If you’re considering selling now that the housing market outlook is improving, take a few moments to consider how buyers have changed what they look for in the home buying process. During the past six years, changes in how buyers communicate, share information, research, and decide what they’re looking for, mean that you need to provide them with the information and buying experience they seek. We can guide you in each of these areas because we know the strategies that are working best in your home’s neighborhood.
Today’s younger homebuyers have survived the housing turbulence just as you have. They have watched prices go up and down and up again, foreclosures rise, interest rates drop, rules and requirements from mortgage lenders change, and the availability of information increase. According to USA Today, they are beginning to buy, but they are both smart and cautious. Most of all, they are used to waiting. Research supports the idea that Gen X and Y homebuyers begin investigating as much as a year and a half ahead of when they’re ready to buy. That indicates you won’t find a sense of desperation: instead, you’ll find that they will research, compare and make careful offers. Since we are professionals with inside information on the local market, we can help you navigate the new terrain.
Set the Right Price
A wrong price can derail a home sale, adding days to its time on the market and making it less desirable to savvy buyers. The mistake many sellers make is setting the price too high. Of course, you want to get the most from your home that you can, but if you choose too high a price at first, a potential buyers’ online search criteria might exclude it. Assuming buyers will make a lower offer from which you can negotiate does not take into account the vast amount of data now available to buyers. These days, homebuyers can see what the home originally sold for, what price all the houses in the area most recently sold at, if the home was ever a rental, and a vast amount of information about both the property and the neighborhood.
Conversely, lowballing the price in hopes of a quick sale make turn off many prospective buyers. Their inherent skepticism will make them suspect potential problems that they have neither the time nor inclination to deal with. Since we deal with pricing information all day long, rely on us to help you set the right price to get your home sold.
Pay Attention to Images
Online shoppers make quick decisions based on the images they see. If the photos of your home are blurry, busy, cluttered, or dark, they may pass over them in search of home postings with better, brighter photos. Worse yet is a listing with no photos at all. Gen X and Gen Y homebuyers are skeptical of listings without images. We can guide you in how to prepare your home for a photo shoot. Remember, for many modern buyers, the online images are their version of an open house, so take time to put away personal objects, clean windows to make the inside brighter, and pay attention to curb appeal. When online images don’t satisfy homebuyers, you won’t get them to look further.
Staging Your Home
The information age and reality TV have changed younger buyer’s perceptions of how a home should look. Be sure your home looks it’s best before you put it on the market. According to Money Smarts, savvy online shoppers may use older images via Google Street View or Bing 3D to check out curb appeal, nearby homes or businesses, and to see if the home shows improvements. Check out the street view yourself by searching on your address in Google or Bing and choosing the various views. If the street view is out of date—such as old fencing or exteriors, overgrown landscaping, or empty lots, make sure your description addresses the improvements and changes.
Put yourself behind the buyer’s computer screen. That is, make sure you know that the buyer is seeing before you put your property on the market. Remember that younger buyers’ caution means they arm themselves with information before they make an offer. We can help you address any issues relating to how your home shows up in searches, images, and other online locations, so give us a call and we can get started.