A recap of two recent listings that went from listing to closing in less than 45 days
I know, I know. It’s tough out there. Mortgage rates have a lot of people sitting on the sidelines. I get it.
And the market may seem a little daunting after what we’ve experienced over the last couple of years with crazy high prices and outrageous competition for buyers, only to come to a seemingly screeching halt in activity thanks to increased mortgage rates this year.
I can understand if buyers and sellers aren’t sure exactly what to do.
But here’s the thing:
There are buyers out there right now who need to find a house. And there are sellers out there who need to move out of their house.
There are always reasons for buying and selling real estate. That’s how it is in real estate. It’s always happening.
Some people need to upgrade. Some need to downsize. There are people being offered jobs in other cities and need to move away … and there are [plenty of] people being offered jobs right here in Music City and need to find a house.
Of course, market activity will vary across different price ranges. There are homes in certain price ranges that are sitting on the market longer than homes in other price ranges, but sales are happening in all price ranges.
People are buying and selling homes right now, and if you are someone who needs to sell right now, know that you can get it done!
I recently listed two houses around the same time – one in Davidson County and one in Rutherford County. They were both under contract within two weeks and were closed in less than 30 days from date of contract.
These were two very different houses on completely opposite home sites.
The first was a 13-year-old home on a 0.13-acre lot in a popular Nolensville subdivision. The second was a 36-year-old Cape Cod on a half-acre in unincorporated Smyrna.
Both were recently renovated and featured new kitchens, but they were offered in different price ranges. Nolensville listing: $630,000 vs. Smyrna listing: $444,000. This, of course, was due to many factors, including location and age right off the bat.
However, the ingredients for the successful sale of each home were similar, and I’m happy to share what I believe it takes to successfully sell a home.
1. Get the house market ready.
This happens before listing the property, and what it entails will vary greatly in all circumstances. However, no matter how much work or how long it takes to get the home market ready, doing this before listing the property is key to kicking off a swift sale and closing.
Fix what’s broken.
You know what’s not working around your house. You may have lived with it for months or years, but a buyer won’t be so accepting – particularly of those things in plain sight.
Why take the chance of turning off a buyer’s interest during an initial showing?
Also, the out-of-sight things are likely to show up in the home inspection and subsequently in the buyer repair requests, so it’s best to get the repairs you know about out of the way before even listing the house.
Again, go beyond what’s in plain sight – I’m talking about closets and drawers, too. Buyers will open your closets and pull out your kitchen drawers.
It’s OK to have one junk drawer in your kitchen – everyone has one – but your house will show better if there is some organization to your kitchen drawers. And your closets. And your laundry room. And other “backstage” areas of your house.
People who are organized will be able to see themselves in your home, and people who aren’t organized will want to live in your home. Who doesn’t appreciate an organized space?
Let me clarify what I mean by clean. I’m talking about a deep clean that includes moving furniture to clean under and behind it, taking everything off kitchen and bathroom counters to clean the countertops, wiping down baseboards, steam-cleaning carpets (and furniture, if needed), wiping down cabinets, cleaning all appliances, washing bathroom mats, and cleaning ceiling fans and light fixtures.
Yes, I really mean it.
If you don’t want to, don’t have time to, or don’t know how to give your house a good deep cleaning, it is worth every dollar you pay a professional to do it for you.
It can be pricey if there’s a lot to do. I’ve had a seller pay as much as $750 to clean his entire house this way, but that house was like new when it went on the market, got multiple offers and was under contract for over-asking price by Sunday of listing weekend. The cleanliness of the house was a key factor in how well it showed.
You don’t have to repaint your entire house, but if you can freshen up paint in the main living areas, it will make a huge difference.
Create “showcase” spaces.
Is your house great for entertaining? Set the table for a dinner party and create a little beverage bar somewhere in the kitchen or dining room. Have some background music playing softly for showings.
Got a family friendly house? Stack a few family board games on the ottoman with a bowl of nonperishable snacks and fold a few soft blankets over the back of the couch or La-Z-Boy.
Does your house feature a nice patio or garden? Purchase a few freshly potted plants to place around the patio and set up a little gardening workspace with a few extra pots, a stool, some gloves, and a bucket of tools.
Is there a cozy corner by a picture window where you could set up a little chair with a table, a coffee mug, a good book and a basket of fluffy blankets?
Show buyers how your house can be lived in and enjoyed.
Create curb appeal.
Go beyond just cutting the grass. (But please, for the love of Pete, at least cut the grass. I’m dumbfounded when I see a For Sale sign in an overgrown yard.) Edge, pull the weeds from the landscaping, add some fresh mulch, and trim the bushes and trees, as needed. These are the basics.
Make even more of a statement by adding freshly potted plants around the front door and maybe a few outdoor décor pieces to accent the house. Place a couple of outdoor chairs or a bench on the front porch with decorative pillows. Freshen up exterior paint, if needed.
2. Price it right.
Obviously. This isn’t groundbreaking. But it is absolutely imperative to do this right in order to sell real estate quickly.
And pricing it right does not mean underpricing to get a quick sale. So, how do you price it right?
Study the market.
Search out the most recent comparable, relevant sales around the listing. Don’t just go off what Zillow says it should sell for. This takes work … research … study … and knowledge about what will be considered a comp for the home.
Any REALTOR who shows the home to an interested buyer will do their own homework and pull their own comps. And the buyer will base their offer on what their agent finds. Be aware of what’s been happening on the market.
While recent sales will provide the most valuable information, it’s also helpful to look at what’s currently listed (active listings, a.k.a. your competition) and selling (homes under contract, i.e. homes that had what buyers were looking for), as well as what listings have recently expired or cancelled, i.e. they didn’t sell.
An experienced and dedicated REALTOR will know how to look at these numbers and determine the most appropriate listing price to attract interest right off the bat and garner proper offers.
3. Be ready and willing to negotiate.
If you have done everything you can to get your home market ready and you’ve priced it just right, you are likely strides ahead of other listings out there and could get an offer quickly.
And when those offers start coming in, take each one seriously – even if they are not initially anything you would accept. Each offer is an opportunity to sell your home – don’t let it slip away! Be willing to negotiate to get where you want to be.
Sometimes, a buyer won’t get there because they are looking for a deal, and that’s just not the buyer for your home (don’t be offended!). But if your home is market ready and priced appropriately, you have the power. You have a product that buyers want, and you would be surprised at what a first offer can turn into when you are willing to negotiate.
It’s not all about price.
Buyers bring lots of requests with their initial offers. Again, don’t be offended! It’s natural to feel an initial swell of defensiveness, but these requests can also be negotiated. Honestly, the more requests they have, the more there is to play with in the negotiation process.
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
Negotiations are only just beginning with the initial offer. Unless the buyer waives all contingencies, there are several opportunities for the seller to put his negotiation cap back on during the buyer’s due diligence process – i.e. appraisal, inspections, etc.
Snags in any of these areas will bring the buyer and seller back to the table for discussion and additional negotiations. If the contract is a good one, it is worth finding solutions that benefit both parties to keep the deal moving toward closing.
While nothing is ever as simple as 1, 2, 3, I believe that if you 1) get your house market ready, 2) price it appropriately, and 3) keep a ready and willing spirit for negotiation, you will be on the right path for a swift sale.
Want to chat more? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to discuss the possibilities for your unique situation!