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3 Keys to $elling Your Home: Marketing, Price, and the Buyer Pool

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Posted 01-30-2012 at 11:24 AM by Roy Sanborn

The successful sale of any home in todayís somewhat trying real estate market can be broken down into distinct components that are inexorably linked together; (1) marketing the property, (2) the available pool of willing buyers, and (3) price. Unfortunately, these three components often get blurred and home sellers get confused and discouraged when their home doesnít sell. They always ask why are so few buyers looking, why has it been on the market so long, and why is no one at least making an offer? Any offer!
It is logical that if you have a property for sale and you market it correctly, at the correct price, that you will eventually get a buyer. Thatís the way it always has worked. So what has changed? Well for one thing, there are a whole lot fewer buyers in the swimming pool today. Thatís no secret. So what do you do to increase your odds of finding a buyer. The answer really lies with the proper marketing of the home and the price it is offered at.

Buyers donít generally fall from the sky, although sometimes it appears to be that way. Some have called it divine intervention when one miraculously appears. In reality, buyers are found through the marketing of a home no matter how ineptly or professionally it is done. There was a time when you could put a handmade cardboard sign on your lawn and you could sell the place over the weekend. Those times are long gone and may never return. Ineptness doesnít work very well anymore unless you put an unbelievably low price on a property. Selling a home today has gotten very competitive and complicated.

The problem is that most sellers donít know, or understand, how homes are marketed to begin with, let alone which methods are effective. Understanding exactly what your agency is going to do for you and comparing their program to others is very important. It is impossible to assess whether a buyer exists for your home unless you know for sure that your property is being seen by EVERYONE THAT MIGHT BE LOOKING FOR A HOME. Not only that, it must be marketed correctly and in the most positive and professional way possible. Properties that are promoted with a few fuzzy pictures, poor lighting, and even poorer composition combined with vague or incomplete descriptions of the property itself wonít get you far. If your agent relies on local newspaper ads as his primary print advertising component you should plan on living in your home a long, long time. Today you need professional grade photography, full color promotional material, national internet exposure on as many realty sites as possible, social media exposure, color print ads, video, and more. Reports can be provided to home sellers showing the number of times buyers see their home on the internet. So if plenty of people are looking at a property on line but not calling to see it in person, what should the seller conclude? Sellers also need to be very conscious of feedback from agents and buyers that have seen their property.

That being said, if you feel confident that your property is being seen by EVERONE THAT MIGHT BE LOOKING FOR A HOME, and no buyer comes forth to even make an offer, you can probably safely conclude that your price is very likely too high for the current market. If so, it is time to bite the proverbial bullet, swallow your pride, and reduce the price of your home to where it will attract an offer. Generally speaking, there is a buyer for every home at the right price.

Hereís something to think about on pricing. Last year, out of the 773 homes that sold, 50 sold in a week or less. They sold at 97.5% of the original asking price and at an average of 85% of assessed value (based on those providing tax assessments in the MLS). The 61 homes that sold in 8 to 14 days were at 95% of the original asking price and at an average of 88% of assessed value. The 78 homes that sold in 15 to 31 days sold at 94% of the original asking price and 90% of assessed value. It is no surprise that many sales took a lot longer. There were 398 properties that were on the market over 90 days before finding a buyer. These properties sold at 90% of the original list price and at 91% of assessed value. So it appears the better the price, the quicker the sale. You might also argue that you can get more for a property if you list high and play the "let's negotiate" game. There were also 1,062 properties that had their listings expire without selling in 2011óI wonder if they were all playing that game?

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