According to the National Association of Realtors®, more than 4.25 million homes sold in 2011. That’s a lot of real estate and such numbers raise the question: How are sellers doing it?
Because individual homes are unique, there isn’t one single strategy that works equally well for every property. The real trick is understanding that today’s marketplace is cash driven, quick and highly competitive. "Owners who understand their local markets and work with a knowledgeable agent like Gary and Michelle Dolch are those most likely to succeed". Explains Carey B, who hired Gary & Michelle in 2010 to sell his Lake Austin Home.
In March roughly one-third of all sales were cash, meaning a large number of buyers are not dependent on lender financing, the sale of their existing home or a settlement that might be 45 to 60 days in the future.
Instead, they can act quickly and in many cases seek properties which can be bought today and occupied tomorrow.
To ready a home for sale in today’s marketplace, Gary Dolch says owners should consider six basic keys to selling success.
Six Keys to Success
1) Curb appeal counts. Most home buyers want homes which look great from the outside. It’s not just a question of curb appeal — it’s about perception. If a home looks good from the street it probably means the property is ready for a new occupant without a lot of cost or hassle.
Buyers tend to pass on a home that doesn’t appeal to them from the street–not even bothering to look inside. "We can show you how to generate the most curb appeal with the least cost", says Michelle
2) A clutter-free home. With the new emphasis on cash sales and speed owners must show homes which are free and clear of clutter. A clutter-free home will make interior spaces look larger and eliminates the need to get rid of stuff when you are in the throes of moving. It makes sense to donate or reduce clutter before a home is placed on the market — not only as a sales tactic but also as a practical step toward relocation.
3) Working condition. Having your home’s systems in good mechanical condition is an advantage in today’s market. Most distressed homes can’t compete when it comes to such basics as working heating, plumbing and air-conditioning. Properties that can readily pass a professional home inspection are often easier to finance, and are generally more appealing to buyers who don’t want to face the unknown costs and delays sometimes associated with major renovations. Gary and Michelle often recommend a pre-inspection to their clients prior to listing it on the MLS. This give Buyers an instant snap-shot of the condition of the home and defuses any concerns of the unknown while giving their clients a proactive repair check list that can be added to the report as items are repaired/replaced. "This tactic can really give Buyers peace of mind about your property and the impression you have taken the initiative to offer a well cared for home instead a transfer of problems", Gary explains
4) List and negotiate properly. According to Gary & Michelle “a seasoned REALTOR® can show owners how best to market a particular home according to such factors as location, price, condition and financing. Owners want to work with us because our experience brings value and confidence to a transaction, factors that are enormously important in a changing marketplace.”
5) Seek prequalified buyers. While many sales may be for cash, the majority still require financing. It would be frustrating to enter into a sales contract with a potential buyer who ultimately cannot obtain financing to purchase your home — meaning you have lost time — and potentially money — and then you have to start over. When a home is shown by appointment, the buyer should have a pre-qualification letter available prior to a showing and certainly before an offer is made. "For most of our multimillion dollar listings, we require a letter of financial introduction from their banker before we will let a buyer into see the listing", explains Michelle. "We often find that Buyers are more than happy to provide this information when properly requested, and as for those few buyers who throw a fit when asked to prove their financial ability, well they typically are not qualified and just wanted to go see some amazing homes". "Our job is to protect the interests of our clients and it's definitely in our Sellers interest not to have just anyone through their home without proper vetting", Gary adds
Such letters from lenders are not binding but at least show that the purchaser sat down with a loan officer and has some realistic sense of what he or she can reasonably afford.
"While the market around the country is just showing signs of recovery the market in Austin and Central Texas is thriving and values are moving higher in most areas. Our inventory levels are below the 4 month absorption rate which indicates a "sellers market" and our rent/lease inventory has stayed tight and well above 95% which will continue to drive home prices up for quite some time". "We are blessed to be in Austin, Texas for so many reasons, its no wonder that the rest of the country is trying to move here"
Gary and his team are exceptional Realtors. They are professional and personable, and he has a firm understanding of the Central Texas marketplace. He was able to develop an approach that met our specific needs (we were relocating) and his presentation of our property was among the best I have ever seen. I would recommend Gary and his team to anyone.
Carey Boethel - February 14, 20121
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