Step 2: Pricing, Timing, and Staging
By: Victoria B. Hathaway, Guest Contributor, Director of Silver Group of Bob Lucido Team of Keller Williams Integrity
Market Analysis & Pricing:
You should not use your tax assessment or Zillow or the price you paid for it to determine the selling price of your home. As the Seller, you should expect to be presented with a detailed market analysis of the home, showing all recent market activity (usually up to three months back in time and in close proximity to your actual home) including pricing for homes that have sold, are under contract, or are currently on the market. Out of this array, a close examination of which homes are most like YOUR home (square footage, age, condition, improvements) will help your Agent to assist you with recommending the right selling price for your home. Understand your Seller Net, which is the amount of money you will have AFTER the costs of selling (transfer taxes, commission, renovations) are deducted from your home’s sale price. Beware of Agents who “buy the listing,” telling you an inflated selling price that they then ask you to lower after your home has become stale and not sold at the too-high price. Also beware of the “Pocket Listing” where the Agent does not make the property public and does not make the investment in marketing the property, potentially depriving the Seller from the chance to sell for the highest possible price.
The Agent should be knowledgeable about the timing of your home sale, educating about how the time of year may impact the process and create predictability around the Buyer. For example, many families with school-age children are shopping in the spring and early summer in order to be settled prior to the start of the school year. Winter shoppers tend to be very serious Buyers and they know they are coping with reduced inventory at that time of year, which is good for you as the Seller. Another aspect of timing the sale is for your Agent to pay close attention to your requirements for your move timetable. If you are under contract with a senior living community, it is usual to have a structured timetable and occupancy date for the move. Your Agent should inquire if you must sell in order to be able to make the move or if you are able to move first and then sell. Or you may like to sell and then have a rent-back time period if you are waiting to for your new home to be ready to occupy. Everything should be tailored to YOUR needs.
Once you have determined your home’s pricing and timing for the sale, the next step should be a visit by your real estate Agent’s professional Stager, who has specialized training in visual merchandising, current color palettes and finishes (cabinets, hardware, lighting, trims, walls and flooring) most in demand by Buyers. The Stager will help guide you in preparing your home with the greatest possible appeal to your Buyers. Working to declutter and to use what you already own, rearranged to best effect, should always be the goal.
Although most Sellers are in residence during the home’s selling period, many times older adult Sellers have already vacated the home and this is absolutely fine! Homes that are both vacant and/or empty do not present a selling challenge and your needs as Seller should always be paramount. Some Buyers actually choose the vacant and empty home because it feels like a new home and it can speed their ability to move in.
Victoria Hathaway is the Director of Silver Group, Bob Lucido Team of Keller Williams Integrity’s unique senior division. She is a REALTOR®, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP), Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), immediate past President of the Coalition of Geriatric Services (COGS), and serves the board of the Maryland Gerontological Association and advisory boards for Johns Hopkins University’s Aging Studies and the National Association of Senior Advisors (NAOSA). To learn more about our silver group division, call 410.465.6900 or visit boblucidoteam.com/silvergroup