Wouldn’t it be nice to sell your home without the hassle of exposing it to the public? Selling off-market works occasionally, but most sellers who try it eventually end up having to put their home on the market. This wastes time and could delay the sale.
There are other drawbacks to trying to sell without full market exposure. One is that it’s difficult to prepare your home for sale if prospective buyers are coming through. You have to stop work, and buyers see a work in progress.
It doesn’t make a good impression if your home is shown before it’s ready. Buyers remember what they see, not what you tell them it will look like when you finish painting a room or replacing outdated light fixtures.
Sellers in a desirable Oakland, Calif., neighborhood were asked by neighbors who needed a larger home if they could see the house before it went on the market. The buyers were so turned off by the poor appearance that they not only didn’t buy the house, but they didn’t even want to see it when it came on the market. So you can lose buyers by letting them see the house before it’s ready.
A potentially more serious downside of selling without exposing your home to the market is that you’ll never know what it could have sold for with the benefit of promotion. You might be leaving money on the table.
HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Effective marketing is one of the essential components of realizing the best price possible for your home. The other two are properly preparing your home for sale and pricing it right for the market.
You’ll get the best results by listing with a real estate agent who has a marketing plan that includes broad exposure. Find out exactly what an agent will do to encourage buyers to look at your home.
More than 85 percent of homebuyers today use the Internet as a part of their home search. Make sure that when your home goes on the market there are plenty of good photos that show your home off to advantage. Studies have shown that buyers ignore online listings that don’t have photos.
In order for buyers to connect with your home, the photos should be laid out in such a way that the buyers feel they are walking through your home. You don’t want to convey that the home has an odd floor plan by placing photos in a haphazard order.
It can’t be emphasized too much how important it is that the photos of your home are good-quality photos that represent the property accurately. Yard and view photos will help sell your home, or photos of any special feature your home has that can be displayed photographically, like a built-in outdoor barbecue.
Video is becoming a popular way to introduce buyers to a home. However, just as with still photos, poor videos can do more harm than good. Make sure that whoever takes the video is skilled. Some photos and videos look like they were taken by someone who was on the run, with no attention to whether the subject was in focus or properly lit.
Photos and videos capture what’s in view, so make sure your home is uncluttered and staged for sale before photos are taken.
The latest marketing tool that appeals to buyers who want information now is the QR code. Your agent should create a website for your home with its own URL and QR code. A rider with the website address and QR code can be attached to the real estate sign in front of your home.
THE CLOSING: Buyers with smartphones will scan a QR code to receive pertinent information about your home quickly.
Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of "House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers" and "Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide."
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