Fred recently took a job in northern Michigan. This weekend, he’s coming back home to his Chicago suburban house to pack everything up and move. And, he’s changing listing agents with the hopes that the new one will be more aggressive.
“We’re really ready to sell,” he said, as he contemplated driving through a blizzard to move the rest of his belongings to his new location.
The weather outside might be frightful, but if you’re serious about selling, you won’t find any better time to engage really serious buyers than during the winter holiday season.
According to the National Association of Realtors, sales now remain strong throughout the entire year. While Spring and Fall see a little more sales activity (with Spring remaining the strongest selling season), there’s plenty of activity during the Thanksgiving through Superbowl Sunday period.
What changes are the numbers of people shopping for a home. While serious home buyers are still out in force, other folks who can wait often get sidetracked by the holidays, and wind up shopping for gifts rather than a home to buy.
But with homes languishing on the market in many areas of the country, there’s an argument to be made about taking an aggressive approach to marketing your home during this time of the year.
You’ve got to cut through the noise of holiday merrymaking to make sure home buyers understand you’re serious about selling. Here are some ways you can shout out:
-Rethink your pricing strategy. If you want to sell your property, and you’ve had action but no offers at the current list price, consider lowering the price for the holiday.
But make a significant move. If your home is priced at $425,000, consider dropping the price to $389,000. While that seems like a steep drop, that kind of aggressive move will get the attention of local brokers and buyers.
You’ll know soon enough whether the new price is right or not. Ideally, you’;ll get a number of serious offers from buyers, who may even bid up the price over the new list price.
If you don’t get any offers at the new list price, it might be that your home may still be overpriced given local market conditions.
-Increase awareness by making better use of the Internet. Buy an Internet address that has your home’s address as the URL. (For example, the website name might be 123MapleStreet.com if that’s where you live.) Or go to the many websites where you can market your home for free, including Craig’s List, Google, and EBay.
As of last week, agents and homeowners can now plant a “for sale” sign at Zillow.com.
Zillow recently announced that it would allow agents and homeowners to upload and add an unlimited number of photos and information about a home that is for sale.
“We haven’t started working on video, but soon you’ll be able to do that too,” said Rich Barton, President and CEO of Zillow.
Zillow offers its 3 million unique monthly visitors a free “Zestimate,” which is essentially a guess as to how much a particular house is worth. In addition to allowing agents and homeowners to add information about a property that is for sale, Zillow is offering a “Make Me Move” price.
“For most people, either a house is “for sale” or its not. But we think in reality that’s not really the case. We think there would be a lot of people who would move if they got the right price. We’re trying to prove that and reach into the supply side to see what dream prices are. We think some of those will be very high, but others will not be that much higher than the Zestimates,” Barton said.
Either way, it’s a useful tool for agents (who can upload their own photo and information for free) and home sellers.
-Do what you can to add value to the property for a nominal amount of cash. If you haven’t already touched up the paint, shampooed the carpet, and cleaned out the house, now is the time to do it.
But you might also consider taking a page from the current “staging” craze and fluff up the way your home looks. You might buy a couple of new matching pillows for the living room couch and chairs from Target, Kohl’s, or K-Mart. You might buy a new duvet and pillow cover set with matching shower accessories and towels from IKEA.
Inexpensive but matching placemats might dress up your dining room or living room table, while a few well-placed but tasteful holiday decorations can add some spice.
The idea is to freshen your space without taking a lot of time — or spending a lot of money.