We all want to be good neighbours. But when it comes to selling your Hamilton home, it’s not just about “keeping up with the Joneses.” It’s about out-shining them at every opportunity!
If you’re looking to sell your home fast and for the most money possible, you’ll need a strategy to set it apart from all the other listings competing for buyers in your area. That’s why I’m outlining my proven, five-step plan for serious sellers.
Use these five tactics to help your listing get noticed, win over buyers, and net a higher sales price than your neighbours!
STEP 1: Stage Your Home to Show Its Full Potential
The average seller will do the minimum to prepare their home for market: clean and declutter, fix anything that’s broken, mow the lawn (some may even do less...and I've seen it...WOW!). And while those tasks are essential, today’s buyers want more than just a clean house and tidy yard. When they dream of buying a new home, they envision a designer house with modern finishes. Help them see your property’s full potential by staging it.
Home staging is one of the hottest trends in real estate—because it works! According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are professionally staged spend 73% less time on the market.1
So what exactly is staging? In a broad sense, staging is the act of preparing your home for market. The goal is to highlight your home’s strengths, minimize any deficiencies, and help buyers envision themselves living in the space. When staging a home, you might rearrange the furniture to make a room feel larger or remove heavy curtains to make it appear brighter.
Some sellers choose to hire a professional home stager, who has specialized training and experience, to maximize the appeal of their home to the largest number of potential buyers. Others may opt to do it themselves, using guidance from their agent (In my clients' cases, I pay for the staging consultation).
A good agent can help you determine the appropriate budget and effort required to push your home ahead of the competition in your neighbourhood. The good news is, an investment in staging usually pays off. A 2018 survey found that 85% of staged homes sold for 6-25% more than their unstaged neighbours' homes. And what you pay for staging is almost CERTAINLY going to cost you less than ANY price reduction you may be forced to make.
STEP 2: Draw Buyers in with High-Quality Listing Photos
You only have one chance to make a first impression with potential buyers. And many buyers will view photos of a listing before they decide whether or not to visit it in person. In fact, 87% of buyers find photos “very useful” in their home search.3 Poor-quality or amateur-looking listing photos could keep buyers from ever stepping through your door.
Since good photography plays such an important role in getting your property noticed, your agent should work with the top local professionals to photograph your property (Note - I include the cost of photography in the service package I provide).
But you don't want your agent to just rely on the photographer's skills when it comes to showcasing your home. You should expect them go the extra mile to ensure your listing photos showcase the true essence of your home. That means being on site during the photo shoot to help the photographer capture the best angles and lighting, and to let them know about unique or compelling selling features that they should photograph. The extra effort pays off in the end. In fact, listings with high-quality photography sell 32% faster than the competition … and often for more money!4
STEP 3: Price It Properly From the Start
Even in a strong real estate market, there are homes that will sit unsold for months on end. This can be the “kiss of death” in real estate, as buyers tend to imagine that there must be something wrong with the property, even if it’s not the case.
But why are those houses still on the market in the first place? It’s because they are often priced too high.
Every buyer has a budget. And most will be viewing listings within a particular price range. If your property is overpriced, it can’t properly compete with the other houses they’re viewing that are priced correctly. Which means it’ll sit on the market until you’re eventually forced to drop the price.
Alternatively, if you price your home aggressively, it can be among the nicest homes that buyers have seen within their budget. This can lead to emotionally-attached buyers, who are often willing to pay a premium or settle for fewer seller concessions. And in certain markets, it can lead to a multiple-offer situation, or bidding war. The end result? More money in your pocket.
A good agent will take a great deal of care in helping you determine the ideal listing price for your home in the current market. Pricing it properly in the beginning is the best way to ensure a fast and profitable sale.
STEP 4: Put on a Good Show at Each Showing
Once buyers are interested enough to schedule a visit, it’s crucial that you put on a good show at each showing.
The first step is to make your home readily available—and often on short notice—for buyers to see it. A missed showing is a missed opportunity to sell your home. If you set too many restrictions on when it’s available to view, busy buyers will simply skip over your listing and move on to the next one.
Part of making your home available means keeping it relatively show-ready as long as it’s on the market. Most of us don’t live picture-perfect lives, and our homes reflect the day-to-day reality of our busy (and sometimes messy) families. But a little extra effort spent keeping your home clean, fresh-smelling, and ready for buyers will help it sell faster…which means you can get back to your regular routine as quickly as possible!
Yes, it can be a drag, and even exhausting, but I'll give you a tip - every time you clean/tidy up, think of yourself doing it for money...because you are! It'll pay off. I even used this mental tactic myself once, and the 23 showings and 4 open houses between our first and second offers (which was over $50K more) were each worth about $2,000. Not a bad cleaning fee!
STEP 5: Use a Proven Promotion Plan
Most agents are still marketing their listings like they did 20 years ago … put a sign in the yard, put the listing in the MLS, and pray that it sells. Yet, we know that 93% of buyers (and growing) search for real estate listings online.3
That’s why a good, modern agent will invest in the latest training and technology—to ensure your listing appears in the places where buyers are most likely to look. My own dual-level promotion strategy includes both pre-launch activities designed to seed the marketplace and post-listing activities to ensure your home stays top-of-mind with potential buyers (ask me for a copy of my 8-week Marketing Plan to see for yourself).
By utilizing online and social marketing platforms to connect with consumers and offline channels to connect with local real estate agents, your property gets maximum exposure to prospective buyers which is exactly what you want and certainly exactly what you deserve if you are working with a brokerage and paying them a commission fee.
LET’S GET MOVING
Are you thinking about listing your home? Get a head start on your competition! Contact me for a copy of my Selling Smart Information Guide, which offers a complete guide to the home selling process and a rundown of what you can expect working with me to sell your home. Or book a time online with me for a free no-commitment consultation. I'd love to put together a custom plan to maximize the sales potential of your property!
Thanks so much for your time. Have a great day!
Mike McCarthy, MBA
- Real Estate Staging Association - https://www.realestatestagingassociation.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=304550&module_id=164548
- Home Staging Resources -
- National Association of Realtors -
- RIS Media -