Selling Your Home in Today's Market

Any Real Estate Agent can put your house in the MLS, but few have a strategy for selling it.

A few years ago selling a home was easier  for both the homeowner and the real estate agent. Fill out some forms, snap a few photos, put it in the MLS (multiple listing service), and it generally sold within a month or two -- sometimes in a day or two!

In 2015, the market in Asheville and surrounding areas is still in transition.  Some locations and homes sell in multiple offers in a day!  But, many homes in outlying areas stay on the market 3-6 months.  Location is still the golden rule of real estate, but pricing and staging are also critical elements of a successful sale.  An experienced real estate agent is more than worth her price in offering you suggestions and ideas that will bring you more money and a quicker sale.

Another factor in selling your home is that buyers today are less willing to take on homes that need updating.  I call it the HGTV Syndrome.  And it is also a change in style and tastes as trends in homes come and go.  A few years ago, our older bungalows in North and West Asheville sold with original windows, old kitchens and baths, and other "deferred maintenance issues."  Now, buyers pass over homes with these issues because they just don't want to live in a dated home and also don't want to do the work to update it.  And they will pay more for the "shiny penny" and homes that are updated in an excellent condition are the ones that sell in days.

Here are my tips for selling your home in the least amount of time for the most money possible:

Be Motivated  If you don't really want or need to sell, then don't put your house on the market. If you are serious about selling, then price your home realistically and put it out there.  Make sure that it is the "shiny penny:"  the landscaping is neat and appealing, the exterior shows good maintenance, and the interior is neat, in good repair and clean - and as updated as possible.  We are still in a tenuous and changing market, so don't "go fishing."   Be serious, realistic and motivated, and your house will sell.

Be Realistic in Pricing  The market dictates what a house is worth, and there is competition on the market, even with the current inventory shortage.  You have to be better priced than the competition.  There are pricing stategies that can generate multiple offers and net you a higher than listing price if you are in the right location and condition.

Presentation  The buyer looking at your home is also looking at a dozen or more competing homes.  If your home presents the best and is priced competitively, it will be the one they make an offer on.  Consider staging the house.  This doesn't have to be expensive as you can often use the furniture you have and rearrange and de-clutter.  A vacant house will definitely need to be staged.

Video on staging and depersonalizing your home for sale:

Make The House Available  Don't turn down showings if at all possible.  The buyers have other options and will move on.

The Old Rules Still Apply  When the house is to be shown, turn on all the lights, open all the curtains and blinds, make sure the temperature is comfortable (if it is too hot or too cold, buyers won't linger and will be left with a negative impression).  Make sure the house smells, well, neutral.  A house shouldn't smell at all.  Air fresheners and scented candles (toxic to many people) mask odors and cause buyers to wonder what is being covered up. Do what it takes to erradicate pet odors.  If you house is musty and moldy, get a professional to figure out why and fix it properly.  Mold is a health hazzard and you should NEVER clean it yourself.  Never.

Expect a Low Offer  The recession created a new mindset for buyers, and they are more demanding and have higher standards for the house than they used to have.  Buyers are also afraid of spending too much on a house that may lose value again in the future.  as the economy continues to strengthen, buyers will gain more confidence.  But just understand that they will come in low with an offer.  Don't get insulted but be ready to make a counter-offer.  If the buyers realize the value of your home compared with the others they have seen, they will come up to a reasonable price. 

Here is what I will do to market your home successfully:

  • Keep you legal.  Navigating a real estate transaction is full of liability and risk. When you hire a real estate agent you shift the liability to our shoulders, but you also lessen it due to our training and experience.  There are numerous disclousure forms, inspection issues, and legal documents to process, and I do this all the time.
  • Experienced practiced advice on pricing your home.  I will help you understand the appraisal process that the home will go through when you have secured a buyer, and how that impacts pricing.  I will help you think like a buyer so that you can see your home in the scheme of the bigger real estate market.
  • Suggestions for staging your home for sale.  These are proven ideas that help your home sell more quickly and for closer to list price.  Don't take personally ideas to rearrange, depersonalize or declutter your home.  Staging a home for sale is presenting it in a "fantasy" state in which few people actually live.
  • Strategic advice for marketing depending on whether you  have a "hot" property (I recently generated 7 over full-price offers in 36 hours for one listing) or a more challenging property.
  • Internet, internet, internet.  90% of buyers use the internet to search homes before they ever call an agent.  Most continue to search even when an agent is sending them listings.  Having your home widely presented online is one of the most important things an agent can do for you.  My listings appear on (the most visited real estate web site), (the most visited real estate company web site), as well as numerous other sites like,, (Asheville), and many secondary sites.
  • Photos.  How many times have you seen listings with badly lit photos or only one photo of the exterior of the house?  I take quality photos, and I take quantity photos! 
  • Video. (fewer than 15% of agents make a video of their listings), I also provide videos that give the buyer a quick tour of the layout and standout features of the home, property, and location. 
  • Description.  Property descriptions should create a sense of the lifestyle the buyer can enjoy if they purchase the home.  I write engaging and informative descriptions.
  • Complete Information.   Buyers want to know everything possible about a house.  I provide all the information allowed in the MLS, including room dimensions and school districts, which many agents omit.
  • Awareness.  I promote your listing as well as price changes to all the other agents in the MLS.  Agents sell houses, and if they are aware of one in particular that may have been overlooked in the buyer's search, it will get your house shown.
  • Straight-forward Guidance.  From staging tips to pricing advice, I will be completely straight-forward.  I'll keep you apprised of showing feedback and changes in the market that might indicate a need to change the price. 
  • Negotiation.  I will negotiate with fairly, but in your best interest. Sellers who have agents negotiate on their behalf net a higher sales price.  Take the emotion out and let a professional facilitate the sale.
  • Contact me if you want to discuss selling your home.  As always, I am happy to provide a free, no-obligation consultation and market analysis.

Feel free to ask me why I am different from the pack!


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Margaret Vestal Remax Realtor