Remember those days of multiple offers? Lines of buyers outside the door of your latest listing? Those days are over in most markets as mortgage rates steadily test the 7% level and buyers grow increasingly skittish about a recession.
But you have a listing that has to move and you want to get the best price for your sellers. What are you to do?
First thing to do is remember that you’ve been here before, selling in a market that required more than posting a listing and waiting for buyers to bid up the price of the home you’re selling. You have to go back to basics to succeed in a market of higher mortgage rates.
Ensuring that you receive the best price for your client means paying attention to the market – and thinking like a homebuyer. Many homebuyers are looking at today’s mortgage rates and will house hunt with extra care. Some buyers will think that they will refinance into a lower mortgage rate soon, while others are wondering if they should wait for the ‘bubble’ to burst on home prices.
As an experienced agent working with a motivated home seller, you must take those buyers into account.
If you do these five things, agents will bring you the homebuyer your seller wants.
Price the Home to Sell
You want the highest price for your client. Buyers want a good deal. Setting the right price for your home from day-one is the key to a successful sale in a high mortgage-rate market.
Put together a solid and realistic home valuation. It will do you no good to let the seller’s emotion and perhaps unrealistic price expectations lead you to setting an unrealistic price. The home will only sit on the market, perhaps souring the seller on your value.
Increase Curb Appeal
Convince your homeowner that curb appeal is worth the investment. Even if the home price hits the mark, an agent bringing a client to a home that lacks curb appeal is going to wonder what other things about the home have been neglected and communicate that point to the buyer. A home is an investment inside and outside.
Who hasn’t driven by a home and noticed how beautiful it was on the house and wondered how amazing it must look on the inside? That’s curb appeal – you want to give a potential buyer a reason to go inside your home.
What could you ask a seller to do? While painting a home is likely out of the question, giving the exterior a good power wash can make a big difference. Putting down fresh mulch also sends a message of care that can translate into a buyer’s psychology about the interior and how well it has been kept.
Curb appeal doesn’t mean you have to hire professional landscape artists to trim your hedges, but if your home has a front yard you want to have grass that is nicely cut and an exterior that shows that you have taken care of the home.
Enter the Staged Home
No matter how immaculate your seller keeps his home, good staging can mean the difference from a quick contract and sale, to a home sitting on the market. A staged home shows differently to a buyer, inviting them to imagine living in the home.
Home staging is the more than decluttering – it’s the preparation of your client’s home to increase its appeal to the highest number of potential buyers, resulting in a property sale more quickly and for more money. Keep a list of high-quality and different types of home stagers in your contacts, and this part of the job will be a breeze.
Taking Quality Photos
All agents are carrying around the latest smartphone and can take great pictures of their friends, families and flowers. But most agents are not professional photographers, and if you want to sell your client’s home fast, don’t skimp on quality photos.
Showing the home via great photos is as important as curb appeal. Every agent had a client who sends them listings of homes they’ve seen online, impressed by the photos. To make sure your client’s home receives the same kind of homebuyer interest, make an investment in quality photographers.
If paying for quality photography is not part of your marketing budget, it should be. If the photos of your seller’s home don’t wow buyers, buyers who are already skittish about affordability because of mortgage rates, may not even consider it, no matter how well priced. They could think dark and grainy photos are actual representations of the home.
This is where home staging can begin to make the important difference between a home that sells quickly at the asking price or better, or one that sits on the market.
Keep in mind, not every room needs to have multiple photos posted online. But the primary bedroom, kitchen and bathrooms should be presented from multiple angles, giving buyers as many looks as possible, increasing the chances that they will schedule an appointment for a closer look.
Be Open to Off-Hour Showings
Last-minute home showings are a reality. Not all homebuyers are able to view your seller’s home at the most convenient time — especially now with more employers asking staff to return to the office. Work with your seller to be flexible. That temporary inconvenience can lead to a firm sale.
Offer to help lower their mortgage rate with buy-down assistance
Along with important comments about the home included in the notes section of your online listing, consider offering help with buying down the mortgage rate for buyers making a strong offer. Buying down the mortgage rate can be a cost-effective way to differentiate your seller’s home from others on the market.
The high mortgage rate market we’re in requires a back-to-basics approach. Following these time-tested steps will help get a contract at a great price.
Terri Robinson is a real estate agent with RE/MAX Distinctive in Ashburn, Virginia.