When a homeowner in Falls Church, VA… wants to get a house sold, I ask them all a “what is the most important goal in selling your house”? There are always 2 answers that are at the top of the list. 1. “Get the most money possible out of the home.” 2. “Sell the home quickly and with as little headache as possible.”
Of course there are other answers. Some people do not want to do any work on the home. Some people do not want it to be shown for one reason or another. Some people would rather sell to a builder to get a long “rent-back” period.
But at the end of the day, selling a home is a huge financial and emotional decision. Getting the highest possible market value is the name of the game. You are selling because you have plans with the money you have been so diligently paying off. Maybe it will buy another home across the country, or maybe you are buying a bigger home. Maybe you have that home already picked out! The quicker you can get the equity out of the home, the sooner you can use your money to fund the new dream. Maybe its somewhere tropical, maybe its somewhere with a new exciting job, maybe it’s a step-back and a new beginning. Either way selling this home that you are in will get you to that next chapter in your life.
Ok, lets get to the point of the article. How do you sell your house as fast as possible no matter if you live in Falls Church VA or another Tysons VA suburb? And how can be it done quickly? I focus almost exclusively on listings. I know housing markets. I know how houses sell because I have seen it and been involved both as an investor and an agent. I am going to go over the 3 most important facets of selling a home. And then I will tell you why we can do this. Guaranteed. Or you get money. And if money were not important, you probably wouldn’t be reading this.
1. Price to the market (and at times, incentivize!)
To sell something, it is smart to put yourself in the shoes of the person who is buying what you have. Keep in mind this is the information age, and that includes housing market data. Buyers know what your neighbors sold for at any given time. Most know what an updated house costs vs. a fixer upper, and if they don’t 90 minutes of online research can give them a close answer.
There is one thing that buyers are usually behind on: the current state of the market. I am talking what it is doing right this second. Most know the general trends from the news, but you cannot google “it is a buyers or sellers market right now in Falls Church, VA.” and get real expert relative results. You have to work with an agent to do this. One who looks at the market daily and is active.
With that said, you should be using a full time active agent to price your home. Ask them how they came up with that price. Ask them what the market is doing in you neighborhood. Real estate markets are hyper local, thats why the national news reporting on housing does not give you a good idea of what the market is doing on your street. New luxury homes in Falls Church could be selling like crazy, while condos in Falls Church could be sitting on the market for much longer.
If it is a buyers market you should be pricing slightly below comps, and keep a close eye out on the competition. The more attractive the price, the more likely you are to put urgency in the buyer. In a buyers market buyers think that they have all the time in the world. The longer the home sits on the market, the more time they think they have. If you can start the home at a very competitive price you will get more money out of your buyer. Period.
In a sellers market there will be less competition. In a very low inventory situation, you can price aggressively at the top of the comps, slightly above in cases where you have a unique feature or updates. Your house is going to get shown A TON in the first weekend. If you have very little competition, and you don’t get at least one offer quickly, something is off about the house. You need to figure out what it is and immediately make an adjustment or repair. How will you know? Get your agent to consistently communicate with other agents and figure these things out.
a great alternative to a price drop is a buyer or agent incentive. If the home is well priced but the market is particularly slow, you can save money by offering a higher commission to the buyer agent or offer closing cost help to the buyer. I have found that often $5k in a bonus or closing cost incentive works better than a $10k price drop. This strategy has saved my sellers money in the past.
2. Fix and Stage (or don’t) to your audience
You may have heard: “staged homes sell faster for more money”. Staging companies have graphs to go along with it. However, most the data they are using are for higher end homes in the $750k+ range. If you are selling a luxury home, and have the budget for it, staging is a good idea. If you are selling a home that needs some work, and you simply don’t have the budget to do any, do not stage! Some people are simply very good decorators with tasteful furniture. There is no point in them hiring a stager either. Some homes are also better left vacant because they will appear bigger. It all depends.
As far as doing updates, this also depends on your neighborhood. If you are in a neighborhood like Pimmit Hills, VA and you have an older home, DO NOT UPDATE A SINGLE ITEM. A large portion of your buyers will either be extensively remodeling or building new. If you have a large home with an older kitchen in a neighborhood filled with granite and tile, then you should probably update. With the right contractor, you will make money doing so.
In nearly all homes, you should fix maintenance items. Leaky toilets, old stains in ceilings, holes in drywall, paint and carpet, etc. Ask an agent if they have a contractor! I italicize this because by doing this you will be getting the “volume” pricing, active agents will be able to save you money especially on smaller jobs like this. Some will even get paid at settlement.
3. Make sure the home is PROPERLY marketed
I talked briefly about buyers searching online. Every year the amount of buyers that are finding their home online goes up. I often go to meet with sellers, who tell me another agent told them an exotic marketing method. “We will get flyers for your home in every embassy and even the white house!”. That sounds impressive. But let me ask you this: how would you search for your home? Right. Online. Me too. I cannot remember the last time I made a decision to buy something based on a flyer. Let alone an asset the size of a house, I don’t care if the president himself handed it to me.
Internet strategy is by far the most important. Ask your agent what they are doing online. GOOGLE YOUR AGENT! You will be able to tell by the quality of their online profiles and website whether they do business online.
Perhaps the #1 mistake agents make is not selling to other agents with buyers. This is the most important next to the internet. Agents have qualified buyers, and will alert them of homes they think they will like before the buyer can find them themselves. Agents are also your best source of feedback about your house and what can be done to get that magic offer.
Even if you agent has the ability to generate massive interest in a property, it means close to nothing without good follow up from the agent. Ask how quickly buyer inquiries online are contacted. Ask about what is being done to follow up with an agent who shows interest.
At the time of this article, we are rolling out our new “guaranteed sold” program for certain zip codes. Who knows, in the future it may be for all of Northern Virginia!
It is simple. We will sell your house in 45 days less on the market or pay you $5,000!
I think the time is overdue that agents had some accountability to do the best possible job for you. We are putting our money where are mouth is. Obviously some terms will apply. We cannot sell your $500k house for $580k. But we can guarantee that you will be getting the top value the current market will allow. Contact us today and call 703-655-5738 to set up a free consultation.
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