Ways to Decrease Your Home’s Time on the Market

As seen in the Edwardsville Intelligencer's "Real Estate Matters" column. When it’s time to sell your home the main goals are for you to find a new home for your family and to sell yours quickly for a smooth transition from one home to the other. In most cases in our community, homes sell rather quickly. But there are times when a home will sit on the market longer than expected. As real estate professionals, we do our best to counsel our clients on ways to price and prepare a home most effectively so that it sells quickly and at a price suitable to all parties involved.

Following are tips we use when working with homeowners as they consider putting their home on the market. In most cases, these tips ensure a timely, efficient sale.

The very first step in deciding whether or not to list your home is to find a trusted real estate professional. You may consider asking friends and neighbors who they recommend as a real estate agent and do your research on the agent and how well they market homes. You may consider interviewing several different agents to make sure their personality is a good fit with yours. Not all homes sell the moment they hit the market so you will need to be sure you are able to communicate long term with your agent as you work together to sell your home.

Also remember to look at the reputation of the real estate company your agent represents. Are they well represented in the community? Do they have a large portfolio of homes for sale? These factors are good indicators that the company itself has the proper resources to sell homes quickly and efficiently and has most likely built their business by referral and quality work in the market.

Probably the most important factor in selling your home quickly is to price it right for the neighborhood and local real estate climate. If a home is competitively priced or even undervalued, it will be a target for potential buyers who may attempt to bid against each other, driving up the final sale price. Determining a competitive price when first listing the home gives you every advantage to sell it as quickly as possible. Your real estate agent will be able to do competitive research of comparative homes to make the most accurate recommendation of a listing price. Your agent’s knowledge of your neighborhood and previous sales in the market allows them to determine an educated price point and hopefully one that will sell your home quickly.

If a home is overpriced, there will be less interest, which could lead to it sitting on the market. The longer a home is on the market the more prospective buyers will see its inability to sell and may conclude there is something wrong with the home.

Once you've established the right price, establishing and maintaining strong curb appeal throughout the entire sale process will make a great first impression on potential buyers. You will gain interest quickly if the outside of your home is kept clean and inviting. Always make sure you are keeping up on landscaping duties, while setting up your front porch to attract interested buyers driving by for the first time. Consider adding flower boxes, painting the front door and adding freshly painted patio furniture to the front porch or colorful throw pillows to make the home more inviting.

A home that is de-cluttered, clean and organized during its entire time on the market is sure to impress during home showings and open houses. Remember, you want to keep your home in pristine condition in case a last minute showing pops up. Potential buyers don’t like to wait to see a home and you do not want to show it unless it is clean and de-cluttered. Also remember, most buyers are generally looking for a blank canvas on which they can see the potential of every room and impose their own personality and tastes. Freshly painted rooms in a neutral color such as grey or tan are very appealing to prospective buyers. Remove family photos, personal items, and selective decor from each room without cluttering your closets. Storage space is a major bonus in every house, therefore always try and organize closet space. Investing in a storage locker is a great way to decrease the clutter inside your home during the sale process.

A common misconception among sellers is by making major upgrades before selling, you increase the value of your home. Focus on issues that might come up in a housing inspection. For example, replacing an old water heater, worn roof, or leaky faucet will avoid red flags during inspection. Completing these tasks prior to listing your home will help save you time and prevent stress.

One of the last steps to ensure a fast sale is making sure you and your real estate agent have a strong marketing plan in place before listing the home. Real estate agents in today’s industry should have a strong knowledge of how to draw interest from prospective buyers online through social media and website listings. High quality photos, a video virtual tour and a well-written description that sells the character and charm of your home are essential to a quality listing.

Now that your home is drawing interest and ready to be shown, always try to be flexible, patient, and follow the guidance of your Realtor®. Try to adjust your own schedule to accommodate potential buyers wanting to see your house. Homes on the market can suffer from a shortage of showings because of time constraints. Always keeping your home in great condition, and having the willingness to show on short notice is the key to decreasing your homes time on the market.

Buyers will absolutely appreciate you going the extra mile to make the best first impression possible. Try opening the draperies and turning your home’s lights on to create an inviting atmosphere. Showing your visitors you are excited about their interest in your home can only help impress a buyer.

Best of luck!

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