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Jeri Creson's Blog

By Jeri Creson | Broker in Studio City, CA

How to sell for top dollar NOW

I was asked today, "So how's the market".   And as usual, I say, "it depends" : )   We have a lot of unusual factors influencing the real estate market in Los Angeles today.   Banks are still holding on to homes that were foreclosed upon ages ago.   Short sales are starting to move more quickly, and thank goodness - we're beginning to see REGULAR SALES - where seller's actually have some equity return to the market in larger numbers than we've seen in the past few years. 

Is that because prices have increased?   Not really - just the opposite - But, I believe it's a naturally occuring event because many people have had a "pent up need" to sell, and have delayed selling their homes as long as possible.   By this point, life has dictated to many of these people that waiting for a return of equity is no longer an option, and it's time to cut one's losses and move forward.   Because of this, however, there is an even greater need for care and attention when it comes to selling your home, because every single penny counts.   Most sellers who do have equity simply can't afford to waste the little bit they have by hiring an agent who does a sloppy job of marketing or costs them the opportunity to sell at the highest price possible. 

Pricing and marketing is both a science and an art form to agents who truly understand this.  It's vital to understand who your market is, and how they can be expected to behave...respond to your offering.   A good agent who is in tune with this market will help you not only list your home, but use a strategy that includes how the home is staged...how - and WHEN it is presented, how it is priced and will help to create a "buzz" around your home.    

Today's buyer, remember, is overwhelmed with the sights, smells, and unpleasantness of dirty, unkempt REO properties and sad, underwhelming houses where you can actually feel the despair of the owner when you walk through the door.   People don't pay top dollar for a sad, dirty home....they want a discount in order to consider it.   This is where details matter.   If you want to pull top dollar out of your equity sale, you need to pull out all the stops and make it stand out.   Use the contrast between what the buyers are "used to seeing" versus your, pristine, well-cared for home, with fresh blooming plantings and clean, neat exteriors that beg you to come in and feel what it's like to live in a happy, successful home.  Today's buyer will stretch for hope and hapiness.  If they see you being happy and living well in your home, they will infer "that could be me - this house could do that for me".   I've seen it happen hundreds of times.   

Pricing comes next - there is a perfect price for every home that will bring in the most activity, will make every buyer feel like....I gotta push a little further to get this one, or I'll lose it.... and at the same time will NOT make the buyer feel like, "wow, nice house, too bad they want too much for it!".   No guesswork here.   HOMEWORK here.   The wrong starting price in this market will kill your one and only chance to get the highest price possible.    Making your house too hard to see will do the same thing.   When prices are reduced in order to sell because they were set too high to begin with, and/or there were access issues, the end selling price is, always, well below the original top price potential that you started with.   It just is.   There is no way to get that second chance to make that first impression.   You can salvage a badly priced, badly marketed listing, but there is always a price that is paid in lost potential value.   

In the end, it's the "whole package" that matters.   Perfect pricing, professional presentation, visuals, smells, positive impressions that set your home apart in this market and make your listing seem "special and unique" will win you that top dollar bid.  

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