A Fast Sale in a Slow Market

by : Matt Barker

If you want to sell fast in a slow market, you have to make your house more appealing to more people; one way to do this is to list it at a fair - if not discount - price. Gulp! If you can't get past that one, here are a few other tips to help you maximize your chances! The most important factors in selling a home revolve around the three M's: mediation, money and marketing.

Mediation requires skill, perception and balance. If you try to sell without a real estate agent you will loose all these attributes. Remember buyers do not have to pay the real estate agent anything. He or she does all the legwork for them for free. It is obviously absolutely in their best interests to work with one.

You pay the fee, but for this you have buyers attracted to your home, visits pre-arranged and organized to suit them, encouraging reminders of the positive aspects of your home that specifically fits their needs, a diplomatic middle man in the price negotiation and a trouble-shooter for any problems.

It cannot be doubted that the mediator is a most important part of the deal. Of course you have to do the job of analyzing who would be a good mediator when you are choosing an agent.

It is also difficult to fully exploit the second M - of money - without having a real estate agent working for you. We've dealt with the most obvious aspect of the money i.e. under cutting the market price. But there are other ways to financially offer temptations to a prospective buyer.

Many people who are buying a home are extending themselves to the limit to get the best home for their cash. Small financial incentives from you may go a long way. When people have to give a deposit, often there is not much deposit that is available! There is a school of thought that rationalizes that the bigger the deposit, the more serious the buyer is.

Try to get past this idea now that we are in a slow realty market; a big deposit is a deterrent; a small deposit is affordable and easily placed on your property. Once there is a deposit on your property the prospective buyer will feel psychologically involved with buying your home, and the realtor can start doing his work in assisting the buyer with finance or any problems and smoothing out barriers that may arise. This cannot happen if they are not committed to your house.

There are situations where you will not be so quick to accept a small deposit, for instance if the buyer is not pre-approved for finance, but your realtor will be able to advise you in each circumstance.

A final point on money, it is often suggested that in a slow market, you can consider giving a final push to a sale. Your realtor will advise you to do this only if it will bind the deal, so timing is critical. Handing out ready cash is often more painful than accepting a big mortgage.

At the end of the contract some of the buyer's hard earned cash has to be paid out for closing fees (sometimes called legal fees). At this point you can offer to make a 'seller contribution' - some financial help toward their closing costs. This means that all the paperwork that is prepared is still valid and no delay will be incurred as it would with a drop in price.

With regard to marketing, you need to agree with your real estate agents' plan to market your house. This will include Internet exposure, open houses, media advertising, MLS listings and any other exposure that you or he may wish. Once a plan is drawn up, you will need to confirm that it is followed, and talk over any changes that you may feel are necessary.

Your part of the marketing strategy will be to prepare for viewings at any time, and be sure that you have 'home-staged' the house. Your realtor will explain how to do this. In a nutshell it is making your home look appealing to a stranger by de-personalizing and de-cluttering it to give a spacious 'staged' look.