Infographic: Why Some Homes Sell FasterBy Matthew Wheeland - November 9, 2011
Why Some Homes Sell Faster
With U.S. home prices headed for a triple dip, deals are fragile and last-minute glitches are holding things up longer than ever before. Even in a down market, though, some houses are selling far faster than others. Here are the “it” factors helping those homes move quickly.
Installing energy-efficient features can make your home more appealing to buyers, especially in a down market. Consider the following upgrades.
A recent study by National Renewable Energy Labs found the presence of a PV solar system on the roof made houses sell 20 percent faster and for 17 percent more money than non-solar homes.
Average sell time (at time of study):
- Solar home: 23 months
- Non-solar home: 28 months
- Solar home: 55%
- Non-solar home: 33%
A study conducted two years ago by the Earth Advantage Institute in Seattle and Portland identified what may be another plus: homes marketed with energy-efficiency certifications appear to sell faster on average than those without.
Other energy-efficient upgrades
- Solar water heaters
- Geothermal heat pumps
- Spray foam insulation
- High-performance windows or doors
On the Smaller Side
A 2011 study by the National Association of Home Builders showed smaller homes are moving faster in today’s tough economy because of their smaller price tags and lower ongoing monthly costs.
One-bathroom homes, for instance actually sell 13 percent faster than others. Homes with two stories or more took more than 20 percent longer than single-level homes.
The Pot is Sweetened
In a down market, smart sellers are offering something extra to help close the deal. Current strategies you can try:
- Offer to pay for the buyer’s closing costs.
- Throw in a warranty that covers appliances.
- Give the buyers two airline tickets to a popular vacation destination.
Appropriate Pricing & Approval
Price is an especially important factor in a down market. Quick sellers really do their research on what homes in their communities are actually listing and selling for. Studies show going too far outside the neighborhood’s range of prices can slow down a sale.
Tip: You have a prospective buyer and it’s time to get the home appraised, but undervalued appraisals are roadblocking many a deal these days because lazy appraisers often go on too little information. If you have data proving great schools or low crime in the area, make sure your buyer’s appraiser has it. Also make they’re factoring out foreclosures and distressed sales in the area’s average prices.
A Canadian study of over 20,000 real estate listings found descriptions that focused more on “curb appeal” or general attractiveness helped a property sell faster than those focusing on value and price.
- Move-in condition: Describing a property as in “move-in condition” quickened the sale by 12 percent.
- Beautiful! Gorgeous! Listings with the words “beautiful” or “gorgeous” sold 15 percent faster.
- New Landscaping! Using the word “landscaping” hastened a sale by 20 percent.
- Must Sell! Avoid language that connotes desperation such as “motivated” and “must sell.” These words were associated with sales that were slower by 30 percent.
Other Tried-and-True Advice for a Quick Sale
House is in “turnkey” or “move-in” condition
Turnkey generally means “requires no immediate repair or work to inhabit,” but can have other meanings such as “includes furnishings,” a popular interpretation in places where vacation homes are common. Make sure you’re clear with the realtor on how that term is used.
The only studies on this have been conducted by staging companies, but most real estate agents concur that professionally staged homes sell at least 20 to 40 percent faster than vacant ones.
- House paint looks fresh
- Has landscaping
- Yard is green and mowed
- Yard is free of weeds, toys, or other objects
- Walkways and railings are smooth and well maintained
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