The Basics of Marketing Your Home

Your REALTOR®’s marketing efforts and considerations will include
advertising, showing the property, how long the house has been on the market and
whether you're buying another home. Your home should be listed, whenever
possible, through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Advertising and Promotion

Properties are commonly advertised through real estate agent Web sites,
Internet home search/listing services, classified advertising and real estate
guides. Promotion efforts through office and MLS tours are a good way of getting
other buyer agents to view your home and to promote it to the buyers they are
working with.

Even with all these advertising avenues, " For Sale" signs on front lawns are
still remarkably effective. Many REALTORS® promote their Web sites on
the sign and use brochure boxes with the signs to market the property. When
appropriate, and with your permission, your REALTOR® may send a
mailing about your property to neighbors. Sometimes one of them has a friend or
relative who always wanted to live near them. You never know how far reaching
the benefits of word-of-mouth advertising by friends, relatives and neighbors
can be.

Showings and Open Houses

To prepare your home for viewing, make it as bright, clean, cheerful and
serene as possible. Always look at your home from the buyer's point of view.
Your REALTOR® will probably find a tactful way to suggest that you be
absent while the house is being shown to prospective buyers, because your
presence will inhibit their actions and conversations. They won’t feel free to
open closets and cabinets, test out the plumbing and discuss their observations
objectively as they walk through the house. It goes without saying that your
children and pets should not be on the premises either.

If your REALTOR® has scheduled an open house, you may want to
notify the neighbors, and assure them that they'll be welcome. They'll jump at
the chance to poke around in your house, and sometimes they can turn up a buyer
among their friends.

Quick tips for showings and open houses:

  • Clean or replace dirty or worn carpets.

  • Open all curtains and blinds.

  • Replace any burned out light bulbs and turn on all lights.

  • Clear all clutter.

  • Clear all countertops.

  • Wash and put away any dirty dishes.

  • Set the dining room or kitchen table if you have particularly nice linen or

  • Simmer a few drops of vanilla on the stove.

  • Put on soft music.

  • Burn wood in the fireplace on cold days, otherwise, clean the fireplace.

  • Put fresh towels in the bathroom.

  • Take any laundry out of the washer and dryer.

  • Leave the house so your REALTOR® is free to deal with prospective
    buyers in a professional manner.

  • Put pets in cages or take them to a neighbor.

How Long Has Your House Been on the Market?

Professional appraisers sum up their entire body of knowledge in three words:
" Buyers make value." Your home is worth as much as a buyer
will pay for it.

If your home has been on the market for months, it’s a clear message that the
property may not be worth what you're asking for it. This is particularly true
if there haven't been many prospects coming to see it. What you do at that point
depends on whether you really need to sell, and whether you're working with a
time limit.

If you're not really motivated to move soon, you can always wait - years if
necessary - and hope inflation will catch up with the price you want. The
problem is that in that time, your home begins to feel shopworn. Buyers become
suspicious of a house that's been for sale for a long time.

If you really do need to sell, with your REALTOR® discuss a
schedule for gradually dropping your price until you find a level that attracts
buyers. There's no point in saying, " We simply can't sell our house." Anything
will sell if the price is right.

If You’re Buying Another Home

You may wonder what will happen when you're selling one home and buying
another – how will all the details work out? This is a common situation and
REALTORS®, lawyers, and title and escrow companies have plenty of
experience in arranging contracts and loans so that the two transactions
dovetail smoothly.

And should you sell your home first then buy or buy first then sell? Ideally,
it’s best to find a home you like and make an offer subject to selling your
current home. This generally works in a normal market. However, in a “hot”
market most sellers will not accept a “subject to sale” offer. In this case you
need to sell your home first and then buy a new home in the interim period
between selling and vacating your house.

If you find that you need to buy the next house before you've received the
proceeds from the present one, lending institutions can sometimes make you a
short-term " bridge" loan to tide you over between the two transactions. Make
sure you fully understand the exposure and emotional investment before
proceeding with this type of loan.