Interest rates continue to stay low (although we are all waiting for that to eventually change) and inventory remains limited here on Maui. Perfect opportunity to sell your home, right? Market conditions may be favorable but pricing your property to sell remains the one most important decision a seller needs to make.
Discuss the Pros and Cons of Your Home
When you first begin conversations with agents on listing your home, you should be having the conversation about what is great about your place and what isn't so great. What do you love about your home and what would you change if you could? You also need to have a realistic talk about the condition and general maintenance of your property. Your agent is doing a good job for you if they point out areas that may be problematic for potential buyers.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression - so make it good! Identify the times that could raise issues for buyers. One old water spot on the ceiling from an old leak that was repaired will have folks questioning the integrity of the entire roof. Paint it. You may love your collection of knickknacks from your travels, but to others it just looks like a lot of junk. Declutter it. And that hall closet and garage that have served you so well as extra storage - Clean it. People buy what they see and if they see repairs and dirt and clutter they will move on to something else. Spend the time and the money necessary to lighten, brighten and make your home as welcoming as possible.
When a property goes for sale we experience what I call the Honeymoon Phase. New listings generate interest with clients and other realtors. The listing agent will typically put the property on a realtor caravan, have open houses and devote both social media and other marketing efforts to get the word out. How long that Honeymoon Phase lasts can vary depending on the market, but it generally doesn't last longer than 30 days and sometimes even shorter than that.
Pricing to Sell
All of the things discussed above are very important but none of it will make much difference if the price isn't right. Typically sellers want to overprice their property and that's understandable. Most of us have a lot of time, energy and dollars in to our homes. However, the market, and buyers in particular, are looking for value. No amount of marketing can overcome a poorly priced home. On Maui, the average days on market in 2015 through May for single family homes is 111. Your goal as a seller should be to beat that average. The longer the house stays on the market, the harder it is to sell. Once that Honeymoon Phase is over, buyers and realtors both tend to move on and look at what's new on the market. The only way to get their attention back is to drop the price. That can be a slippery slope because the longer your home stays on the market and the more price reductions you make, the more likely response from buyers is wondering what's wrong with the property. Don't chase the market downward. You just won't win. Price your property to sell right from the beginning and you will get a price you are comfortable with and a SOLD sign in your front yard much faster.