Forget location, location, location. In today's real estate market, there are two things you need to do if you want to sell your house quickly.
Thing Number One: Pricing. When your agent says to "price it right" or to "price it aggressively," what he really means is to price it low. Lower than what your neighbor sold his for. Lower than what the house up the street is listed at. So low that it makes your teeth hurt.Now is not a fun time to have a house on the market. If you've done your soul-searching and have it listed, it's because you are in a situation where you have to sell.
Say it. "I have to sell."
Once you've accepted your dismal position, just price the house to unload it fast. Bemoaning your plight or dragging out the pain doesn't do anything but feed your ulcer. Sell it and get on with the rest of your life. Oddly, you will feel better to be rid of the albatross. Prolonging your agony isn't worth the extra few thousand you think you might get or rightfully deserve.
Thing Number Two: Photography. This is actually as important as the pricing, but agents would prefer you not know that. Here's why: Agents don't make a nickel until your house sells. All marketing of your house will come out their pocket up front. Professional photographers aren't cheap, at least not the good ones. So agents typically look for ways to reduce their out-of-pocket marketing costs.
If your agent assures you that his cell phone camera takes great photos, fire him. Don't sign a contract with someone unless they tell you who they plan on hiring to photograph the house. The National Association of Realtors says that of all the homes sold, almost 90% of them were first seen online. That moves the new curb appeal away from your front garden and on to your computer. It's all about the photos.
Redfin Corp., a Seattle-based brokerage, found that listing photos shot with the higher-end SLR cameras used by photographers, tended to command higher asking prices. Listings with nicer photos gain anywhere from $934 to $116,076 as measured by the difference between asking and closing prices.
Redfin found that more than half of homes listed at above $1 million were shot with low-end cameras, so somebody isn't listening.
Photography is an art very different from the skill set involved in selling real estate. The photographer should know about lighting, angle, time of day shooting, staging, decluttering, how to make a room look larger, how to camouflage a room's flaws, etc. This isn't a point-and-shoot job, nor is it one that should be done from the front seat of the photographer's car with his side window cutting into the shot.
Ask your agent not just for the photographer's name, but ask for examples of his work. Don't be impressed by the fact that he shoots for the local glossy homes magazine you see in the freebie racks in the supermarket. Those guys are generally paid about $50 to $100 per shoot and often do "drive-by" photography.
You want to be home when your photography shoot is scheduled too. If, for no other reason, you can see the level of care the photographer puts into it and how long he stays.
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