“It helps drive your price up and keeps everyone honest,” Marrion says.
Don’t price too high from the start. Even in a hot seller’s market, an asking price that’s too high can keep buyers from even looking at your property. Overpricing your home from the get-go will cause the property to lose momentum, which can be the biggest killer for real estate sales success.
“You don’t want the market to hesitate,” Scott says.
Of course, real estate agents are aware that it can be nerve-wracking for sellers to concede to a lower asking price than they want to see in the end. This is where hiring a real estate agent you trust is key, Marrion says.
“It’s not natural for [sellers] to accept listing their property for a little bit less, but that whole less-is-more strategy works in today’s market,” Marrion says.
Do what’s best in the current market. Your real estate agent will likely have a strategic plan for the sale of your home based on what works best in the market for achieving top dollar. Depending of the right price range for your home, that could mean anything from hosting multiple open houses to presenting it as a pocket listing.
Currently in the Boston market, Marrion’s strategy of setting a date for offer submissions in advance is proving successful. However, he doesn’t expect it to last. “When the market changes, we’re not going to be doing that. Right now, less is more,” Marrion says.
As the market changes, caused by additional inventory or a drop in the number of active buyers, for example, agents and brokerage firms will adjust their strategy to fit demand and buyer preference.
Don’t assume you can only sell in spring. If you’re on a tight moving schedule or you have an eye on buying a home currently on the market, you don’t have to hold off until the traditional selling season in spring and summer.
Especially if you’re in a market where buyers are still outnumbering homes on the market, a sale for the price you want is still feasible.
“The buyer-to-new-listing ratio is actually better over wintertime than it is during the spring and summer,” Scott says.
Because markets are strapped for listings particularly in fall and winter, active buyers will be eager to see the newest property for sale. “All the energy is about the new listing coming on the market,” Scott says.
Do listen to your agent for home prep. Curb appeal, clutter and room updates are all things most sellers are going to hear about from their real estate agent – and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Regardless of how fast homes are receiving offers, your home needs to look stellar to get the price you want.
Not everyone has the money to put in hardwood floors or replace countertops, and that’s OK. The most valuable changes to make are ensuring you have a well-manicured front yard and pleasant entry and clean rooms that allow buyers to focus on the home itself, not your stuff.
“The buyers feel like a million bucks walking up to your house, I don’t care what your price range is,” Scott says.
Don’t lead with contingencies. Tight seller’s markets throughout the U.S. mean it may be hard for you to find a new house to buy without getting stuck in a bidding war of your own, so you may need some extra time if your house sells fast.
But Marrion stresses you should not make the sale contingent on the purchase of a new home for you. “It actually devalues the property, and this is the best way to avoid that,” he says.
Instead, Marrion says he’ll instead include a 60-day use and occupancy clause – noted in the original listing on the MLS so it’s not a surprise in negotiations. The limited leaseback option gives you the option of an extra 60 days to find a house, and the period also helps avoid any potential problems with the buyer’s mortgage approval.
A buffer of 60 days should be enough to let you find your own next home, or at least establish a plan for other temporary housing while you continue your search.