Advice for People Putting a Home on the Market in the Winter

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The internet is rife with real estate advice, some of it true and a lot of it false. One idea that tends to pop up is that summer is the best time of year to list a home for sale. This is largely based on data collected by online real estate database company Zillow from 24 large real estate markets in the United States, and while that is a decent representation, it’s not at all definitive. The truth is, there is no “best time” to sell a property — there are pros and cons to every season. While putting your home on the market in the winter may present some challenges, with the right preparations you can sell your house faster and for more money.

Price it Right
You don’t have to price your home lower just because it’s the off-season, but also don’t go crazy with that asking price. It’s easier than ever for people to research real estate market trends, so potential home buyers know if you’re overpricing. If you want to sell your house quickly in the winter, educate yourself on trends and home prices in your area to find reasonable asking price that won’t necessitate too much haggling to settle.

Be Hospitable
One of the cons of selling a home in winter is that traffic tends to be a bit slower. Fewer people are out looking at properties because they’re either distracted by the holidays or prefer to stick to the indoors because the weather is bad. However, the people who are browsing homes this time of year are more likely to feel a sense of urgency to make a decision on where they will live, as it is the time for first-quarter job transfers and there is less inventory on the market. Because of this, it is important to be very hospitable to anyone who comes through that door. A good first impression and a warm welcome can make a positive association in their mind, which improves your chances of getting a serious offer.

Here are some helpful tips when showing your house:
● Light a fire. Not only does it create a cozy atmosphere, but it also smells divine.
● Play soft music.
● Turn on all the lights in the house and open up drape and curtains.
● Run a humidifier to make your home’s air less dry (just make sure to change filters
regularly).
● Don’t pressure or hurry the potential buyer.
● Provide light refreshments.
● Leave note cards that detail vital information about home features.
● In the end, supply them with pens and a stack of questionnaire cards for feedback.

Stage with the Season in Mind
Staging your home to sell in the winter isn’t too different from other parts of the year. You want it to be clean and decluttered while highlighting the property’s best features. However, there are a few differences. For one, the home’s curb appeal may not be as eye-catching as the plants and grasses in your yard may be dormant. Laying down mulch in the front yard can help with this problem. Not only does it help your yard look more polished, but it also insulates the soil that protects plant roots from the winter chill. Furthermore, a layer of mulch is an effective barrier that keeps mud off your shoes and by proxy your floors.

Putting your home on the market in winter may mean less traffic, but people who are shopping during this time of year are more serious about making a purchase in a timely manner. Accurately pricing your home so there isn’t a need to haggle makes it more likely that you’ll snag a serious buyer. Be hospitable with everyone who walks through your door — the right first impression can lead to a sale. And while home staging in the winter isn’t really that different than summer, your curb appeal may suffer due to the season. Making adjustments like laying mulch in the front yard can make up for a lack of vegetation in the chillier months.


Article by Suzie Wilson ⎸info@happierhome.net  ⎸Happier Home

While you may not think that listing a home in the winter is a great idea, with proper guidance from your trust real estate agent- it can be successful. Contact us if you are thinking about selling your home 304.645.2255
www.greenbrierrealestateservice.com

Gregory Allman, Broker

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20 Cold Hard Facts in Real Estate Home Selling

 

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20 Cold Hard facts about selling your home…read on through the list to see if there might be something that you could help you get your home sold!

  1. Know your local Real Estate Market –  What’s moving the market? If you don’t know, we can help. Real Estate will always be local and to be able to sell your home, it’s critical to know what the local trends are for your neighborhood.
  2. A clean, uncluttered home sells – A dirty home knocks thousands of dollars off of your profit.  It’s true, a big chunk of money can be lost for not putting in a little elbow grease.  Perhaps one of the greatest payoffs to home selling will be the time you spend cleaning and decluttering your home. 

  1. Homes priced right sell – Price your home to sell. From the very first day that you list your home for sale, you will attract the most qualified and most interested Buyers. The first few weeks of a new home listing shines brightest.  A fresh new listing draws the attention of Buyers waiting for a new home to hit the market and those Buyers who just started looking will see your home priced right, and will break down your front door to take a closer look.  A listing that stagnates on the market for weeks and months on end becomes stale and often stigmatized as to why has the home hasn’t sold.  Avoid the discounts, price it right, and increase your chances of having multiple interested Buyers. 

  1. Selling a home is inconvenient – Knowing up front that you’re going to be inconvenienced once you’ve decided to sell your home, will make the home selling process a lot easier to handle. You’re going to have to get your home ready to sell, you’re going to have to do some packing and you’re normal everyday living schedules will likely be interrupted by visiting prospective Buyers.  When you’re able to anticipate this, it can make the process a lot less painful.  Anticipate to be inconvenienced. 

  1. Repairs left undone will cost you more money than the repair itself – Repairs that you’ve been meaning to do will be a lot less expensive to complete if you do them BEFORE you sell your home.  Once the needed repair is evident to a Buyer, they’re going to pad the actual cost to repair as they’re adding a layer of emotion to the cost. What do I mean by this? When they see a simple repair that could have been fixed they wonder what else is in need of repair and they’ll wonder did you really maintain the home properly.  They’ll wonder what may be lurking beneath the surface, hidden and not visual to the naked eye.  They get a bit frightened in the unknown and will want a little bit more of a reduction, just in case something else pops up once they were to buy your home. 

  1. Overpricing your home helps to sell your neighbors home – It’s true!  Picture this. Buyers are qualified to buy a certain price range so they’re looking at homes that they can afford; your competition, your neighbors.  If your home is priced too high, they’ll never see it as it will not come up in the home search.  Your home will be coming up in a higher price range; likely homes that are larger with nicer features and more appealing.  This price range of home Buyers will look at your home but will skip over your home because they can buy a larger home with the same features for the same amount of money; why would anyone pay more for less space? 

  1. Buyers love to negotiate the home sales price after the home inspection – Oh yes, the time to nickle and dime for all the needed repairs. In an inspection there will always be a hundred of little things and hopefully, you aren’t blind-sighted with an unknown major needed repair.  If you have any needed major repairs, this should be known ahead of time and disclosed to any prospective Buyers prior to the presentation of their offer. This way you know the offer reflects the defect.  As discussed above, fix your repairs so as not to give a Buyer a reason to want a discount.  The inspection period will always welcome a skilled negotiator.

  1. Buyers love to grill Sellers present at home showings – When a Buyer has scheduled a visit to view your home, it’s important for you to leave for more reasons than one.  First of all, you want the Buyers to be able to stroll through your home and feel comfortable without you breathing down their necks, as you want them to envision themselves living in your home. Picturing themselves in your Kitchen around the dinner table, or relaxing in the family room listening to their favorite music or watching TV and also imagining your home to be the perfect spot to entertain friends and family.  And, even more important is that you don’t want them to try and wiggle out any details from you regarding why you’re moving that could give them a reason to offer you less money for your home.  A favorite tactic for Buyer’s Agents and Buyers is to try and find out valuable details that indicate you “need” to move. 

  1. Smelly homes sell for less money – Nothing is worse than a smelly home from pets, smoking or even cooking.  Sure we love our pets but they can leave behind those not so pleasant smells.  If you’re a smoker, you need to plan well in advance to take your smokes outside to freshen up your home’s interior. Perhaps you adore foods with very pungent spices, these favorite dishes that you cook should be put on hold until after you sell your home and get moved out. A thorough cleaning of your home, along with the fabrics, rugs and carpets will go along way in removing pet, smoking and food odors.  If you have carpeting where pets had accidents, replacing carpeting would be advisable. 

  1. Cash is not always King – Cash does not always rule the roost. When financing Buyers have to compete with Cash Buyers, they can make their offer look very appealing in a number of ways that can beat out the Cash Buyer. First, by making sure they’ve presented their offer without any errors, making sure it is accurate and complete. Next, they’ll want to make sure their Pre Approval letter indicates their strong ability to secure the mortgage to buy the Seller’s home. In addition, a Real Estate purchase contract has many different time frames, the Buyers can make sure that they’re going to be quick in adhering to speedy time frames and also, you’d be surprised how many Buyers and their stories of how they’d live in the Seller’s home can pull out a Seller’s heart strings, particularly if the Seller holds a lot of favorable memories from the home. 

  1. Well maintained homes sell for more money – A well maintain home provides a sense of well being to any prospective Buyer as they imagine that the home having been well cared for and likely will not provide them with too many worries down the road after they’ve bought the home.  Red flags are virtually non-existent with a well maintained home as compared to a home that appears to not have been maintained.  This peace of mind comes with a price tag that results in the Buyers willingness to pay more for a well maintained home. 

  1. Lollygagging and ignoring communication jeopardizes home sales – Once the decision has been made to sell your home, it’s critical for your communications to be prompt and timely.  Don’t ignore your Realtors requests for answers to questions that the prospective Buyer may have or to delay signing/initialing a contract update. This type of lollygagging can irritate all parties to the sale of your home.  Be available, prompt and courteous when selling a home. 

  1. Buyers must envision themselves living in your home – This involves taking the “you” out of your home. When you’ve decided to sell your home, it is now important to realize that your home now needs to read like it could welcome anybody to suit their family.  Begin your packing before you get your home listed for sale and remove all the memories on display and all the things that say “you” live there.  Neutrality must now be present in your home.  This is because too many Buyers can’t look beyond the “youness” of your home to picture themselves there, so it’s best if you make it easy for them, so it will be easy for them to buy your home. 

  1. Photographs and Videos can sell homes – When you had your home listed for sale and you didn’t get any Buyers, did you know that Buyers skipped over your listing due to limited photos or poor quality photos? Yes, photographs do matter. Over 90% of Buyers start their home search online and they want to “see” homes and not read about homes; they want to see high quality photos and videos. Poor quality photographed homes will have Buyers snubbing their noses at your home. 

  1. Trying to hide a defect will haunt you – You never want to get a call from an Attorney, indicating that the Buyers that bought your home are now suing you for not disclosing that home structural issue that you were aware about, yet thought you’d keep it to yourself so you can sell your home for more money. Being slapped with a lawsuit is never welcome news to a home seller.  Speak the truth. 

  1. Cooperation continues to be the name of the game – When an exchange occurs such as does with a home sale, a little bit of cooperation will go along way and quite often, ending with a favorable outcome for a home Seller.  Don’t fight the Buyer tooth and nail, as they’ll immediately withdraw to put on their boxing gloves and in this scenario everyone loses.  A little give and take, more times than not, results in superior results. 

  1. What you love isn’t what a prospective Buyer loves – neutralize your home of your purple passion, your bold reds, your mounted hunting treasures or your Woodstock beads. Some can look past these things, but most cannot.  Do not give a Buyer a reason to find distaste in what you desire. When you sell a home it is not the time to show the world what makes you tick, you want to show how Buyers can fill your home with what makes them tick. 

  1. Closing date is move out date – It’s important to understand that when the closing date comes around, all of your belongings must be packed up and moved out, leaving behind a clean home ready for the Buyers to move in once they’re given the key at the closing table.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to stay a few days after closing to finish a few things you just never got to it. 

  1. Requiring that a Buyer meets financing eligibility increases your likelihood of selling your home – Make sure the Real Estate Agent that you hire, scrutinizes any incoming Buyer’s offer for their ability to actually be able to pay for your home. 

  1. Experience sells – Hiring a skilled, trusted, Real Estate professional gets homes sold in the shortest amount of time for the most amount of money. Your choice of a Real Estate Agent matters- take time to contact us and let’s get you on the right track to selling your home.

Contact us! 304.645.2255 For all your real estate needs!

Article adapted from Lynn Pineda-Imagine Your House

Five Money-Saving Green Upgrades

Have you considered making some changes to your home? Whether it be to increase value or increase the interest of buyers–maybe going GREEN is a good idea for you!

Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.

  1. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.black and silver solar panels
  2. Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
  3. Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
  4. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.Image result for rain barrel
  5. Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.Image result for geothermal system

    Greenbrier Valley Upcoming Events

    September 7, 2018 First Fridays After Five
    Check out the shops, galleries, and restaurants in downtown Lewisburg! Most stores staying open until 9 p.m. serving complimentary refreshments and entertainment!

    September 8, 2018 10a.m. – 4 p.m. White Sulphur Springs own Freshwater Folk Festival

    The Freshwater Folk Festival is a celebration of our nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources. The 2018 festival will feature great music, food, dance, crafts, fun and educational activities.

    September 8, 2018 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Ronceverte 1882 Heritage Days Celebration
    Celebrate Ronceverte’s rich hertitage

    September 8, 2018 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.  DARE to CRUZ Car Show
    Showcase of more than 100 street rods, muscle cars and vintage automobiles. All proceeds benefit the Lewisburg Police Department’s D.A.R.E program.

    Contact us for any real estate needs! 304.645.2255

Gregory Allman, Broker

7 Super-Easy Cleaning Recipes for the Most Awesome-Smelling Home

Essential oils are the key to these sweet-smelling (and highly effective!) homemade cleaners.

“What’s that smell?” That question could go either way when potential buyers enter a home for a home tour. If you’re trying to sell your home, you most definitely don’t want a foul odor to turn away a buyer. Take a look at some of these great all natural ways to clean your home and fill it with soothing smells rather than harsh chemical smells as you clean for your next showing or open house!

If you get light-headed just reading the ingredients on your cleaning products, take heart: There’s another way.

These make-in-minutes, super-cheap recipes create potions that use sweet-smelling essential oils that won’t fumigate your home, while having superpowers to fight grime and bacteria.

And much like a food recipe you may try, you can modify the oils to suit your own olfactory senses.

Citrusy All-Purpose Cleaner

tray of orange fruits

  • 15 drops of essential oil of lemon
  • 5 drops essential oil of sweet orange
  • 5 drops essential oil of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups filtered water

Funnel all these ingredients into a spray bottle, seal, and gently shake. There’ll be a battle of odors here, with the acidic vinegar likely winning out against the sweet-smelling oils, but don’t let this deter you.

The vinegar scent disappears quickly, but that citrusy, herby zing lingers on. And these oils aren’t just there for their scent alone. Lemon oil is a natural disinfectant, orange oil busts grease, and rosemary oil has some antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

Lemon-Scented Window Cleaner

  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 10 drops essential oil of lemon

Mix all these ingredients in dark glass spray bottle (it’ll protect the oils from breaking down).

Spray on any glass surface and polish in with a microfiber cloth. You’ll have sparkling panes and mirrors in no time, and that wondrous essential oil of lemon will kill off the bacteria left behind by mucky fingerprints.

Eucalyptus Toilet Bowl Cleaner

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  • 25 drops essential oil of eucalyptus
  • 1/3 cup Castile soap
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1-1/3 cups baking soda

Fill a squeeze bottle with the water, baking soda, and eucalyptus oil.

Seal the bottle and shake. Next, add the Castile soap. Shake again. Squeeze around the bowl. Leave for 15 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush, flush, and you’re done.

Aside from having a deliciously fresh aroma, eucalyptus is a natural germicide.

Lavender-Thyme Dish Cleaner

  • 20 drops essential oil of lavender
  • 10 drops essential oil of thyme
  • 5 drops of essential oil of tea tree
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup liquid Castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

This one does require some stovetop time: Bring the water to a boil, then mix in the oils. (Thyme and tea tree goes to war on salmonella while emitting a pleasant aroma along with lavender.) Add the rest of the ingredients slowly. After that, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once cooled, pour into a squeeze bottle. Shake gently before using.

Peppermint-Lavender Floor Cleaner

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  • 5 drops essential oil of peppermint
  • 5 drops essential oil of lavender
  • 5 drops of essential oil of tea tree
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Pour the vinegar into a bucket, fill that bucket up with hot water and add the oils.

Works on stone, tile, and wooden floors. Not only is peppermint oil anti-bacterial, many believe it can deter mice and other pests.

Tea tree oil is antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal. Not only is lavender oil antibacterial, too, but its aroma also has soothing properties that can calm your whole household.

Lavender Linen Spray

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  • 6 drops of essential oil of lavender
  • 2 tablespoons witch hazel
  • Filtered water

Fill a spray bottle with the witch hazel and lavender. Shake, top off with water, shake again, and then spray away.

 

Cinnamon and Sandalwood Air Freshener

  • 10 drops essential oil of cinnamon
  • 10 drops oil of sandalwood
  • 1 cup filtered water

A spritz of this subtle-but-effective scent erases stinks in seconds. Fill a spray bottle with the water and the oils. Cinnamon scent boosts brain power and sandalwood is calming — perfect for a hardworking, stressed out home!

Essential oils do mix, so if any of the scents in these recipes don’t appeal, play around with other oils. Just keep the quantities the same. For example, if you switched sandalwood for orange oil in this air freshener, stick to the 10 drops specified in the recipe.

Article adapted from HouseLogic-Anna Tobin


Greenbrier Valley Upcoming Events

September 8, 2018 10a.m. – 4 p.m. White Sulphur Springs own Freshwater Folk Festival
The Freshwater Folk Festival is a celebration of our nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources. The 2018 festival will feature great music, food, dance, crafts, fun and educational activities.


Contact us for any real estate needs in Lewisburg, WV and ALL surrounding areas!
304.645.2255

 

7 Small Home Flaws That Can Be Big Deals for Buyers

After living in the same home for a while, it’s amazing what you can get used to. A creaky floorboard, for instance. A chipped tile that you’ve been meaning to replace but haven’t gotten around to. A doorknob that needs a little coaxing to turn. No big deal, right?

Well, these small flaws can be huge deal breakers when you decide to sell your home.

Prospective buyers are going to add all the ‘flaws’ they find to the price of the property, and that’s when they start trying to discount the price.

Curious what some of these seemingly small problems are? Check out this list of minuscule (to you) things that buyers see as big hurdles to closing a sale.

1. An old electrical panel

This issue could arise when the home inspection is completed and an inspector might claim that repairs occur to get it “up to code.”

Sellers, you may see this as a small issue, and insist that the current panel works just fine.

But buyers, you more than likely see the electrical panel as a bigger issue that could fail at any time.

2. Ripped window screens

Window screens will wear out over time, but if yours are torn, take it seriously.

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They’re a pain for anyone to replace. Therefore, sellers don’t want to do it and buyers will insist that they do. If the sellers refuse to fix it, the buyers will demand a credit.

3. The location of your laundry room

Even if you own a state-of-the-art washer and dryer—and plan to bestow both on your lucky buyers—they may not be so thrilled with these nice appliances if they aren’t situated in what they think is the “right” place.

Some buyers have a problem with the laundry being on the ‘wrong’ level, especially in a three-level house or townhouse-style condo.

In other words, you might be fine lugging your laundry to the basement, but don’t expect all buyers to feel the same way. Offer to move these items to a new locale to warm buyers up.

4. Sticky door locks

Live in a house long enough, and you’ll encounter a malfunctioning door latch or lock. That may be no big deal to you, but it may alarm buyers big-time.

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If it’s an exterior door, they will likely view this as a major safety issue. And although it may seem like a simple fix, it’s often a complex one.

5. Your bathtub or shower

Some people prefer showers, others want baths (particularly parents who must clean up small kids). So if you’re missing one or the other, watch out.

In an ideal world, you’ll have both: a bath with a showerhead above. But even if your bathtub works just fine, make sure the style isn’t too off. Not everyone is excited to soak in a tub straight out of “Stranger Things” in avocado green.

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Nice, clean, and crisp bathroom will attract buyers. This combination offers a tub and shower.

6. Small closets

Many buyers focus on closets. Are there enough? Are they large enough? Walk-in closets are also preferred.

There are a few things you can do to ease these concerns. For one, try to make your closets look roomier by decluttering them as much as possible. Put excess items elsewhere (like a rented storage unit). You might also consider hiring a contractor to build or extend closets where needed—or at least point out to buyers that they can do this themselves.

7. The walls of your kitchen

Some people like—no, make that love— open kitchens. So if your kitchen currently has four walls, you could be in trouble.

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Beautiful, open kitchen is as inviting to buyers as it is to future guests in your new home!

Buyers may look at the possibility of breaking down a wall. But be warned, many might not want to do the work, or just get such a bad first impression of your kitchen that they move on. If you think your kitchen’s four walls feel cramped and is stalling your sale, consider opening it up yourself.

Article adapted from Realtor.com


Contact us for any of your real estate needs! We would love to offer our experience and expertise to you in you home selling or buying journey!

Greenbrier Real Estate Service | 304.645.2255 | 1047 Washington St. E. Lewisburg, WV 24957

4 Reasons For Home Sellers To Lower Their Asking Price

4 Reasons For Home Sellers To Lower Their Asking Price

Deciding on an asking price for your home is a difficult process. It’s always tempting to take the price you bought the home for, add a few thousand and call it a day. Unfortunately for many home sellers, the selling price of a home is determined by the climate of the local real estate market and the comparatives analyzed in the comparative market analysis. (We offer FREE Comparative Market Analysis) If you’ve staged your home and paid attention to curb appeal and are still not receiving any attention, it’s likely the asking price is to blame. Here are 4 reasons you may have to consider lowering your asking price.

1. Your Home Has Been On The Market Longer Than Average

It doesn’t matter if you are in a buyer’s or seller’s market, the comparables will show you how long similar homes are staying on the market before they are sold. Once your home has passed the threshold without any offers, it’s highly likely that the price is too high and is discouraging buyers from submitting an offer. If you’re unsure what a normal time on the market is for your area, we at Greenbrier Real Estate Service can help. We understand our local market reports and check out the average Days on Market. This is how long it has been taking, on average, for a home to sell recently in your local market. If you’re home is still on the market beyond that average, it’s time to consider lowering the price. This will attract the attention of buyers and their agents.

2. You’re Only Receiving Low Ball Offers.

You’ve received an offer! But, it is much lower than your asking price–and this keeps happening. If buyers are only submitting low ball offers on your home, the asking price for your home is too high for the value buyers are seeing in the home. Talk to your Greenbrier Real Estate Service REALTOR about how to handle these offers. It might be time to lower your asking price.

3. Many People Are Coming To Look At The Home But There Have Been No Offers.

Your home has everything going for it: location, layout, size, build. Buyers keep coming by to walk through the home and gush about how wonderful it is, but no one has made an offer. It’s time to take a serious look at your asking price. Is it really in line with the comparables in your neighborhood? If you haven’t already done so, have an appraiser check out the home to make sure its worth as much as you priced it.

4. You Can’t Make The Needed Upgrades To Attract Buyers.

Your home may not be receiving the right offers because it is not in the same state of repair as other homes in the same price bracket. If you are short on funds and can’t make the necessary updates, that amount must come out of the asking price. Buyers are going to be thinking about the cost of fixing and maintaining the house when they look at the asking price so you have to make it worth their time and money.

Tip: It’s not enough to just lower your price a little. Getting into a lower price bracket is the best way to attract a new audience for your home. Price brackets occur in 50K increments. this seems like a lot and maybe you don’t want to go down that much. Your agent will be able to help you make the right decision for your home. But, if you can switch brackets you’ll be part of a new set of competitors. This time, your home will be a catch for buyers and it could even inspire a bidding war.

 

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