The market is slowing and investors are drowning in house payments. Is there an end in sight? Probably not. But, is there something you can do about it? Certainly dropping the price until you get it sold it one way to do it. I've got a better solution – sell the house.
What amazes me is that most sellers don't sell their houses. They advertise houses, they list houses, but they don't sell houses. In a good market you can rest on your laurels, but in a soft market you have to be willing to do something different. Stop whining about the slow market and start selling your houses!
There's 5 tips for selling a house faster in a slow market:
1. Make Your Listing Look Great
Most MLS listings are boring, informative and don't sell the house. That's because most people leave it up to the real estate broker to create the listing, which is communicating with other brokers. Instead, take charge of your listing. Make sure the pictures are great, not average. Photoshop the pictures so there's excellent photos of the front, the kitchen and the most appealing features of the house. If there's a grey sky, wait until there's a blue sky. If there's a dead lawn in the photo, pick up that Photoshop paint brush and make it GREEN. When a buyer's agent is scanning the MLS with their clients, you've got two seconds to catch their attention and initiate a showing – make a good first impression!
2. Use Lots of Directional Signs
A sign in front of your house is good if you are on a main street, otherwise you have to get traffic by your house. Use dozens of directional signs from the nearest main road to your property. On weekends, tie bunches of balloons to the main sign on the road.
3. Use a Professional Sign in Front
Don't, I repeat DO NOT use the cheap sign you find at Home Depot, particularly the info tube that requires you to roll up your flyer. Invest in a solid metal-framed sign that has an attached flyer holder that makes it easy for people to pull out your flyer. If the house is vacant, have an arrow with the words “More info” pointing to the house, and put your flyer box on the stoop of the home. This will get people peeking into the home, which is what you want.
4. Get a Great Flyer
It amazes me how boring and technical most home information flyers are prepared. The lazy real estate broker usually prints the flyer in black and white off the MLS listing computer. Instead, use a full color flyer with excellent high-resolution photos of the inside. If you are not a digital camera buff, go on craigslist.org and hire a high school kid to shoot and edit some photos. Sell the features of the house, not the facts.
5. Sell People on the House
Most sellers show houses, and say, in effect, “Ya'll come back now”. Let me ask you a question… is this what car dealers do? Of course not! The cardinal rule of a car salesman is to never let a customer off the lot. Why should selling houses be any different? If you elicit the right information out of the buyer to understand that he is in the decision making mode, push him to make a decision.
Can you remember walking into a car dealer thinking to yourself, “I'm just looking, I have not made up my mind yet”? And then, for some inexplicable reason, you left with a new car! Why? Because that salesman sold it to you, he didn't just let you test drive.
Not all buyers are ready to make a decision, but if he's been looking at a few houses for a few weeks, he may be ready to make a decision, even if he says otherwise. Be ready with a contract and try to get the buyer to leave you a deposit check, even if it is refundable. Get as much commitment as you can; instead of showing the property, sell it!