Monday, July 23 , 2018, 6:21 am | Fair 66º


Paul Suding: Tips for the First-Time Home Seller

The keys are pricing, promotion and, yes, being prepared to take a loss

In today’s largely “buyer’s market,” buyers are getting great deals, interest rates are at ridiculously low levels and there is a fair amount of housing stock to choose from. But what about sellers in this market?

The new reality is that sellers are now paying money to close escrow (instead of making money), they are spending more time and money to get their home market-ready, and they are often waiting longer to find a buyer and close escrow. These days, the value of one’s home is often not the profit when it’s sold, but the enjoyment that the owners experienced from living in the home.

But if you are a first-time seller, here are three tips that will make your selling experience a better one.

Price It Realistically from the Start

Why? Because your largest number of showings and highest level of interest will occur in the first two to three weeks. Most active “ready willing and able” buyers are getting electronic updates from their Realtors on a daily basis for properties new on the market. Be smart and take advantage of that sweet spot by pricing your home competitively right out of the gate. Price reductions, although often necessary, are not the preferred option.

Be Prepared to Take a Loss

That may sound odd at first, but you don’t want to sit with a house that won’t sell. So, don’t be the first-time seller who insists you can get the appraised value, the tax assessor’s estimate or whatever you paid a few years ago. It’s not relevant!

The truth is that your house is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. No more. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but this medicine is the right prescription for the ailment.

Buyers and sellers determine the market, not just sellers. If the true value is less than what you thought it was, in order to be a seller — and not an “owner” — you may need to adjust your thinking, or wait until the market improves.

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion!

Some questions to ask yourself and pose as you interview Realtors: How will you reach the home’s target market? Once you identify the target market, how will it be promoted to those buyers? What Web sites will your listing appear on? Is it effective to have public open houses? What print advertising will be productive? The vast majority of home searching by buyers is done online. And since a buyer’s first look is almost always online, photos become inherently important. In fact, they can be pivotal — it’s a buyer’s first impression.

With the variety of marketing options that Realtors have, it will be important to utilize the ones that generate the best results for your home and the market you are trying to reach.

If you manage your expectations according to our current market conditions and make seller decisions like a seasoned pro, you’ll be way ahead of the game. Good luck!

Paul Suding, a real estate agent with Cool Santa Barbara Homes and Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.455.8055.

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