advice about your biggest real estate challenges or to request an interview contact him at Info@TennesseeDreamHomes.com