John Adams is an author, broadcaster and investor. He answers real estate questions on radio station WGKA (920 AM) every Saturday at noon. money99.com
Written by John Adams for the AJC
The other day I overheard one very young agent talking to another very young agent about the listing she had that would not sell. The listing agent blamed her owners for not embracing social media and paying to set up a Facebook page and a twitter account to help market the house.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for smartphones and websites and tweets and blogs and SEO, but the real estate world just does not revolve around social media.
In fact, there are three primary reasons that your house won’t sell. They haven’t changed in the thirty five years I have been in this business, and they bear repeating:
The condition of your house is unacceptable.
It’s vitally important to remember that prospective purchasers will buy your house emotionally, then justify it logically. Buying a home is a very emotional process. And the house carries all manner of feelings along with it.
If your buyer simply can not imagine themselves living in your house and enjoying raising their family, they won’t fall in love with it and they won’t even make an offer. All buyers say they just want the facts, but in reality, emotions rule the day.
So if you are fooling yourself into believing that you shouldn’t replace your smelly dirty carpets because the new owner will want to pick out their own color, you are only hurting your chances of getting a sale.
Nobody knows it’s for sale.
In today’s tough real estate selling market, it’s not enough to just stick a “for sale” sign in the yard and hope a prospective buyer will show up. OK, I admit it’s possible. But not likely.
In my opinion, this is where an experience real estate professional really earns their commission. Surveys show that almost 90 percent of homebuyers begin their home search on the internet, and there are literally a thousand ways to capture them as leads.
A good agent is worth his or her weight in iPads if they can bring the power of the Internet to bear in helping spread the word. The Internet-based Multiple Listing Service is likely the most powerful tool in the agent’s arsenal. But it takes even more than that.
My own experience shows that about a third of my prospects come from the internet, another third from yard sign and directional signs, and the final third from all other sources. It’s that final third that has become elusive in today’s younger real estate agents.
It involves everything to holding a neighborhood open house for nosey neighbors to posting fliers are nearby schools, churches and employers. It can be as expensive as catering an agent open house with great food and prizes to as little as taping business cards on the yard sign so passers-by will remember to call.
Great marketing will get the word out, but the third problem is the real deal killer.
Your asking price is too high.
I saved this for last because inexperienced agents always want to start with the price.
My advice is to get the house in excellent condition, have the house professionally appraised by a licensed appraiser, then list the house for sale at that amount.
Remember that almost every potential buyer will want to get a loan to purchase your house. And if the house won’t appraise for the contract price, they won’t be approved for the loan, and the deal will fall through.
In today’s real estate market, there is nothing more frustrating than reaching a meeting of the minds, signing a contract, having your inspection, applying for the loan, then watching the whole thing blow up because the house didn’t appraise for the contract price.
Further, you are better off turning down low ball offers than you are getting offers that won’t get to the closing table. Get it appraised, hand out copies of the appraisal to every prospect, and rest comfortably knowing you are selling it for what it’s worth.
Condition, marketing and price. Unless these three parts of the selling puzzle are in place from the beginning, all the facebook and tweeting in the world won’t move your home into the sold column.
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