Gone are the days when all it took to sell a house was a “for sale” sign in the front yard. Here are five creative strategies to help your home go from “for sale” to “sold.”
We all know the housing market is tough these days. Foreclosures are up, home values are down. So how do you make your house stand out in the crowd and sell quickly? Whether you have a real estate broker or are selling your home on your own, these creative selling strategies could help you make that sale.
Reinvent the open house
We’re all familiar with the traditional open house and, if you’ve been to a few, they all tend to blur together. To make your open house stand out, try throwing a lively party that offers wine, catered hors d’oeuvres, live music and prizes. Use the opportunity to show your home full of life, the way it will be for those who will eventually be living in it.
Throwing an open house party also enables you to show off the best features of your home. Have a quartet playing in your living room that showcases your fabulous view. Hire a chef to prepare hors d’oeuvres in your gourmet kitchen. Throw a BBQ out on your large deck.
As with any open house, just be sure you aren’t there when it happens. And if you are doing for sale by owner, you can still throw a party. Invite everyone you know and ask them to bring a friend to spread the word. Have a trusted friend or family member serve as host to the party.
Sell your home through staging
Homes that have been staged spend 83 percent less time on the market. Staging helps buyers see the features of each room, rather than you and your personality, and costs can be minimal if you do it yourself. The first step is to declutter and remove any family photos or decorations that may be too specific to your tastes. Then, go neutral—with your paint and accessories. Remove any bulky furniture that is blocking the flow through the rooms or may be distracting. Finally, be sure that everything is spotless and that all unfinished projects are completed.
Let the buyer sleep on it
You get to test drive a car, so why not have the opportunity to test drive what could be the biggest financial decision of your life? Giving a serious potential buyer the opportunity to spend a night in your home enables them to truly experience what it would be like to live there. It could provide that extra push to get to a signed contract. Just be sure to consult with your real estate agent or attorney before handing over your keys to a stranger.
Sell your home at auction
Auctions aren’t just for foreclosed homes. Real estate auctions continue to grow as sellers look for other ways to quickly sell their homes. Auctions can be much more convenient as they usually offer very limited timeframes for potential buyers to view the property, the sale is completed quickly and closing typically happens in 45 days or less. Properties are sold “as is” and you can even request a reserve amount for your home, which is the minimum you’d be willing to accept for the sale.
Help buyers with their financing
It may seem like a buyer’s market right now, but that’s only if the buyers can secure financing. Lenders have been tightening their purse strings and increased their rules. In some cases, it’s to everyone’s benefit for buyers and sellers to team up through what is called creative financing.
Creative financing options can include having the buyer take over payment on your existing mortgage (called a mortgage assumption; check with your lender to see if this option is available), helping a buyer build a down payment through a lease-to-own deal, or offering seller-assisted financing. With seller-assisted financing, you are acting as the lender to the buyer and can either finance the buyer fully or partially.
All creative financing options can be risky and you should only pursue them after you have talked with your real estate agent, attorney, and financial planner.
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