5 Ways to Prepare For the Spring Market

by Brandie Malay Siavelis

It is hard to believe it is already 2014, but it is almost harder to believe we have a full year of upswing recovery under our real estate belts.

At this point, I’m sure sellers have caught wind of the recovery and how the ball is now bouncing in their favor; however, buyers are very savvy, and they know when a home is a value and when it is not.

So, let’s get back to the basics and talk about the five most important things you need to do when listing your client’s home:

1. Pricing – I know I sound like a broken record, but do not over-price your client’s home. You’re doing yourself and everyone else a disservice. Yes, I understand inventory is at an all-time low in some areas, but that doesn’t mean you won the lottery. You have to look at the comps. The majority of buyers still need to obtain a mortgage to buy, so you will need to be in line with what’s recently closed in your neighborhood in order for your home to appraise. Otherwise, you will be renegotiating your selling price, unless you can convince your buyers to bring additional money to the closing table.

2. Staging – Staging your listing is just as important now in a seller’s market as it is when it’s a buyer’s market. The better your home shows, the more money in your client’s pocket. Staged homes historically sell faster and for more money. Also, staging isn’t just for vacant properties. In fact, sometimes it’s even more critical when the sellers reside in the home. Everyone has different tastes, and you don’t want to impose your taste on potential buyers – which brings me to my next point.

3. Neutralize – There are many facets of this when it comes to selling your listing. The obvious is to paint the home neutral colors. Get rid of reds, deep jewel tones and the like. How your client lives is NOT how you should sell. It’s fine if they like tons of animal prints, but many buyers are probably not looking for the same thing. Also, people are inherently voyeurs. They are nosy. They want to look at personal pictures and figure out if they know someone. Take any and all personal photos out of their frames. All of them. I don’t care if your client’s baby is the next face for Gerber. I don’t care if they had the wedding of the century. Get rid of them all. And that goes for any and all religious, holiday and political materials. Don’t give anyone any reason to eliminate your home.

4. Going it Alone – Ah yes, the inevitable FSBO (For Sale By Owner). They come out swinging in a sellers market, but there is a reason that more than 70 percent of them end up listing with a full service brokerage – they don’t have the ability to show their homes at all the variable times the buyers want to get in, because they already have full-time jobs. Even if the seller works from home, the buyers do not want the sellers to be present. They want the opportunity to look at the home without having a “watchful eye” over them. They want to absorb the space. The last thing they want to be shown is the new cat door the seller installed, or that they updated the kitchen 15 years ago. Keep all these things in mind when pitching your services to FSBO clients.

5. Marketing – This is where you show your value as a professional. You know how important it is to take great photos, have floor plans drawn up and connect with the brokerage community about how great your home is for their buyers; in other words, we’re not just slapping the client’s home on the MLS.

The goal when selling your client’s home should be a simple one – selling the property for the most amount of money and in the shortest amount of time. The key, though, is to not “buy” your client’s listing, meaning, telling the client what they want to hear in terms of pricing, and in essence buying the listing. Do right by yourself and tell the client what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Save yourself the time, money and heartache.

Best of luck and happy selling!

Brandie-MalayBrandie Malay is an award-winning Realtor with @properties. She is also a nationally recognized real estate expert and has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox Business News and the Today Show.

She currently has a show, “Property Envy,” on Bravo. Her past shows include “Designed to Sell” and  “Hidden Potential” on HGTV.

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