Note: This post was originally published August 26, 2020. It has since been updated and republished.
Market conditions are in a constant state of flux.
- When there is an abundance of unsold inventory (high supply, low demand) on the market, like we are seeing spring and summer of 2022, buyers tend to have the upper hand in negotiations.
- But when there is a shortage of available inventory (low supply, high demand) on the market, like we saw during the pandemic, conditions tend to be favorable for sellers.
No matter what market conditions look like at the time you are reading this, if you want your home sold quickly and for top dollar, remember the three Ps:
Professional photography and a carefully worded public description of your property both go a long way but, in the end, the condition, location, and features of your home (weighed against its asking price) are ultimately what buyers will be considering.
That being said, it’s no secret that staged homes sell faster.
This doesn’t mean that you need to shell out tons of cash for new furniture, decor, paint, and accent pieces (although you certainly could do that).
But a home with fresh smells and a clean, minimalist look will be more attractive to potential buyers. And since you will need to vacate once your home sells, now is a great time to begin packing up personal items and putting them in storage.
Consider boxing up all non-essential personal effects in the home, such as:
- Framed photos
- Fridge magnets
- Magazines and newspapers
- Knickknacks and other small household objects
- Unneeded furniture
- Unused counter-top kitchen appliances
The odd piece of tasteful wall art or decorative item may add appeal but, when it doubt, remove it. Less is more.
Sellers are sometimes concerned that, by packing up their possessions, their home will look empty and unloved. Just the opposite is true. By reducing clutter and personal effects, it allows potential buyers to envision their own families inside the home.
Also, the less furniture in a room (as well as the fewer items out on the deck or in the yard), the bigger it tends to look.Does staging a home mean it will fetch a higher final selling price?Click To Tweet
I’m often asked if staging a home to sell means it will fetch a higher selling price.
Not directly, no.
Staging your home does not increase its fair market value. It may, however, result in more showings which, in turn, may result in more offers, causing it to sell faster. And, in the scenario where multiple offers come in at once, the chances of having buyers compete (think “bidding war”) could result in a higher final purchase price.
Even in the event that staging the home may not be possible for you, there are still basics you can do to make your home present better both in photos and in person.
- Avoid cooking smells
- Clean the litter box
- Wash and put away dishes
- Wipe down windows and surfaces
- Keep coats, hats, and shoes put away
- Have the lawn mowed
Those sorts of things.
There’s an old saying in real estate that a home priced right is half-sold, and I couldn’t agree more.
Fair market value — a concept worthy of its own separate in-depth discussion — is approximated using a number of factors. To name a few:
- Market trends
- Supply and demand
- Comparable sales
- Proximity (location)
- Similarity age
- Similar features
- Similar condition
To make a long story short, there is no magic formula for determining the correct list price.There is no magic formula for determining the correct list price.Click To Tweet
Quite understandably, most sellers want the absolute best final purchase price possible. It is tempting, even once your agent has shown you recent market comparables (often referred to as “comps”), to insist on listing for more, hoping that right buyer will come along and give you what you’re asking. This, however, is not a sound strategy.
The best strategy is almost always to list your home for close to fair market value.
Overvaluing your property is unlikely to fetch you a higher final selling price. In fact, it may hurt the final selling price if your home sits on the market too long or you end up needing to significantly reduce the asking price multiple times.
When it comes to establishing fair market value, seek guidance from a realtor with knowledge of your specific neighborhood or market.
Avoid the temptation to valuate your own home. You may regularly scan new listings online and feel that you have a good sense of what homes sell for in your neighborhood. But remember that you only get access to list prices. You don’t get to see the final selling prices online, and the disparity between those numbers can be substantial.
You get the final say, of course. You can list your home for any price you choose. Just remember that we, as realtors, are paid on commission, meaning that our interests are aligned with yours. We want to sell your home as quickly as possible and for as much money as possible. If I realistically thought we could get $1 million for your home, I’d recommend listing it for that much.
But if I am suggesting that you list for closer to $425,000, there’s probably a very good reason for that.
Your home is staged and clean, you and your realtor have decided on a price, and your listing is about to hit the market. Now the third P comes into play — Promotion!
In other words, getting qualified buyers to take notice of your listing, schedule a viewing, and take decisive action (make a fair offer).
There is no silver bullet in terms of how to promote a residential listing. Every market and every property is different, which means that every marketing plan is going to be a little different. That said, here a few common methods realtors use to promote listings:
- Social media posts and paid ads
- Google ads (pay-per-click and similar)
- Attractive signage
- Professional photography
- Door-to-door canvassing
- Newspaper ads
- Open houses
- Direct mail (postcards or door hangers)
- Phone calls (client database)
- Email marketing (newsletter or similar)
- Blogging, podcasts, and other digital media
Before deciding on a realtor, be sure to ask how he or she plans to get your home sold. If he or she cannot give you a satisfactory answer, that should be a huge red flag.Before deciding on a realtor, be sure to ask how he or she plans to get your home sold.Click To Tweet
Also, be wary of answers that sound something like, “We’re going to put a for sale sign on the lawn and then wait for the phone to ring.”
There are more than 1,000 realtors in Niagara Region. You have options if you aren’t satisfied with the first answer you get.
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If you are thinking of selling your Niagara home and not already working with a realtor, would you consider contacting me? You can use the contact form on my website or call or text me at 905-626-8826. I would be happy to discuss Presentation, Pricing, and Promotion with you.
Brent is a sales representative with RE/MAX Niagara Realty Ltd., Brokerage. He’s the host of The Fort Erie Podcast and proud to call Fort Erie his home.