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How's the Market - Real Estate Newsletters

Marketing Your Home

So, you want to sell your home ...

  • Is it important to stage your home?
  • How can you 'present' your home to stand out from the rest?
  • How long will it take to sell?

All of these are important questions. This newsletter will give you some answers to these questions.

Reviewing statistics of prior home sales that follow the logic of the Case-Schiller Index, but on a micro level and a town-by-town basis, not the macro level that the Case-Schiller index reports on, shows us that the price you pay, along with the price you sell your home for, often differ from the general market statistics. In a nutshell, you can minimize the impact the general market conditions have on your home based on how well you bought and how well you present and sell your home. The statistics I'm referring to here can be found on the MA Properties Online website under the Statistics tab.

The main goal when you sell your home is to have as many people as possible fall in love with it.

Some people pay a professional to stage their home - the worth of this depends on the price point of the home. If professionally staging a home might result in a $20,000 increase in sale value and the cost has been $10,000 over the period that the home has been on the market then it is worth it, but if the potential increase will only be $5,000 then it will not be worth it.

Presenting your home well consists of:

  • Clean, clean, clean. A dirty home, no matter how beautiful the furniture or the home, will turn people off.
  • Remove all clutter and personal items. Buyers want to walk into a home and feel like they can move in and can see themselves in the home while they're walking through. If you have your wedding photos, baby photos, Aunt and Uncle Xmas photos, and personal items displayed around the home then the buyers are walking through 'your' home - not a home that they can easily see themselves in because everywhere around them it is obvious that 'you' live in the home.
  • Remove furniture. The furniture you normally need to live with needs to be pared down drastically. Become minimalist. Pack all furniture away that you can do without for the next month. A room looks a lot larger just with one or two pieces of furniture in it rather than 'beautifully positioned' pieces of furniture that take up all available corners and walls.
  • Empty open shelves. If you have open shelves, whether they be bookshelves, kitchen shelves, closet shelves then pack away most of the contents. By leaving lots of empty space on open shelves it shows the buyer that there is lots and lots of space for things in your home and they then see that there will be space for their things if there is space for your things.
  • Smells. Pleasant smells in your home are so much more enticing than unpleasant smells. Even though, logically, most buyers will recognize that the smells in the house belong with the current occupants it still distracts from their 'pleasant' feelings about your home. Especially strong cooking odors that may linger. It is so easy to plug in a scent into an outlet while your home is on the market. Freshly baked cookie smells in the home evoke positive memories for everyone.
  • Outdoors. Make sure the yard is clean and tidy. No broken tree limbs on the ground. Trim bushes if unruly. Put mulch around on garden beds to freshen them up.
  • Chipping paint. If there is chipping paint on any trim outside it looks poorly, especially if the trim is near an entrance to the home. If the chipping paint is behind, or at the side of the house, and is not easily visible then it is less important.
  • Front entry. It's important to make the front entry as inviting as possible. Most buyers make their mind up about a home within the first 30 seconds. Ensuring that they get past the front door with a positive view of the home is key. Remember that while they are waiting to enter the home they are looking very intently at everything they can see around the front door. Wash down the exterior walls near the front door, wash down the path, buy a new, fresh front door mat, buy some flowering plants in pots. Anything to make the front entry inviting.
  • Light and bright and airy. If you have heavy drapes, ensure that they are away from the window and don't stop the light from coming in. Make sure the blinds are always fully open. Clean your windows so that they sparkle. If you need to leave the house for a showing, turn on ALL the lights. It makes a home seem far more inviting than dark and dreary.
  • Open surfaces. Remove as much as you can from benches, shelves, tops of cabinets, tops of dressers, coffee tables - gives a clean, open look to your home and contributes to that uncluttered feeling.

How long will it take for my home to sell?

There are 3 basic strategies for selling your home. Each one of these three will determine the length of time your home remains on the market available for sale. You can list your home above market value, at market value and below market value. First, its important to understand how the buyer pool at any current time works. Within the first 3 weeks of a house being on the market the active, serious buyers will have seen the home. Any buyers viewing the home after this time are educating themselves as to what is on the market - they will be active buyers but at some time in the future when they understand what their money can buy and where they want to buy.

When you list your home above market value, then the serious buyers may view your home but will not see value in your home and will not come back for a second showing. Only after you have reduced the price of your home, significantly, will those serious buyers who dismissed your home initially have their interest piqued enough to reconsider it. Often the price that will re-ignite their interest is less than the market value of the house when it first came on the market. How long your home takes to sell depends on how long before you finally 'reposition' your house to a price that will re-enthuse the serious buyers.

When you list your home at market value you most probably will have an offer within 3 weeks because the serious buyers will make a point of viewing your home, and if it is priced fairly, they will see the value in your home and make an offer.

When you list your home below market value you will most probably generate a competitive situation among the serious buyers. They know when something that is good value comes onto the market and make an offer. Once emotion becomes involved, as it does when making an offer, then if a competitive situation arises then they will be more willing to pay more for the home than they would have originally and often the home is sold for more than market value even when it was initially listed below market value. In this situation your home should only be on the market for a short period of time before it has an accepted offer on it.

If you would like an estimate of what your home would sell for in today's market I would be more than happy to come by, have a look at your home, and then provide a CMA (comparative market analysis) which will provide you with an estimate of what your home should sell for, along with a marketing plan to get maximum exposure for your home.

If you'd like to chat more about the topic presented here, or the Real Estate market in general, then please call me on (617) 997 9145, or email me at

Lexington Statistics

MLS data is provided by MLSPIN. While MLS data is believed to be accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. MLS data is constantly being updated, making any analysis a snapshot at a particular time. All raw data remains the intellectual property of MLSPIN.
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