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  • Writer's pictureNancy Bennett

Prepare and price your home right for savvy buyers — just like a used car

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

While it can still be considered a “sellers market” due to low housing inventory, the peak frenzy the market saw over the past two years has cooled down significantly. If you’re asking yourself if you’ve missed your chance to sell your house and make a move, the good news is you haven’t – motivated buyers are still out there. But you do need to prepare and price your house right for today’s savvy buyers.

As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says: “Homes priced right are selling very quickly, but homes priced too high are deterring prospective buyers.”

It’s true that buyer demand has slowed over the past few months as higher mortgage rates made it more expensive to buy a home. Preparing your home for sale remains the same whether the market is hot or not!

Right now, many sellers are cutting back on the preparation of their home as they feel they’ve already “lost tens of thousands of dollars in value.” This is not the time to cut or hold back during your home prep; however, using a smaller budget to get a better bang for your buck can be very effective to selling your home at anytime.

Think of it this way: There are two identical used cars for sale. One has been fully detailed, smells nice and the owner added a few little things to give it a little character. It shows very well!

The other car has been cleaned, but still has ground-in dirt on the floor mats, some Cheerios under one seat, a broken cupholder, smells like a gym locker and the inside of the windows could use a gallon of Windex!

Most buyers will gravitate towards the “cleaner,” updated car as it can be driven away and enjoyed right now. The other car can still be sold, but a buyer may look at it and think, "I have to get it fully detailed, fix a couple of things and it could be that if they can’t take time to clean up their car, maybe they haven’t taken care of the engine/oil/tires either? I might offer a lot less, for the time, energy and risk of buying that car."

It's kinda the same in real estate. Most folks love the “shiny objects.” They want to buy a house that is clean, has been maintained well and is move-in ready, so they can enjoy it immediately.

So whether the market is hot or not, please put the effort into preparing your home, making needed repairs, consider key updates so you can differentiate yours from the competition and get it pending faster. No one wants a stinky, dirty car with old Cheerios in it!

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