If your Austin home has been on the market a while and you haven’t gotten an offer, it’s time to re-think your marketing strategy. Though I’m sure you are incredibly frustrated, the good news is many Austin homes that haven’t sold, sell quickly after they have a fresh marketing strategy. We specialize in selling Austin homes that haven’t sold and put together a list of 17 pro tips for selling an Austin home that won’t sell. We use many of these tactics to re-generate interest on Austin homes that haven’t sold and you can too.
17 Pro Tips for Selling an Austin Home that Won’t Sell
Need a change in your home marketing strategy? Here are 17 pro tips for selling an Austin home that won’t sell.
#1: Take Professional Photos
If your Realtor didn’t have professional photos taken, you need to fire them. On the spot. When photos can literally mean thousands of dollars to your bottom line, there is absolutely no excuse for amateur photos.
If your home hasn’t sold, check out the photos your Realtor published online. Do they make an accurate representation of your home? Are they visually appealing? If not, why would a buyer want to get in their car and come see it? If they are professional photos, maybe it’s time to re-take them from different angles to give buyers a fresh look.
Professional photographers know how to capture the best angles and show your home in the best light. They also have wide angle lenses that will frame the entire room, not just half of it. Professional photos should make your home look so good that buyers want to stop what they’re doing, call their buyer’s agent and see your home immediately. As we always say, great photos sell homes.
When we sell a home in Austin, professional photography is mandatory. In fact, we hire the best real estate photographer in Austin to capture our listings. Why? Because we know how important photos are to the speed of sale and the seller’s bottom line. I can give you countless examples of homes we’ve sold for more money and faster than their competition. Our listings weren’t the best priced or the nicest, but they had one thing in common – amazing photos – and all sold for more.
I can also show you countless examples of homes with poor quality photos that have sold for less even though they were much nicer. One thing is clear. Poor photos hurt a seller’s bottom line. If your home’s photos were taken with an iPhone or by your Realtor, it’s time to demand a professional photographer.
#2: Tour the Competition
On average, buyers will compare your home to 11 other homes. If you’ve gotten showings, but no offers, buyers are telling you the competition is a better value. To get a realistic picture of how your home compares, tour the competition – just like a buyer would. Then ask yourself, how does my home compare? What can I do to make my home a better value?
We take our sellers on a comparison home tour before we list their home for sale. When you have an intimate understanding of your competition and how your product (home) measures up, setting a competitive price is actually pretty easy. A buyer will comparison shop. Why wouldn’t you want to see what they’re comparing your home to?
#3: Focus on Lifestyle Benefits
Rewrite the description of your home to focus on lifestyle benefits. Reiterating the number of bedrooms and baths is a waste of space. Buyers can see all of that info in the listing. Tell them what they can’t learn from the data – why your neighborhood is great, how the HOA keeps neighbors close, how quickly they will be able to get to their favorite places, the highly rated schools and friendly neighbors.
#4: Incorporate Feedback
Think back to the feedback you received from showings, especially if it was something you heard more than once. What were buyer’s reasons for not choosing your home? Not enough privacy in the backyard? Might want to consider bringing in some trees. Didn’t like the old, dirty carpet? Consider providing a flooring allowance. Dog barked and scared buyers? Make a plan for your dog to leave your home during showings.
Eliminate as many objections as possible. Then, invite some friends over and ask for their honest opinions on what would bother them. Ask them about smells, their first impression when they walk through the door, what they might change. Unless they are unreasonable, consider making the changes. When you live in a house, you won’t see it the same one someone who doesn’t live there sees it. Ask your friends to be brutally honest. The more objections you can cure, the better chance you have at selling your home.
#5: Ease up on Showing Restrictions
I just tried to schedule a showing for one of our buyers and here were the showing restrictions. This is not even exaggerated. I copied it word for word from the showing service.
- No showings allowed before 3:00 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
- No showings allowed after 7:00 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
- No showings allowed before 10:00 AM Sunday, Saturday.
- No showings allowed after 5:00 PM Sunday, Saturday.
- 1 hour notice required between 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM Sunday, Saturday.
- 1 hour notice required everyday.
Are you kidding me?!?!
If you have any restrictions on when a buyer can see your home or often turn down showings because it wasn’t convenient, you may have missed your best buyer. Some buyers are only in town for a few hours. If they can’t see your home when they have the opportunity, they might move forward with something else. Out of sight, out of mind. Showings are definitely inconvenient, but turning them down could mean you have to endure them even longer. Do your very best to accommodate every showing request. Having a game plan to prepare for last minute showings can help.
If you have a baby, showings can be extremely inconvenient. I get it. But, remember, the longer your house is on the market, the more you have to disrupt their schedule. Come up with a good place to take the baby. Whether it be mom and dad’s house, a friend or family member or perhaps a drop in day care. Somewhere you can feel comfortable taking the baby for extended periods of time because showings might be back to back. And, some home buyers can only see homes after work, which can be 7pm. I know this is a huge pain, but, once your house sells, you can go back to living in the house, not showing the house. The quicker you can get a ready, willing and able buyer excited about your house, the quicker you can resume your life.
#6: Use Your Social Media Accounts
The more people who know your house is for sale, the better chance you’ll have of finding a buyer. Use your social media accounts to tell your friends and family in a non-pushy way. An added benefit is when your friends comment on your post, it will show up in their friend’s feeds. People want to buy from people they know. They also want to know the house has been well taken care of. And, when they know the previous owner, that puts them at east. Let your circle know you have a home to sell.
#7: Install Home Automation
Nest Thermostats, Schlage keypad entries, Sonos Wireless Speakers, Lutron Smart Lighting, Nest Cam’s are just a few gadgets home buyers go crazy for. The reality is, these gadgets are easy to install, fairly inexpensive and they impress buyers. Remember, buyers are going to be spending a great chunk of their savings on a down payment and they might not have a lot of extra cash after closing. The more gadgets you can entice them with that they don’t have to pay for, the more excited they get about your home. And, since they are likely financing the home, that’s less out of their pocket today to get more of what they want. This works especially well in suburban neighborhoods where one home is similar to the next. For a few hundred dollars, you can set your home apart and make a buyer excited about buying it.
#8: Modernize Lighting Fixtures
Does your house have the same lighting fixtures your Grandma had? I know ours did and that was one of the reasons it hadn’t sold in over 200 days. Buyers couldn’t look past the dated fixtures. Updating dated lighting fixtures is a cheap way of giving a room a remodeled look. This goes for bathroom and closet fixtures as well. You’d be surprised how you can instantly transform a space making this inexpensive upgrade.
#9: House Vacant? Try Staging or Virtual Staging
Only 10% of people can visualize potential. Though vacant homes are much better than cluttered, dirty homes, they can sometimes look sterile and small. Buyers leave wondering if their bed will fit in the bedroom and how to arrange the living room furniture. Though it may sound silly, I have seen that confusion turn buyers off from a house that’s clearly the best one on the market. Staging is much less expensive than you think and again, costs less than a price reduction.
Not willing to hire a stager? Try virtual staging where the staging furniture is placed into the vacant photos. It isn’t as effective as staging, but it is better than photos of empty rooms.
#10: Bring in a Home Designing Consultant
A home designing consultant a good option if you are still living in the house and need a fresh take on how to use what you already have. For a few hundred dollars, a home designing consultant will go through every inch of your home and make recommendations for what you can do to improve its appeal. They may recommend purchasing a few items, but most of their recommendations work with what’s there.
#11: Offer an Agent Bonus
Encourage buyer’s agents to show your home by offering a bonus. On a time crunch? Set a deadline to create a sense of urgency. In many studies, agent bonus’ were more effective than a price reduction in generating offers.
#12: Expose it Everywhere
Austin home buyers come from all over the world. Make sure your home can be found on all the major home search sites (i.e. Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com), social media, Craiglist and Realtor websites. You want to make sure a buyer can find your home everywhere they migth be looking.
#13: Move Tenants Out
At best, tenants can be a huge impediment to getting your home sold. At worst, tenant occupied homes receive lower offers than owner occupied or vacant homes. Tenants have no motivation to keep the house clean or cooperate with showings. Some even go out of their way to sabotage a sale so they don’t have to move. Any way you look at it, tenants cost landlords money in the home selling process. It is worth waiting until they move out to put your home on the market, even if you have to offer them an incentive to do so.
#14: Spruce Up the Curb Appeal
Buyers spend a considerable amount of time outside your home. If they arrive before their Realtor, they sit in their car looking at the exterior. When their Realtor arrives, they stand on the porch and wait for them to open the door. Will what they see on the outside align with what they will see on the inside?
Stand on the curb and look at your home. What stands out to you? What can you improve? Do you have dead trees or overgrown shrubs? Is your yard brown? Now do the same thing on your front porch. Look high and low for things that stand out. Is the paint peeling? Is there wood rot? How clean is your front door? Be meticulous and honest with yourself. Then fix it.
#15: Record a Narrative Lifestyle Video
Record a narrative lifestyle video that tells buyers how much you love your house and your neighborhood. Your kids have great teachers? Talk about them. Have a favorite park you like to bring your dog? Tell them which one and why. Have a favorite restaurant you like to go with the kids when you don’t want to cook? Or one you like to go for date night? Tell buyers which ones and where they are. The video is great for telling a buyer everything the professional photos and virtual tour can’t and get them excited about the lifestyle they’ll have if they buy your house.
#16: Promote the Neighborhood
Live in a great neighborhood? Make sure a potential buyer knows it. Don’t assume just because you live in Circle C or Steiner Ranch that everyone knows what they get when they live there. The truth is, most buyers don’t know every detail about a neighborhood, even if they’ve lived in Austin their whole lives. Give buyers every last detail of what makes your neighborhood the best neighborhood in Austin. Selling a home is more than presenting what’s contained in your four walls. You want to promote a lifestyle as well.
#17: Buy a Domain
The best way to immerse a buyer in your home is to create a dedicated website and promote it everywhere you can. I’m not talking about a templated website with four photos and a description of the property that most Realtors create. I’m talking about a fully customized, detailed website with interactive maps, interactive floor plans, professional photos, neighborhood info, narrative lifestyle video, virtual tours, schools and flyer.
We believe so strongly in this one, we build a custom website for every home we sell. They take hours and hours to build, but they are effective in conveying lifestyle and keeping a buyer immersed in your home. If they get distracted, it is only by something related to your home.
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Give your home’s marketing a boost with the best home marketing plan in Austin. For more info on how we sell our clients homes faster and for more money, check out our Austin Home Sellers section. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out our Seller Survey to get your home sale back on track.