Home Seller’s Guide
Selling Your Knoxville Home
In the past, the most important thing about preparing to list your Knoxville home for sale was to increase its “curb appeal.” NOW, the key to getting your Knoxville home sold is to increase its “web appeal.” In a recent article by the National Assoc. of Realtors (NAR), 91% of all home buyers went to the Internet FIRST when beginning the home buying process. When a home buyer searches the internet for homes and is looking at a list to scroll through – each home gets approximately 1-3 SECONDS of viewing time before it is clicked for more information or gets passed over.
How Do We Keep Your Home from Getting Looked Over?
The answer is simple – web appeal! The team at the Billy Houston Group has extensive marketing resources available to ensure your Knoxville home will get maximum online exposure and look its best! The same study by NAR included data about where buyers originally saw the homes they ended up purchasing broken down into three major categories:
- 35% of all buyers found their home through their chosen Buyer’s Agent/Realtor.
- 37% of buyers found the home they ended up purchasing through their own online searches! This represents a significant shift in our industry.
- 28% fell into a third catch-all category indicating every other source used by home buyers and Realtors to find available homes (open houses, newspaper, craigslist, etc.).
The primary goal of our Marketing System is to get your home in front of ready-to-purchase, motivated buyers and people who matter. Our goal is to get you more money as fast as possible. Because of that, we are closing a real estate transaction, on average, every 36 hours in the last 12 months.
In order to sell your home in Knoxville, TN, you have to understand who your competition is and position your home to stand out. You won’t be able to control the market conditions, recent property values, or competing listings. However, you can control you home’s price, condition, marketing and contract terms. In other words, the better you position your home as a “great value” to prospective buyers, the more likely you will sell. In order to determine what makes a home in your neighborhood a “great value,” check out your competition. Buyers will look at other comparable houses in your neighborhood whether you like it or not. It’s our job to tell them all the benefits they will receive if they buy your house.
What is Your Knoxville Home Worth?
One of the biggest challenges Knoxville home sellers face is how to price their home. Before deciding to sell, you probably have a number in mind that you would like to receive from a buyer. That number might be based on what you paid for the home, how much you need for your new home or what price your neighbors got for their home a year ago. The reality is that none of these should factor into the pricing strategy of your home.
Although trend data can be important, what matters is the selling price of similar houses in your market while your home is up for sale. Over time, you have probably invested a fair amount of resources into transforming your house into a home. It is perfectly understandable that you are also emotionally invested in its sale. Unfortunately, potential buyers don’t have an emotional attachment to your home yet. This impacts the way they see your home and allows them to take a more objective point of view.
As a selling agent, we will help you answer objective questions before listing such as:
- What are the most recent pricing trends?
- What upgrades could we make that will result in a higher asking price?
- If I need to sell fast, how does that affect my home’s value?
Pricing your home is both an art and a science. It is based on the current real estate market, but also takes into consideration market movement, inventory, demand, the home’s location and its condition. Combining these factors makes the “right” price a moving target. It involves comparing similar properties, taking into account key differences between them, and tracking whether prices are rising or falling in your market. A good place to start is to ask several real estate agents to give you a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) for your home. This report lists how many houses in your area have sold in the recent past, what buyers paid for properties similar to yours, which houses are currently competing with yours for buyer attention, and which properties failed to sell. By focusing on the statistics, you can stay objective when determining a listing price for your home. Keep in mind – the price you set will be an educated opinion based on all the data you have available to you. Even if you get your house appraised, no one will give you an exact figure. No home appraiser or real estate agent will tell you, “Your home is worth exactly $234,947.” Nor will two real estate agents or home appraisers price your home in the same way. Instead, they will give you a price range based on other comparable homes in your area.
Visit MyKnoxvilleHomeValue.com to schedule a no obligation, no charge consultation and start a complete pricing analysis.
THE DANGERS OF OVERPRICING YOUR HOME:
The absolute worst thing you can do is overprice your home from the start. The first two weeks after a listing is placed into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are the most important because that is when your house generates the most excitement and activity. If your property enters the market over-priced, serious buyers will overlook it because it is out of their price range. By the time you reduce the price, many potential buyers will have already found another home. Other buyers will wonder why your home has sat on the market for so long. Does it have major flaws?
Won’t They Make Me an Offer?
You might be thinking – if they like the home, won’t they just make me an offer? In most cases, the answer is no. They won’t even be looking at your home because it was initially priced outside their range. Why should they check out your home when they already know they can’t afford it? On the other hand, what will you do if a buyer submits a lowball offer? Many sellers feel insulted when a buyer tries to significantly discount their asking price and immediately reject the offer.
I Have Time To Wait
If you aren’t in a hurry to sell your home, you may be considering listing at a higher price and hoping the market takes an upturn. This is almost never a good strategy for two reasons. 1) Prices may continue to drop, causing you to lose more money. For instance, you list your home at $250,000 when comparable homes are selling for $225,000. A few months later, you decide to reduce your price to $225,000 – but now, home values have declined and comparable homes are selling for $210,000. Your home is still overpriced for the market. 2) People prefer to look at “brand new” listings rather than “stale” listings other buyers have rejected. If a listing is on the market for several months, buyers wonder what is wrong with it. If selling your home isn’t an urgent need, consider your motivations for putting it on the market now. Is this the right time for you? What do the market trends look like? Are home prices rising or falling in your local market? If you wait six months or a year, will you likely get a better price for your home? If you think the answer is “yes,” consider waiting to list.
What If I Price My Home Too Low?
Another fear sellers have is pricing too low. Potential buyers and investors are always looking for a “good deal.” When a home is listed at below market value, it gets a lot of people’s attention. Those who are serious about buying will quickly make an offer to snap up the property, and there is a high probability that you will receive multiple offers to drive up the price to market value.
If you want to get the best price possible in the shortest amount of time, doing some initial work to unclutter and update your home is a must. Sometimes, all it takes is a few simple changes to prepare your home for sale, such as cleaning, re-pairing anything that may be broken or giving your walls a fresh coat of paint. Other times, you may consider investing in larger upgrades such as new kitchen counters or windows. If you are considering selling your home, visit some open houses in your neighborhood to see what other homes look like. These are your competition. What improvements might be necessary to make your home as attractive as possible compared with other homes on the market? First impressions matter, so consider what buyers see when they drive by your home. This is “curb appeal.” How your home looks from the outside will determine whether potential buyers even get out of their cars to look inside.
Here are a few ideas for improving your exterior appearance:
- Sweet the front walkway
- Remove clutter such as toys, bikes, and extra cars
- Trim the shrubs
- Consider applying a fresh coat of paint
- Clean windows, roof, and gutters
- Mow the lawn and plant flowers
- Clean up after pets
Next, consider what buyers will see when they walk inside. Here are a few ideas for preparing your interior.
- Make sure your appliances work
- Check your plumbing and fix any leaky faucets
- Thoroughly clean your kitchen and bathroom
- Check your sealant on windows, bathtubs, shower and sink
- Clean your carpets and vacuum
- Straighten closets and put toys, clothes and dishes out of sight
- Consider putting excess furniture and fixtures in storage to give rooms a spacious feel
- Remove family photos and other personal items
- Fix squeaky doors
- Remove pet odors and toys
How a home is marketed is completely different from how someone might live there. Potential buy-ers need to see themselves living in the homes, so create an environment where buyers feel they can “move in” now. Minor things matter, so try to get an outsider’s perspective, such as your real estate agent, to help you identify problem areas you might have overlooked. Consider getting a second opinion before you do any major renovations or improvements. A good real estate agent or home stager can help you decide which are most likely to add to your home’s sales price and which may cost more money than you can get back.
Real estate, as we all know, is all about Location, Location, Location. Well, SELLING real estate, as our team continues to prove is all about Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. We are one of very few real estate professionals in this market that has a full time marketing professional that is dedicated to getting your home the most *and best* online exposure as possible. Effective marketing ensures that your home receives maximum exposure in the local market and requires more effort than simply listing it in the MLS, running an ad in the newspaper, and putting a “For Sale” sign in the front lawn. A good real estate agent will have an extensive marketing plan for your home to get buyers to take notice. Some marketing tactics you might consider using include:
- Professional Photography – Unfortunately, the truth is that most real estate photos are terrible. Often, photography is an after-thought to listing a property for sale and consists of an agent, who is not trained as a photographer, snapping pictures as he or she rushes to put the home in the MLS. We pride ourselves in working with some of the best local professional photographers and will have that all arranged before listing the property.
- Signage – Get a professional “For Sale” sign that includes your agent’s contact information and ways potential buyers can receive more information about the home, such as by calling a toll-free hotline, visiting your property’s website, or speaking directly to your agent.
- Flyers – Our marketing director will design a high resolution full color flyer (front and back) advertising your home for sale. If needed, we will provide a flyer box to put outside with the sign for drive-by traffic. These flyers also have a “text code” on them for the buyer who isn’t comfortable picking up the phone to call, but would text.
- Open Houses – Allowing potential buyers to tour your home is essential to selling it quickly. We have several strategies that we implement from Day 1 on the market when it comes to open houses.
- Direct Mail – Sending postcards and announcements to other home owners in your neighborhood can be a good way to find a potential buyer. Sometimes, your neighbors know potential buyers who already find the neighborhood attractive.
- Internet – Ninety percent of today’s buyers start their home searches on the internet, so it is essential to have a website that provides as much information as possible.
- Agent marketing – Marketing to local real estate agents can also be effective because in many cases, another agent will find the buyer for your home. When choosing a real estate agent, ask what types of marketing they use to spread the word to other local real estate agents.
More Questions? Fill out our contact form and we’ll be glad to chat!