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Home Matters

Tips for selling your home

"According to Seattle Bubble, the Washington foreclosure rate is 7th among the United States," Pete says. "We're not totally out of the woods."

In a market laden with short-sales and foreclosures, Pete and Rob offer up tips to sell your home competitively.

"Just like selling anything, it's getting your product in front of the eyeballs of people who want to buy it," Rob says. Foreclosed homes have an advantage in this market. They're unoccupied, which allows those "eyeballs" go view the home whenever it's convenient for them, versus a lived-in home, which needs to be cleaned and made presentable.

"You've got to know the competition and what you're up against," Rob says.

1. Read Trulia.com before getting an agent. "They've done a lot of different studies for our local market," Rob says, and can give you a lot of good information.

2. Check your agent's online presence. If your agent doesn't have an online presence with his/her listings, that's not someplace I want to sign," Rob says. Listings with 6 or more pictures sold twice as fast, so Rob recommends posting a lot of pictures to have an attractive listing.

3. Introduce buyers to your neighborhood. Buyers aren't just buying your home; they're buying into your neighborhood as well. Rob recommends touring your neighborhood with a video camera and including everything you love about your neighborhood. You can post the video to a site like YouTube, and link to it from your listing. Pete also adds that showing the schools in the neighborhood can be helpful to families looking to buy your home.

4. Let prospective buyers into your home. Foreclosed homes have the distinct advantage of being unoccupied - this means a prospective buyer can ostensibly visit whenever it's convenient for them and their agent. However, Rob says, your home is occupied. Therefore you have to be open to letting your realtor bring buyers into your home as they please to give the same accessibility. "You have to say, 'Yup, I will curtail my schedule to fit yours,'" Rob says.

5. Take advantage of social networking. "If I was hiring an agent to list my home, the next thing I'd do is post something on Facebook saying my home's for sale," Rob says. "Now, you're not selling to your friends, you're selling to your friends' friends. If you've got a hundred connections, those hundred connections have a hundred connections, and someone out there is going to need a house."

6. Sweeten the pot. Rob recommends adding incentives to give you an edge over usually-unstaged foreclosure homes. "It could be the big screen TV that they think makes the room look great, they can have it," adds Pete. Rob cautions you to make sure you're not cutting too much into your profit margin, however.

7. Better condition will beat the competition. Rob says buyers want to picture themselves living in your home. "If they walk around imagining all the things they're going to have to fix, they're not going to want to live there," he says. "The foreclosure homes and short sale homes are in financial straits ... one of the best things you can do is fix all the knick-knacks." It's the little things: make sure all the light bulbs are functional, the door handles work, and the paint is not chipped. This will really make your home stand out.

8. Stage the exterior of your home. "If you've got someone coming over, maybe set up the lawn furniture to look like, 'Hey, I just sat down for iced tea, or a bar-be-que.'" Rob says. Doing this can help potential buyers not only see themselves living in your home, but also using your back yard. "Stage the outside to look like, 'Okay, this is something I'd like to be doing,'" he says.

9. Depersonalize. "If you're a huge Mao Zedong fan, and have got a huge painting on the wall, I think I might paint over that," says Rob. "Those are the kinds of things you've got to do if you're going to sell your home. Get everything out of there that is quirkily yours."

10. Declutter. "I love to have all the kitchen appliances out on the counter," Rob says. "But in a sale, I'd get all of the stuff off of the counter." This makes the home appear clean and neutrally lived-in.

11. Trust your real estate agent Rob makes the point that, usually, you'll have some idea in your head of your asking price, or maybe how you want to stage your home. But if your real estate agent disagrees, it's probably best to trust them. "They do this for a living," Rob says. "I'm going to defer to anything they say as far as the numbers, or what they say it's going to take to get the home sold in this market."

Home Matters can be heard on KIRO Radio Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. Available anytime ON DEMAND at KIRORadio.com.

Cait Walsh, MyNorthwest Writer
Caitlyn Walsh is a regular lifestyles contributor for MyNorthwest. She enjoys reading and hiking, as well as perusing all the cat videos the Internet has to offer.
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