ASK RAY ABOUT REAL ESTATE | Sellers need to get aggressive

Dear Ray,
My home has been on the market for almost six months. My agent says there is a large inventory of homes offered for sale and too few buyers in the marketplace. She says my house will sell eventually, and I must be patient. I don’t want to sit around waiting for a sale; do you have any tips that might help my home sell more quickly?
— S.J.

Your Realtor may be correct about the large inventory of listings on the market and the lack of buyers. However, there are things you can do to position your house for a quicker sale.

•Pricing — Is your home priced competitively? There’s no room for price speculation in today’s real estate market. A recent news report suggested that Seattle’s real estate market may lose another 5 percent in value.

Ask your Realtor for an updated market analysis. You may need to modify your asking price. If your home is priced correctly, it should sell in less than 180 days.

Here’s a strategy you might consider: Price your home at 97 percent of the market price in your neighborhood. The average home is selling for 97 pecent of the listed price. That means most homeowners are giving up 3 percent of the price in negotiations with the buyer.

Why not take the 3 percent off the price right now? That will help position your home as the best value in the neighborhood and likely shorten the time on the market.

•Buyer incentives — The $8,000 federal tax credit expires at the end of April. Why not extend your own “credit” to buyers? You could offer up to $8,000 for the buyers’ allowable closing costs. That will appeal to every buyer.

•Inspection — Don’t wait for a buyer to come along and inspect your home. An increasing number of sales are failing at the point of inspection due to condition issues.

Have your home inspected by a reputable, licensed, inspector. Then, make repairs.
If you can’t afford to make repairs, offer a credit to the buyer for the cost of repairs after the closing of the sale.

Make the inspection report available to any potential buyer and note any recent repairs you’ve made.

•Interest rate buy-down — Interest rates are expected to increase in the coming months. Rising interest rates tend to put a damper on real estate sales. You could offer to pay points at closing to buy down the interest rate on the buyer’s mortgage.

Guaranteeing a lower interest rate to the buyer will make your home stand out among the competition.

•Staging — Consider hiring a professional to stage your home. Most staging companies offer a range of services from simply re-arranging your own furniture to fully furnishing your home with their items.

I’m a believer in staging and it can help your home sell more quickly.

•Paint, clean and de-clutter — You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: Make your home as clean and attractive as possible. Fresh paint is the most inexpensive fix.

Pack up household items now in preparation for moving. You’re going to need to pack and organize for the move anyway, so why not start now?

Getting rid of clutter will make the rooms look bigger and allow the buyer to focus on your home rather than your stuff.

•New appliances — The kitchen is the most important room in the house. I don’t advise undertaking a major kitchen remodel to sell your home — it just doesn’t pencil.

However, you could buy new kitchen appliances or offer a gift certificate to the buyer so they may choose new appliances. It could be the right buyer incentive if your home has a tired kitchen.

Finally, your agent was right. You need to practice patience in the current real estate market. That doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing. Your home will sell more quickly if you implement some of these incentives. Good luck!

RAY AKERS has been a licensed Realtor for more than 20 years. Send your questions to or call (206) 723-2800.[[In-content Ad]]