Friday, October 8, 2010
When you’re selling a house, you get one week to capture the interest of potential buyers. That’s it.
Longtime real estate journalist Mary Umberger recently reported that two recent studies in the U.S. and New Zealand came up with the same results: that an online listing captures four times as many views in its first week as it does a week later. After that, traffic to the listing, and buyer interest, fall off a cliff.
What does this mean to anxious sellers?
One thing: get it right the first time. There is no room to ‘test’ a price or update photos depicting a cleaner, brighter, less cluttered house. Serious househunters check every day for new listings. If yours does not appeal on the key elements – price, condition and location – they will move on and never look back.
There’s not much you can do about location. But you have full control over price and condition.
Price is the hardest to get right. Real estate agents tout their “market analysis,” which compares your house in size, condition and price to those that recently sold, and those that are currently on the market. It’s not hard to pull together this information on your own. Either way, this type of ‘market analysis’ lacks one vital component: it’s untested with lenders. That’s why ForSaleByOwner.com recommends that sellers always get an appraisal from a licensed appraiser. Appraisers work with lenders to independently validate the selling price of a house.
When you base your selling price on a current appraisal, you are aligning your price with what lenders are likely to accept. That dramatically increases your chance of getting an offer that a a lender will support with a mortgage. And that’s the end game of a strong first impression.
Image courtesy of Morguefile user anitapatterson.