Selling Strategies for a Soft Market #2

What Sells a Property?

Last weekís Ask the Realtors covered the first step in successfully selling your home in our ìsoftî sellerís market - 1. Make a Plan.

This weekís second installment of TEAM MIKEís 8 Keys to Selling Success ó Strategies for our Soft Market says your plan needs to understand and address the four fundamental factors that affect the sale of real estate in the Grand Traverse area.

Key #2 - What Sells a Home:

1. Location

2. Condition

3. Price

4. Marketing

Location is the factor you have the least ability to affect; the location of your real estate is fixed by definition. (Goes without saying, doesnít it?) It is the primary factor a buyer decides upon, and is the one factor on which a seller should spend the least amount of worry and effort. Beware of pouring money into improving a property that whose value is limited by its location and/or neighbors.

Conversely, it is the property itself, and its location, that constitutes the largest component of overall value. In general, property gains value over time, and structures lose value over time.

The next three factors are where you need to spend the most effort, construct the strongest plan, and make the best decisions.

The Condition of your home and property is vitally important to its successful sale in our soft market, and this is a factor you have a lot of control over. With the sea of Traverse City real estate for sale, your home needs to stand out amongst the competition within its price range. TEAM MIKE suggests to our clients that their property needs to be kept in ìshow conditionî while it is being marketed and shown for sale. (Weíll go into great detail about this in the coming weeks.)

Very few of us live in homes that are in show condition, much like very few of us drive cars around that are in show condition. We can all come up with excuses why we cannot keep our homes in show condition, but read very carefully: All things being (even close to) equal, the home in the best condition sells first.

Picture going through your used carís interior with a toothbrush cleaning every nook and cranny, and using every cleaner, polish, and special tool in your arsenal to get it ready to sell. Now apply that mentality to your home. Clean it, put it away, and get rid of all of the clutter.

For heavenís sake, try to limit the pet hair, not to mention the litter box odor. Replace all of the burned out light bulbs. Fix the sticking door. Actually paint the back bedroom with the can of paint you bought two years ago.

Remember, "show condition."

How and where you Price your property for sale is of vital importance, and unfortunately not clearly understood by most sellers, and even some real estate agents. Realize that in todayís Grand Traverse area real estate market, residential property has become more of a commodity and sellers (and their agents) need to adjust their pricing accordingly to be successful.

If you are shopping for a white refrigerator and have $400 to spend, you have literally dozens of possibilities to choose from right here in our area, and you are going to get the absolute best white fridge for your dollar. The current Traverse City real estate market is no different.

Buyers in any segment of our market have literally dozens of candidates available, regardless of what they are looking for or how much they want to spend. Your property has to stand out amongst its competition to even be in consideration.

As of this writing, there are 337(!!) homes currently listed for sale on the Traverse Area Association of Realtorsí (TAAR) Multiple Listing Service (MLS) with asking prices between $259,000 and $300,000. Thatís only a $40,000 sliver of the available market, and just the ones in our area!

Finally, the Marketing of your Traverse City property is the crux of your challenge, and needs to be cunningly incorporated into your plan.

Read the last sentence again for us.

Thereís a LOT of competition, but if you are serious about selling your home, utilize all of the tools that you can bring to bear to achieve success. That includes hiring the best real estate agent(s) you can find, developing a strong marketing plan with them, and implementing that plan aggressively.

Be creative and flexible. Spread the word. Concentrate as much energy on the Internet as possible. Not only has the World Wide Web become the most dominant aspect of real estate marketing, it becomes more so every day.

You can try to market your home by yourself, but how thorough a plan can you develop and implement? Will that really be your best chance of achieving success? If your time or financial options to sell your home are limited in any way, we implore you to seek the very best professional help you can find as quickly as possible. It is not a coincidence that between 80-90 percent of all for-sale-by-owners eventually list their properties with a real estate brokerage to successfully sell them... and thatís in an average sellerís market.

We are experiencing a ìsoftî sellerís market, but with a well-designed and executed selling strategy that successfully addresses the four fundamental factors that sell homes, you can be one of those sellers in the Grand Traverse area that find willing and able buyers.

Stay tuned to Ask the Realtors for an in-depth assembly of your Strategy for Success in our Soft Market. As always, donít hesitate to leave your question or comments below, or e-mail or directly.

And for all of you blog readers who took our suggestion last week, and have been Thinking SnowÖ Great Job!! Itís working!

Merry Christmas,


Last Updated: December 27, 2007