It probably comes as no surprise to most people that the Utah housing market has been hot lately, especially for sellers. The limited inventory of homes for sale in many areas, combined with solid demand from buyers, has tilted the market in the seller’s favor. In some communities it’s not unusual to see multiple offers for homes and bids over the asking price.
But even in this kind of a market, sellers can still get the short end of the stick if they aren’t careful. As we kick off the fall home buying season, listing your home right now may be a great idea given the high demand for properties and shortage of listings. But it is important to take certain steps to help make the home selling process go more smoothly and to enable you to get the best results possible.
Here are a few tips that might help:
1. Pick a highly qualified real estate professional to get the job done. Selling is a big decision with significant financial and emotional components. It can pay to find a professional REALTOR® with experience in your area and a thorough knowledge of the market and selling strategies. They can help ease the work and stress that goes into selling a home and help you achieve your goals.
2. Be the buyer. We all think our home is great. After all, it’s where we live and have created so many memories. But when you think about how to price and show your home, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and be a bit pickier about your home’s appearance. Critically assess how your home compares to other homes in your area and ask yourself what would you be willing to pay for it if you had others to choose from?
3. Don’t push your luck on pricing. It’s natural to think that anyone who enters your home during an open house or other broker showings would be willing to pay top dollar. However pricing a home too high above the current market could turn away buyers and increase the possibility that the home will sit on the market for a longer period of time. Depending upon the market, you may end up having to lower the asking price at a later point in time to be able to sell.
4. Too low of a price can backfire, too. Listing your home below market price may draw in more potential buyers and may increase the possibility that you will receive multiple offers. However setting the asking price too much below the current market comes with some risks as well. You might not get as many offers as you think, and the best offer might be lower than you had planned. Buyers might also become skeptical about buying a home that is listed well below the rest of the market.
5. Keep an eye on the competition. Going to other open houses can give you a better sense of how your home compares to others on the market. Looking at the upgrades in their kitchens, the amenities throughout their home, and the size of their yards can help you gauge where your home fits in the local market spectrum.
6. Make a good first impression. Help homebuyers imagine themselves living in your home by taking down family photos and mementos, removing large or clunky furniture, and generally decluttering your home. Consider using a professional stager who can clear out the clutter and find just the right furniture for each room. Don’t forget to clean up the yard, prune back bushes, and plant attractive flowers. Even in a seller’s market, making the right impression can help get a better price.
7. The highest offer isn’t always the best offer. It may be tempting to simply accept the highest offer for your home in a multiple offer situation, but sometimes it’s better to go with a lower one depending upon the other terms in the offer. All cash buyers and those with very large down payments who have been pre-approved for the loan balance may be stronger candidates to be able to actually close. Additionally, buyers who take your needs into account in their offer, such as allowing you to retain possession of the property for a short period of time after escrow closes may be providing a better over-all proposal for your needs.