| October 13, 2014
Selling a home in 2014 is vastly different from doing so in the pre-Internet age, and even from doing so in 2004, when market values were inflated and prospective buyers didn't have access to the same wealth of information. Today, if you're looking to attract the right type of buyer, you need to be armed with not only an appropriate list price, but the right sort of marketing tools that appeal your property to the modern multiple listing service-savvy shopper.
As a recent MarketWatch piece detailed, selling your home in the post-recession market means being transparent, but also enhancing visual appeal. As members of Generation Y become more prominent industry players over the next decade, understanding the most common research methods and what constitutes a red flag is essential. Here are a few points to bear in mind if you're considering putting your home on the market soon:
- Everything is Google-able. Gone are the days of misleading newspaper listings or even online posts that boast the relative charm and convenience of a neighborhood or downplay the need for a property facelift. Today, any consumer, serious or otherwise, can pull up a Google street view of your home and see it from multiple angles, as well as those of the rest of your block. Similarly, there are resources such as the Kids Live Safe database that are available to anyone who can navigate the web - and that includes almost everyone shopping for a home - so masking the unattractiveness of the house down the street or inflating the acreage available is no longer an option. Get inside the mind of a buyer by utilizing every resource they might access, and then go about creating your listing honestly and accordingly.
- Think practically and realistically. Start by using multiple listing services such as Trulia or Zillow to see how your home and others in the area are perceived - after all, these are the tools with which much of your audience is likely equipped. Then, consider what comparable properties in the neighborhood have sold for and factor in local crime statistics, school district ratings and proximity to things like public transportation and grocery stores - all of which the buyer can confirm, so you can't fudge - and you'll have a clearer idea of an appropriate asking price. Bidding wars still occur, particularly in areas where inventory is tight and sellers still have the upper hand, but in the modern market the buyer's knowledge offers them more leverage than ever before.
- Pictures can be the great equalizers. Selling your home still relies on demand, and the best way to generate demand is by getting people through the door. A well-conceived online listing, buoyed by a carefully crafted photo collection, is instrumental in drumming up that sort of foot traffic. Hiring a professional photographer can be an expense well worth your time and money, as they can help you construct the proper angles and manipulate lighting in the right rooms in an effort to display your home as attractively as possible. Given how much initial research is conducted online, the more photos you have, from as many angles and vantage points as possible, the better your listing will appear. You'll also be eliminating the possibility that buyers will feel duped when they encounter surprises upon visiting in person, thereby satisfying their need for transparency while presenting yourself as savvy, modern and reputable as a seller in today's market. That may not get you offers from everyone who views the property virtually, but it should increase your chances by bringing more people in the actual, physical door.