Let’s assume that your home is in good shape and that it is clean and staged to appeal to most buyers.
Your Realtor has priced it competitively.
You’ve had showings. And you’re still waiting for a serious offer.
Maybe there’s more you can do. Maybe selling your home faster for a better price is as simple as making friends, or more accurately, nurturing friendships. Here’s what I mean.
Befriend the Buyer
No one likes a friend who’s needy, demanding or deceptive.
You don’t have to become friends with every prospective buyer, but being friendly will go a long way towards building trust. Generally it’s unwise to meet the buyer, but you can still look like the good guy by being honest about your property in the MLS listing and when you respond genuinely and promptly to any questions or concerns they have.
Be honest in your staging techniques as well. Never hide serious problems behind furnishings or landscaping. This kind of trickery has been known to erode trust between seller and buyer, and often blow the entire deal out of the water.
Another way to befriend the buyer is to make sure all the necessary paperwork is available and accurate. Buyers are impressed when a home seller has records of repairs and upgrades, user manuals and warranties for major appliances, and receipts from paid utilities and taxes. Not only does it build faith in the homeowner’s thoroughness, but it helps prospective buyers predict their actual costs.
As soon as buyers show interest in a home -- whether they read the specs online, hear about your place from their agent, or see the for sale sign when they drive by -- they form a mental image of you, the seller. You want that image to be favorable.
To that end, keep your home clean and repaired. Cleanliness matters. It makes people feel good. It helps them think clearly. It gives them confidence.
Make it easy for them to tour the home, even on short notice. Everyone wants a friend who’s obliging.
|Neighbors close by can help you sell your home, so don't keep them in the dark.|
Be courteous. When you receive an offer, any offer, always counter with your own offer. A friend never rebuffs or ignores you.
You don’t want to reveal too much about yourself, especially anything that could encourage the buyer to chip away at your asking price or make a low ball offer. If you are getting a divorce, or have to move by a certain date, or are nearing foreclosure, that’s none of their business.
Most people, in the absence of real information, will fill in the blanks with wishful thinking. They want to believe you are an good, hardworking, ordinary citizen wanting to sell your home to them at a fair price.
Befriend the Realtor
Although selling a home is a little like running a small business, it’s also like cultivating a friendship. You can’t be inconsiderate and expect your Realtor to behave like a saint. Be polite when you talk. Be professional when you make decisions. Take her advice. Show appreciation for her assistance.
I wrote about more ways to be the perfect client when I wrote about the reasons your home isn’t selling.
The more people know that your property is for sale, the greater the chances that it will sell sooner rather than later. You don’t have to plaster your neighborhood with posters (in fact, most Realtors don’t want you to circulate your own literature) or email everyone where you work, but you can still spread the word.
Your neighbors will know your home is on the market, but they may not have the details. You can help your agent (and yourself!) by keeping the brochure box out front stocked with clean, dry, printed handouts of your MLS listing.
Some sellers don’t want co-workers to know they are selling their home. If that’s you, examine your reasons for secrecy. If there are valid reasons to keep the matter under wraps, like a confidential transfer within the company, or a pending job offer that requires relocation, or that creepy guy in the mailroom who looks like a stalker, that’s one thing. But if you just don’t like the idea of the people you work with knowing how your house is priced, you could be sabotaging a potential sale.
Harness your social and business networks to let people know that your home is listed. You might even begin spreading the word prior to listing with a Realtor, but make sure you have made any upgrades or repairs you’ve planned. It’s also smart to declutter, clean, and start staging before you invite the neighbors over for a party where you’ll casually drop the fact that you’ll be selling soon. Most people would like to have someone they know and like move into their neighborhood. That means your neighbors can be part of your unofficial publicity committee.
The quicker your home sells, the better. There’s less stress, and less financial obligations like taxes, insurance and utilities. The longer your home is on the market, the more “stale” it looks to prospective buyers and agents alike. Following this three-step path to become a better seller will put you on the fast track to that incoming purchase offer.