A lot of people give up on selling their homes, or do not try to sell at all because they think you cannot sell a home in a down market. The truth is, you can sell a home in any market. There has been and always will be demand for housing. There are two critical factors that must be addressed, however, to ensure you can and will sell your home: exposure and pricing.
For the home to have adequate exposure, hundreds or thousands of potential buyers must be aware it is for sale. Just as you cannot post a ‘For Sale’ sign on your couch in your living room and expect to sell it, you probably will not be able to sell a home without exposing it to the marketplace. While this may evolve with new technologies that come about, in today’s world, being listed on the MLS equates to market-wide exposure. The MLS database is the database of homes for sale in an area and is searched by thousands flat fee realtor of real estate agents. The MLS also feeds property data to websites like Realtor.com®, major local brokerage websites, agent websites, and other sites. This allows active buyers to locate and compare homes, with or without the help of a Realtor®. Gaining this exposure can be accomplished one of two ways; first, you can list your home with a traditional agent that charges a listing commission. Secondly, you can hire a flat fee MLS listing broker that places the property into the MLS on your behalf for a flat fee, but does not charge a listing commission at closing. The second route saves money, but may require more involvement by the seller.
Once your home is on the MLS, people will know it is for sale. An equally important factor in selling the home is pricing. In a down market, you want to be the best priced home any way you slice it. Think about how you might search for your home. You might say that you want to be in a particular school district, 4 bedrooms or more, and built 2000 or newer. You want to be the least expensive home meeting this search. Try a few more searches people might try. You might put in your subdivision with a pool, at least 3 bedrooms. Are you the least expensive? You need to come up with a large group of homes where you are the cheapest alternative available. Do not be overly targeted in developing your list of competition. Do not assume that people are only searching for homes over 3500 square feet in your area and eliminating competing homes that are 3200 square feet. The more open your search criteria, the more effective this pricing technique will be.
Ask your listing broker (traditional or flat fee MLS) for some other criteria you may not be aware of. For instance, in Austin, Texas, homebuyers and Realtors® commonly search for the 8E map area. This is the portion of Westlake that is closest to downtown. In the south Scottsdale, Arizona, zip code of 85251, there is a distinct difference between certain newer estate properties and scores of older tract homes. Year built is going to be an important distinction beyond zip code. Also, do not overlook pending and sold properties. If you are the least expensive home meeting common search criteria, you are giving yourself a strong chance to sell your home.