Column: Everything you need to do to sell your property in a falling market

Local real estate agent Freddy Marks gives step by step directions on best practices for selling your home

There are several strategic ways to elevate your home or property in order to reach a successful sale in today’s falling real estate market.

The first and ultimately most important strategic decision you will make is to seek out and hire an experienced, market aggressive realtor. You are looking for a high-energy, dynamic realtor with enthusiasm and a proven reputation. Seek referrals from family and friends and once you have a few qualified leads, contact the three individuals at the top of your list.

Ask each of these realtors to come to your property, have each of them put together a marketing evaluation and his/her specific action plan as to what he/she will do to sell your home. Make sure it’s in writing. If the realtor is “too busy” to physically come and view your home…well, you’ve just eliminated one name from your list.

The market evaluations you receive should compare your home with at least three currently active competitive listings, three recent competitive sales and possibly three competitive and now inactive listings that didn’t sell.

Drive over and check out these benchmark properties yourself to ensure the realtor has put your home in the right “ballpark” If you disagree, talk to your realtor about their evaluation. Once you’ve vetted all three choices, go with the realtor who has a experience, proven performance and a comprehensive action-plan for your home.

But be careful not to confuse impressive with unattainable. If your property appeals to overseas buyers, ensure your agent understands how to deal with questions of Feng Shui.

Translating literally to “wind and water”, Feng shui is a Chinese-originating philosophy in which a building’s exterior and interior elements, site placement and orientation, landscaping and so forth can and will deeply affect the building’s “luck”. The agent should be able to identify, and take advantage of benefits readily apparent to a Feng shui-aware buyer. Benefits, such as the number “8” in a street address, a high vista and an interior which doesn’t have a clear line of sight from front door to back (any good luck or fortune will flow right out the door).

List your home with your chosen realtor for a 60-day trial. If the realtor suggests you list with him or her for a longer period, tell him or her you will renew if, in your opinion, all the realtor’s written promises have meanwhile been adhered to and met all the previously agreed upon elements of the action plan. If not, you should then contact the second choice realtor on your list.

Express to your realtor that you wish to be kept informed of the sales progress at least once a week during the entire listing period. Every time the home is shown to prospective buyers, ensure the realtor informs you in advance and also gives you a feedback as to the viewer’s reaction to the home. Be actively involved in how your home is being represented and do everything you can to make your home’s first impression is unforgettable.

The second key strategy to implement in the successful sale of your home will be to price your home correctly. Yes, we all need and want the best price, as in the highest price, but be realistic. A home priced too high will only waste valuable time, energy and money as your listing stalls and you wait out any profits that you might have seen by acting quickly in the correct price range.

Based on your understanding of the competition, is the pricing realistic? This is particularly important in a market where prices are falling. If you must sell, price yourself at the bottom of the scale. Remember, If you are selling and buying at the same time, the buyer’s market which demands you sell 10 per cent less also allows you to turn around and buy for 10 per cent less. If you sell your $400,000 home for $360,000 for a $40,000 “loss”, you just as likely to buy the $600,000 home for $540,000 for a $60,000 reduction. You’re actually better off by $20,000

Key strategy three is to ensure that your listing receives maximum exposure and is advertised in such a way that it elevates your home/property and makes it stand out above all others. Make sure you supply your realtor with a complete and accurate description of your home/property and all of its stand out features. List every good point, every benefit, your property and your neighbourhood enjoys. Don’t be afraid of putting everything down, even if it stretches out to two or three pages. Today people want information. Spell out all the conveniences, which make your location different. Even such things as proximity to a hospital, police station or fire hall are important to people and just might make the difference to tip the scales in favour of your home.

Your realtor’s marketing action plan should include creating a cost effective marketing plan beginning with a detailed website listing and a listing brochure. Both should contain professional photographs and be available in both printed hard copy and online formats. Online advertising should be just as stunning and used in as many social media channels as your realtor effectively manages. Paying extra for positioning on web pages as well as in publications can make sure you get top of the page insertion and are noticed before your competition.

Maximize exposure by placing your home on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) and circulate your feature sheet to all competing real estate offices in your area. Remember that money spent on one large ad is not as cost effective as several smaller ads in multiple publications.

In conclusion, choose a highly qualified market aggressive realtor that will accurately value your home and strategically market the property. This will translate to a no-hassle sale faster in today waning real estate market.

– Freddy Marks, 3A Group with Sutton Agassiz/Harrison Hot Springs

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