Will Rogers once said, "You never get a second chance at a first impression." While Mr. Rogers was talking about people, it is also applicable to houses, especially when they are on the market for sale.
Statistics for increase in sales and a decrease in inventory continue in the right direction. Multiple offers are becoming the norm in many areas. Realtors in Seattle are relearning the need to include an escalator clause in any offer they present. So, are we back to the “good old days”? Far from it.
So, does this mean that any home listed for sale will sale quickly? Absolutely not!
Buyers today are savvy, compare costs and know what they want. Most of my clients want a home in good condition, move-in ready. Repairs are not in the budget. Although short sales are not the bargain they once were, with shorter response times from lenders, buyers are still finding the uncertainty of actually closing acceptable if they see the possibility of getting the perfect home.
While the price of a home and its square footage are important factors in judging a home, buyers’ also base their decision largely on how they “feel” and whether the home fits their lifestyle.
For home buyers, the home’s “feeling” has to be just right to make them want to buy.
If you have ever been in model homes, you know how good they look. You might have even thought that you'd like to have the home and all the furniture, the pictures, the flower arrangements, and even the knick-knacks on the shelves.
Some individuals really know how to make a home look its best without spending a lot of money. Many things can be done to give it that "model home" look so prospective buyers will want it and everything else in the house that you're willing to sell. Sometimes simple things can move your home to the top of the list. Staging is considered imperative in today’s market.
When staging isn’t enough to get a home sold, some remodeling may be necessary. Before jumping in with a complete kitchen remodel, check out the competition. Do you really need that $30,000 granite counter to add value to surpass the other listings? Ask your Realtor for Cost to Value reports that show what you would expect to recoup. Check out the other listings in the area. But remember to view them as a prospective buyer would. Would you be willing to pay the asking price? What features do you feel sets this home apart? Can you say the same thing about your own home? Sometimes just doing the basics is all that is needed to turn a listing into a sale.
Joan Probala is the managing broker for Issaquah Windermere (Windermere Real Estate/East Inc.). She has 30 years of experience in real estate, construction and sales. She is president-elect (2012) of the Seattle King County Association of Realtors.