Photo Courtesy of Willow Homes, Birmingham Based Homebuilder
With inventory at historic lows in Birmingham and buyers out in droves - by all accounts, it’s a Seller’s Market. The Greater Alabama Multiple Listing Service reports active real estate listings are down by 30%, while Zillow-owned Showing Time reports showing appointments are up 21%. In most cases, when a home goes on the market today, it is under contract very quickly, usually receiving multiple offers. Homes in Birmingham are spending a short 33 total days on the market. In addition to all that good news for sellers, The Birmingham Association of Realtors statistics shows sales prices are up by 20%!
Sellers are selling their homes faster and for more money than they ever expected. Hard to mess that up, right? Not so fast! There are still several mistakes a home seller can make that squander their advantages in Birmingham’s hot seller’s market.
Here are the top three ways a home seller can miss out on making the most of the market:
#1 Sellers don’t get their property cleaned and ready for sale.
Today’s buyers are willing to pay more to get their dream house, but they expect the house to live up to the hype. Sellers don’t have to renovate or go overboard updating their home, but they absolutely must clean it. Preferably, sellers should use a professional cleaning service. The same goes for carpet cleaning. Now is not the time to try and save a little money doing it yourself. Get a top-notch job done by professionals.
De-clutter. You’re moving anyway, right? Start the process now by packing up all those extra souvenir cups, shoes and coats, unused linens, and ALL your knickknacks. Go ahead and put away the family pictures and personal décor items sitting out, too. You should appear to be living in your home beautifully and effortlessly by the time it goes on the market for sale.
If anything is broken or leaking – Yes – you must fix it. Imagine if you drove your car down to a dealership to trade it in and all the tires were flat – this would affect your trade-in value. The same goes for your home. Buyers either won’t make an offer, or they’ll offer less if they see major mechanicals like heating and air systems not working properly or observe a leaky roof.
Send your pets on a mini-vacation while your home is on the market. Nothing turns off a would-be buyer like stepping over pet messes while they are touring a home. You may not notice the smell of your pets anymore, but trust me, anyone new to your home certainly will. A mild air freshener can help, but don’t go crazy with it or risk causing buyers to assume you are hiding something.
#2 Sellers get greedy and price their homes too high.
If you price your home right in today’s market, you are very likely to get multiple offers and ultimately have your home price driven up past your asking price. Listing higher than the market data suggests just to “see what the market says” is a great way to get your home ignored and drag out the time it spends on the market. Once a home has been on the market too long - brace yourself for low-ball offers. It’s ok to try to make everything you can on your investment, but just be mindful - the market is very sensitive to overpricing.
Once you get offers, take time to review each offer's terms and not just the offer price. Terms can make all the difference. Are the buyers willing to close quickly? Did they include a lot of contingencies for buying your home that could cause the sale to fall through? Are they asking for costly personal property items? The fine print matters. Review each offer carefully.
#3 Sellers fail to have a proper marketing plan.
To get the offers pouring in, you need a strong marketing plan. Choose a real estate professional that knows how to leverage the power of “coming soon” listings and social media to create pent-up demand and excitement for your home. Your listing should have lots of crisp, pretty pictures taken by a professional photographer, as well. The yard sign should be mounted on a sturdy frame and clearly mark your home for sale. Directional signs pointing the way to your house also help would-be buyers find their way to your property.
With just a little effort, this could be the perfect year to maximize your profit on the sale of your home. Professionally clean your home and fix anything broken. De-clutter. Price it right and have a strong marketing plan in place. Success will follow!
It’s a seller’s real estate market. Follow these simple strategies, and you’ll have buyers lining up to buy your home!