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Five Key Strategies to SELL Your Home
by Audra Slinkey

With more housing bad news on the horizon and the summer season almost over, home sellers and their agents are legitimately stressed over selling their homes!   "New-home sales took their fifth fall in six months during June, while a measure of inventory rose and the median price dropped" according to the Wall Street Journal*.  "

Sales of newly built homes slid 6.6% from May to June, the Commerce Department said - and were down a sharp 22% from June of last year. That report follows Wednesday's news that sales of existing homes fell last month to their lowest point in nearly five years.*

Don't expect a turn-around anytime soon but here are five key strategies that should be used TODAY in order to compete in a "large inventory" market and sell your home...

1.  Have Your Home PROFESSIONALLY Staged - According to the National Association of Realtors, the average staging investment is between 1 and 3 percent of the home's asking price, which generates a return of 8 to 10 percent.  For an average priced home of $250,000, spending $2500 to $7500 will generate a return of $20,000 to $25,000!  In today's much more competitive market, having your home staged by an expert who does this for a living is all the more imperative.

A HSR professional will spend time simply working with what you already own in order to bring out the beauty of your home.  This kind of "zero dollar" professional staging makes a world of difference in a home...just look at our Staging Day video to see what was done in a day simply with what the seller had.

When I review the MLS and see that photos of homes that have clearly not been professionally staged, it's no wonder they are lowering their asking price.  The market is too competitive entering into the holiday season, so ALL serious home sellers should be using a professional to stage their homes!

2.  Invest in Cosmetic Improvements NOW! - According to a 2005/2006 Maritz Research Poll, 79% of sellers are willing to spend up to $5000 to get their house ready for sale.  In this much more competitive market, it all the more critical for sellers to do this if they are serious about selling their home! 

There are some cosmetic improvements you can make to a home that will, on average, net you a greater return than the cost of the improvement, thus be an investment.  A HSR Professional is trained on those improvements that will net you the greatest return on investment, and should be able to direct you specifically in those areas in the form of a detailed Action Plan for your home.

Don't guess at where to spend these cosmetic investments and waste money. Use a trained professional who is experienced at stretching your dollar for maximum impact and return!  According to that same Maritz Research Poll, reported that over 63% of buyers were willing to pay more money for a home that is "move-in ready".  Buyers don't want to purchase a "To Do" list when they can buy a new home for the same price.

3.  Price Right From the Start - It's almost the end of summer so if you HAVE to put your home on the market, make sure you price it right instead of shooting high.  When a home is newly listed, there is an introductory buzz among agents and home buyers, so take advantage of the new listing buzz by pricing accordingly. 

A National Association of Realtors survey found that the longer a home stays on the market, the further below list price it drops.  Homes that sold in the first 4 weeks averaged 1% more than the list price; 4 to 12 weeks averaged 5% less; 13 to 24 weeks averaged 6.4% less than list price; and 24 weeks averaged more than 10% less than list price.

4.  Strong Internet Presentation - According to the National Association of Realtors, over 85% of home buyers are ONLINE viewing listings BEFORE considering a visit to the home.  To this day, it amazes me that there are still listings on Realtor.com that have only a single photo or no photo altogether!  Home sellers need to wake-up to the outside marketing efforts put forth by their agents and insist on a strong Internet presentation if they expect ANY buyer traffic!

A HSR Certified Professional can actually create a beautiful home show for their real estate agent partners since they are getting the best photos after each room has been staged.  These shows make a tremendous difference in emotionally marketing to the few buyers out there and giving them a reason to visit the home.  I can only surmise that the reason more photos are not being displayed of the home online, is because strategies one and two are NOT being employed...which means sellers should be prepared to lower their price.

5.  Consider An Increased Agent Incentive - Think about it, if a real estate agent has a buyer, where are they going to take them in this gluttonous housing market?  Will they waste time going to an un-staged home offering the standard 3% incentive?  Or will they take their buyers to a move-in ready, professionally staged, home offering 3 1/2%-4% incentive?  There is A LOT of housing inventory available, and agents have many choices as to what they will show their clients.

All of these strategies take time, money and energy but no one said selling your home was easy especially in a buyers market.  The housing market appears to be getting worse (not better), so don't waste time "waiting" for the right buyer.  Use these five intentional marketing strategies in order to sell your home TODAY for more then you're going to get during the holidays.

Article Sources:

Sales of New Homes Plunge by the Largest Amount in 5 Months, Adding to Wall Street Worries - Martin Crutsinger, Yahoo Finance

New Home Sales Tumble More Than Expected - Noelle Knox, USA Today

New Home Sales and Capital Goods Orders Decline - Jeff Bater, WSJ Online

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The Mission of Home Staging Resource is to add integrity to the home staging industry by offering the most comprehensive 21 Day HSR Certification staging program available to Professional Home Stagers.  By doing this, we ensure high quality, result oriented partnerships between our HSR Certified Stagers and their  Realtor and Home Seller clients in the marketing and preparation of homes for sale otherwise known as "staging".  We do this so that "every home may be staged" and marketed to it's fullest potential!

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