Let's start with location. If you invested in a house on a busy intersection, next to a freeway on ramp, or on a four lane main arterial through town, shame on you. You'll be lucky to get any offers. The order and primary considerations in which buyers judge homes these days are location, price, and presentation. In that order.
Just because the real estate market as a whole has turned in favor of buyers the last six months doesn't mean every house is going to have multiple offers. In San Francisco, every house will have several buyers at least taking a close look at every house. But in Detroit, most houses will never be considered by even one buyer. Location is still very important regardless of the overall real estate market.
Price is the next consideration that buyers look at after the location. If you price the house 10% above market values in anticipation of receiving multiple offers, you'll price yourself out of the market. Buyers are still very price sensitive. You won't know the true market value of your house until you start receiving offers but you need to price it realistic to other houses in the neighborhood even to catch the attention of potential buyers. In fact, if you want to catch the attention of the most buyers, you need to price your property at the lower end of the range. Especially, if the house has location or presentation issues.
After location and price, your next consideration is how the house views or the presentation appeal. In this age of internet selling, the house needs to photograph well. The location of your house is permanent and prices will fluctuate based on a number of factors outside of your control but how well your house is presented is the one thing you have full control over. If you can afford it, make some cosmetic upgrades to the house. Some painting and new carpet can make your house look up to date and attractive.
Although the landscaping isn't a major selling point with most houses, it is the curb appeal. You need an exterior photo of the house to post on the internet. Obviously, you want the best angle you can find and a few minutes trimming shrubs and cutting the grass makes a big improvement. If the neighborhood is attractive, take photos up and down the street to enhance the location appeal.
Buyers looking for their new home want to make an emotional connection with the house. Your jacket, purse, and muddy shoes do not make that emotional connection in photos or when the house is being walked through. Before photographing the interior of the house, remove personal belongings. Also, unclutter the rooms to make them appear as large as possible. Always remember that the internet photos are the first place buyers look when considering if they want to go inside a home to take a close up and personal look.
It's great news to sellers that some markets are seeing multiple offers on homes shortly after going on the market. However, you still need to take appropriate action to make sure yours is one of the houses that attracts multiple buyers.
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Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.