When selling your home, it’s vital that you work to spread the word about your property, especially if you’re trying to sell a home in a buyer's market.
While an oversaturated market can sometimes slow a sale, there are numerous other factors that can either hurt or help your success as a seller in the housing market.
With a few smart strategies up your sleeve, you will fill your calendar with house showings and will make the sale in no time. Here’s how.
- To increase showings of your home, make the showing process a simple one—for you, your buyer's agent, and prospective buyers.
- Have your agent arrange for a lockbox that will hold keys to your home, and set up your multiple listing service to read, "Call first, lockbox."
- Offer a competitive buyer agent's commission—perhaps one that exceeds the rate earned by other agents in the area.
- Up your marketing efforts to include direct mail, online advertising, local papers, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Make Your Home Easy to Show
One way to increase the likelihood of your home’s sale is to make the showing process simple—for you, your buyer's agent, and prospective buyers.
You can do this by having your agent or broker set up your multiple listing service (MLS) to read, "Call first, lockbox." The "Call first" notation ensures that you'll know when a buyer or an agent is coming to show your home. This system is especially helpful, since agents aren’t likely to show your home as often if it’s difficult for them to gain entry. For that reason, avoid limiting the times they can show your house, and try to resist asking that they book “by appointment only.”
Additionally, you don’t have to require your agent to be present at every house showing. If you do, you may miss out on times when prospective buyers may want to swing by.
About the Lockbox
This handy gadget allows agents to swing by and show your property even when you're not at home. For instance, should you not answer your phone when your agent calls, he or she can access the keys to your home, which are conveniently stored within the box.
When using a lockbox, you want to place it somewhere near your home. If, for example, you live in a gated community, you'd place the box at an accessible point near the gate's entrance, with the gate code inside. That way, your agent can open the gate and head inside to show your home at any time of day without your assistance.
For peace of mind as a homeowner, some digital lockboxes can be programmed so that they'll only open at certain times of the day.
Offer a Competitive Buyer's Agent Commission
Check your listing agreement to determine whether your listing agent is splitting the commission you're paying at least 50/50 with the buyer's agent. It's your money, which means you can direct which funds go where.
You might also consider increasing your buyer agent's commission above the average in your area, especially since you may not get many showings if the fee going to your buyer's agent is less than 2.5%.
Increase Traffic Through Market Exposure
Upping your marketing efforts is another good tactic when trying to sell a home.
In some markets, direct mail works well. If that holds true for your area, consider sending postcards to surrounding homes and neighboring areas.
You can also advertise in local papers and via online websites such as Craigslist, Google, Trulia, and Zillow. Don’t forget to spread the word via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, because someone within your very own network may be interested in buying.
Pro-tip: Be sure to include details, such as the number of bedrooms, along with your home listing. Buyers will want to know those kinds of features prior to contacting you.
Cater Lunch for a Broker's Tour, and Offer a Drawing
In certain locales, it's common for listing agents to pick up the cost of a catered lunch. During these events, buyers' agents will generally linger in the home, noticing details that you may overlook during a fast tour. As a way of brightening the mood during this lunch, you may also want to consider hosting a raffle for a prize.
Host an Open House Extravaganza
Another strategy is to work together with other sellers in your area to host a neighborhood-wide open house.
In doing so, you'd want to publicize the event all over your town. Using all of the aforementioned marketing tactics, such as advertising via social media and the local newspaper, you can hopefully gather the attention of many local interested buyers.
During the event, serve hot dogs and soft drinks. Buy brightly colored helium balloons, and hang up streamers; you can even hire a clown to entertain children.
Send out E-Flyers
It's relatively easy and inexpensive to create an e-flyer to alert others about your for-sale home. vFlyer is one online source that's free. Use it or a similar source to email your friends, family, and acquaintances. Ask your agent to send e-flyers to every agent who works in your area and to those outside of your area who bring buyers to your city.
Make a Limited-Time Offer
Advertise a limited-time offer that buyers can snatch up if they act quickly. Everyone wants a deal, and buyers are more motivated if that offer is going to vanish soon. You might offer to pay down the buyer's mortgage interest rate for a few years, credit a percentage of the sales price toward their closing costs, or prepay taxes or insurance for a year.
Co-Op Your Advertising
Check with real estate affiliates, such as mortgage brokers, property inspectors, appraisers, and insurance brokers—anyone who stands to make money as a result of your sale. Ask whether they would be willing to co-op advertising with you by helping to pay for some or all of your marketing. You can include their information in the efforts.
Drop Your Price—the Last Resort
If your home is still not selling, you may have to lower the price. Sometimes, when in a buyer’s market where the stakes are high, lowering your price even just slightly will catch the attention of buyers.
Just be sure to thoroughly consult the advice of real estate experts—and keep a close eye on the local housing market—before making any decisions.