The DiCara R.E. Group at Sterling Homes
1487 Saratoga Rd
Ballston Spa NY 12020
Dave Cell: 518-588-8859
Tammy Cell: 518-588-8860
Now that your home is ready, it’s time to find your buyers. The effort required to attract potential purchasers depends on the current market conditions in your area.
If you are in the midst of a sellers market where there is a shortage of homes for sale, simply throwing a FOR SALE sign out in the yard can produce a frenzy of activity.
Unfortunately, most markets are nowhere near that good, so you better plan on putting in some long hours. You are competing with all of the other homes for sale, and the competition is often fierce.
The first step in your marketing plan is to put up a for sale sign in the front yard. Before you run down to the corner drug store, keep in mind that a cheap, flimsy looking sign does not convey the quality image that you want. Invest some money in a nice looking, quality sign that will last longer than the first rain storm.
It should be at least as nice as the ones that the real estate agents use. Call some sign painters and get some bids.
Next, put together a professional looking brochure that communicates all of the features and benefits of your home. Include a nice picture of your home and touch on such items as proximity to schools, shopping, major transportation routes, major employers, and recreation areas. Also cover neighborhood amenities, age, appearance, condition, bedrooms, bathrooms, type and style, landscaping, garage, kitchen, family room, laundry, pool/spa, basement, etc. Don’t forget financial information such as the price, down payment, monthly payment, year round utility expenses, property taxes, what items are included in the sale (such as appliances, shelving, etc.), and of course, directions to the house along with your name, address, and phone number.
A representative from a local mortgage company should be willing to provide you with all of the information you’ll need regarding loan programs, down payments, interest rates, monthly payments, etc.
If you can’t do it yourself, sketch out a rough draft by hand and take it along with a picture of your home to a print shop. They should be able to fix you up fairly inexpensively.
Once you have your brochures, you need to have a weatherproof information box to put them in next to (or attached to) the yard sign. Monitor the box and keep it full.
Pass out the brochures to all of your friends and neighbors, any area businesses, relocation offices of any large employers in the area, and put them on bulletin boards wherever possible.
Now write a good, enthusiastic sounding ad to run in the newspaper. Try to make your ad stand out from the others. It is important to have an attention-getting HEADLINE such as:
“MOVING TO TEXAS” “OUR LOSS, YOUR GAIN” “YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS” “MUST SELL QUICK” “SPACIOUS HOME NEEDS LOVING FAMILY” “WALK TO SCHOOL” “ENJOY PRIVACY”
Test different ads and see what the responses are. You can try running a different ad each week, or a different one in separate publications.
Focus on the benefits of your home. Stress important items such as views, quiet street, landscaping, master bedroom, kitchen, and family room.
The whole purpose of the ad is to get your phone to ring.
THIS MEANS THAT SOMEONE NEEDS TO ANSWER IT!!
The biggest complaint that buyers have with for sale by owners is that no one answers the phone when they call… or they get a child or babysitter that is not prepared to handle the call properly.
You are competing against professionals. You need to be home, or be available via cell phone, call forwarding, or pager. If a buyer can’t get through to you, they often just go on to the next ad or call a real estate agent.
Keep a copy of your brochure next to the phone, it can help you stay organized and not miss any features when callers inquire. If callers don’t want to set an appointment yet, offer to mail them a brochure.
Also keep a call log handy, so you will know how many calls you are getting from which ads, and to keep track of names and phone numbers.
Look into all possible avenues to market your home. Your area may have a FOR SALE BY OWNER magazine, or cable TV program, etc.
An Open House can help get your home exposed to the market. Get some directional Open House signs and place them at corners leading to your home from major streets, and one in front of your house. Make sure to check local regulations before placing signs. You also may want to run an advertisement in the newspaper, many have separate Open House sections.
Once you have attracted interested buyers, it’s time to show your home. This is where all your time and effort in preparing your home will really pay off!
Before you set an appointment, make sure that the buyer is looking for what you have. If they need six bedrooms and you only have three, they probably won’t be serious about your home.
Also take a few minutes to politely “qualify” the buyer by asking questions about how long they have been on the job, do they own a home currently, have they been pre-approved for a loan by a lender, etc.
You don’t want to waste time showing your home to prospects who can’t afford to buy it!
Also, a few words of caution. People are not always who they seem, and you can never be to careful. One look at the newspaper or evening news is proof enough.
It is recommended that you ask for identification and the license number of their car prior to letting strangers into your home. Serious buyers won’t mind, especially when you cheerfully tell them that it is simply a security precaution that was recommended to you. Also try to have a friend or family member present at all showings.
Stash all small valuables out of sight. Even though you will try to stay with the buyers as they tour your home, you never can watch them completely.
OK, it’s ShowTime!
To get the most out of every showing, there are certain procedures you should follow, both prior to the buyers arrival and after they come in.
Shortly before the appointment, open all of the drapes and blinds and turn on all the lights … even in the daytime. Turn off the TV and put some soft music on low volume. Set the thermostats so that it is not too hot or cold. If you have children, send them to a friends, or put them on their best behavior.
If you still have pets in the house, get them out and freshen the air. Make sure all of the beds are made and do a quick pick-up throughout.
When the buyers arrive, your home should sell itself. Be friendly and cheerful, and try to make them feel comfortable. Hand them your brochure, and take them on a tour of the property.
Show the most appealing parts of your home first. Casually point out all of the features and benefits of your home.
If they are not interested, they will probably politely thank you and head for the door. Don’t take it personally, the layout or something else about the house probably just doesn’t fit their personal needs.
If the buyers are interested, you will know it. They will stay longer, and ask lots of questions. If they show serious interest, don’t be afraid to suggest that they buy it!
It’s time to get a signed contract!