There’s a good article today on Yahoo, Selling a House in a Down Market: 5 Tips. Some of the tips, like pricing your house realistically for the current market, are common sense and have been listed in many articles recently. But the author of article really emphasized the importance of marketing your house as a "turnkey", not a "turkey." I couldn’t agree more.
I’m really amazed at how, in this very competitive market for sellers, so many houses aren’t prepped for sale at all. A fresh coat of paint, decluttering the interior, making minor repairs, trimming the hedges and mowing the lawn can do wonders to increase the appeal of a house. And I really agree with the article’s author that sellers should consider getting a pre-sale home inspection, so they can either take care of repair items, or have estimates available to potential buyers about the cost of repairs.
Sellers, you can have the best real estate agent in the county plugging your house, but the tried and true comment when showing a less-than-great house, "This could be soooo cute if you just…", well, just isn’t working. Buyers aren’t looking for fixers right now, unless they’re priced dirt cheap, and roof leaks or wood rot are the kiss of death.
Agents taking out buyers will give a house the benefit of doubt for the first or even second showing. But we want to show attractive houses that are ready to sell, and if we get negative reactions a couple of times, a house moves way down the list of places to show. And once a house has picked up a negative reputation, its hard to break it even with substantial price reductions. So sellers should get ahead of, rather than behind, the eightball and make their houses a delight to show.
But sellers also shouldn’t assume that primping will compensate for an overpriced house. Some pots of mums on the front porch and a freshly painted front door will not get a buyer to pay $400,000 for a house that’s really worth $300,000.