In the not so distant past, it was simple: you decide to sell your house, you call a Realtor and list it and before too long or too many price reductions, somebody had decided to purchase your home. And, while the overall template is still the same, the details and rules of the game have changed drastically in the last couple of years in the Missoula, MT real estate market.
While it has always been important to make a home show its best prior to putting it on the MLS, it is much more important now than it has been in the past. In order to get a home sold in this difficult market, we give the following suggestions:
1. De-clutter your home. Sometimes it is really hard to see your own clutter, so get a second opinion. This is so important because clutter can make rooms feel smaller, and can also make it difficult for a buyer to visualize their own things in the room.
2. Clean your home. If you do not have time, hire someone.
3. Make repairs to make home look complete. This is always a difficult one, because it is hard to know where to start and where to stop. However, as a general rule of thumb, if something is broken, try to fix it without spending a lot of money doing so. The more things that appear non-functional, broken or in disarray, the less confidence a potential buyer has in the home and how it has been cared for/maintained.
4. Stage your home, if needed. Many of us live our day-to-day lives in much messier quarters than we would like to admit. We also may not see how a space in our own home could be used differently, or more effectively. We suggest getting a professional opinion and a fresh look from an outside viewpoint.
5. Purchase a one-year home warranty for the Buyer of your home. There are a number of companies that offer this, and for many you don’t have to pay for the warranty until you close on the home. In addition, there are some items you can be covered for during the period your home is listed (before it sells) as a Seller. These programs can make a Buyer feel much more at ease with what could go wrong or break in that first year of owning the home.
I think there is still a feeling out there that it is not necessary to stage, etc. because people are able to see past organizational things, and there is no reason to spend any unnecessary money on something, when the purchaser could have different taste and remodel or replace things to their liking anyway. In my opinion, today’s market demands that you make your home presentable and look like you actually want to sell it. There are a lot of choices for Buyers to make, and price is not the only factor at play. If you want your home to sell, you need to pay attention to the way it shows to a potential purchaser.
I was showing a number of homes to some people from out of state this past week, and made a point to pay attention to all the comments and thoughts they had along the process, because who is better able to judge how a Buyer will search for properties than Buyers themselves? I noticed that properties that were very difficult to view (such as homes that had very stringent showing instructions, or would not allow anyone to look at the home because of personal schedule, etc.) were homes that these Buyers just pulled off the list. Other things that stood out to these particular people were listings that had too many exclusions of items, or statements such as “the home is sold as-is”. Again, when competition is strong and there is a lot of inventory, it is important that listings show in a way that tells potential Buyers that owners actually want to sell their home.