In the DC Metro area 48% of homes won’t sell with the 1st agent that list them. This is a jarring statistic to most people when they first hear it and for good reason, and with the shifting market this number is only expected to rise. That means, unfortunately, your friend’s difficulties in getting their home sold isn’t uncommon. It also shows how important it is for your friend to be educated on the different areas that affect how home buyers see their house.
Every home’s value is determined by the price in relation to condition, location and seasonality. A good agent needs to be able to explain this fact along with the details that affect each of those 3 points, but if your friend’s home didn’t sell the first time you can be sure that the analysis by their agent didn't take these into account. So, here is the CAZA crash course to help your friend understand how important these there things are.
Price is the area that has the biggest impact on getting a home sold. Your friend needs to remember that it is price IN RELATION to condition, location and seasonality. Understanding what neighboring homes sold for and how the quality/location of your friend’s home compares is what matters. Go through and recognize where it compares positively and negatively is necessary to find the appropriate price of a property. Once the estimated value is decided, it is then important to price the home strategically to get the most showings and interested buyers at once. For details on that, read our guide on proper pricing here: Sell a Home for More By Asking for Less. Many people feel like they should price their home high in order to leave room for negotiations and then wait on the market for the right home buyers. This is a losing tactic, especially when the market is shifting. The most motivated buyers will see new homes within the first week of it hitting the market, those are the home buyers that will make the best offers.
Condition Matters - how clean it is, how it smells and how it looks in relation to it's competition all play a huge factor on price. When you list a home it's a beauty contest and you need to compare kitchens, bathrooms and upgrades against all the SOLD comps to get an accurate idea of the value. Below are some are a few tips on what your friend can do to improve their chances of selling their home.
Staging is the term that is commonly used when it comes to prepping a home to come on the market and it has a huge impact on home buyers. People buy homes differently than they live in them. That means getting rid of clutter and odors is of the utmost importance. Firstly, buyers see the smallest imperfections as signs that the bigger things (roof, mechanical, etc.) may not have been maintained well. Secondly, the staging should allow a buyer to see themselves living in the house. Here are a few tactics that should be considered to affect how an area is viewed:
Lighting: The wrong light bulbs can have a large impact on how comfortable someone feels when walking through the home. Certain types of light allow for colors and shadows to make the area pop. On the other side, some people get headaches and uneasy with certain types of lighting and they could associate those negative feelings to the home.
Furniture: Moving things around to open up a space allows for home buyers to understand how their furniture will be able to fit in an area better. Alternatively, too much in one room makes it feel more cramped.
Large spaces: Understanding how to make spaces look larger has a huge impact on home buyers. Recognizing that large rugs and paintings makes the room feel bigger than small ones is an example of these details.
Personal Photos: Family portraits can be distracting to a home buyer during a showing and cause them to focus on who was their rather than imagine themselves living there.
According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of home buyers begin their search for a new home online. That means the first impression that they get of your friends home are the photos. Make sure that your friend understands little tips and tricks to make spaces more desirable in photos. Lighting is one thing that was mentioned earlier that can drastically change the way that rooms looks in pictures. Being sure that when windows are photographed that you are able to see through them (rather than them showing reflections) is a small detail that makes a room feel more open. Professional photographers cost a couple hundred dollars, but the tremendous impact that they can have on the home buyers’ experience makes it have one of the biggest impact in terms of return for the cost.
“Location, location, location” is a cliche phrase that everyone has heard countless times. It got to be this way because of how important it actually is in Real Estate (but most everyone already knows this so we will get it out of the way without focusing too heavily on it). The exact same house in one neighborhood could be worth ridiculously more or less than the next neighborhood over. Many times it doesn’t even need to be a different neighborhood, the other side of the street or even the next lot over could have the same affect. Backing to running trails vs a busy road obviously changes things. Your friend should make sure to properly assess all the details surrounding location in order to understand what home buyers would be most interested in their home. Those details can then be used to decide what marketing mediums would be able to reach those interested home buyers best.
The time of year does matter. The data shows us that in the DMV the best times of year to sell descending order are:
People are often surprised that Fall is the 2nd best time to sell your home but data shows us that that buyers often want to be in their new home before the end of the year. When looking at comps you need to factor seasonality into the equation, otherwise you can be misled by the data. For example, if you are listing your home in the summer and you look at the Spring comps and try to match your homes price to those prices you might end up being disappointed. Properties listed in the summer tend to trend downward during the summer months. Please let your friend know that their agent needs to take seasonality into account when doing their analysis.
Every home should be priced in relation to it's condition, location and seasonality. Making sure that your friend is doing/recognizing all the little things is what it takes to get their home sold. It is important to mention that these details are where a great agent can add the most value. If any of this brings up any questions or you have a friend that needs help getting their home sold, don’t hesitate to reach out to The CAZA Group for more details/help.