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What to know before listing your home for sale

June 9, 2017
By BOB and GERI QUINN , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

We spend a lot of time in our weekly column analyzing, discussing and interpreting various statistics specific to the current Cape Coral real estate market, because it can help a buyer or a seller set realistic price expectations to try to maximize their value in buying or selling a home. Today we will put our focus on the person who is about to go through the process of listing their home for sale, to give them a better idea of what they can expect before their home "goes live" in the Multiple Listing Service, and all over the world on the internet.

Despite the sales pitches and promises you are likely to hear from various real estate agents about how they have a super duper marketing system that beats everything out there when it comes to selling homes, the single biggest factor in successfully selling your home is getting your initial listing price in the correct price range to attract a buyer. The second biggest factor in getting your home sold is realizing when you need to adjust your list price lower because you started out asking too high of a price for your home. Having a realistic and accurate pricing strategy based on factual market data and statistics will have more to do with getting your home sold than almost anything else, including marketing. Let us explain.

Serious, qualified buyers are out there right now as we speak, watching every move in our market. They are sifting and sorting through virtually every unsold home and condo listed for sale in our market, and reaching out for information and advice about homes that look attractive to them. By attractive, for the vast majority of buyers, we mean homes that are clean and uncluttered, with a well-maintained appearance. Having some updates and improvements can be a plus, and looking as close to "move-in-ready" as possible, are also important factors with a lot of buyers. From there, it is all about the price, but the more "attractive" you can make your home to buyers, the more likely you are to maximize its value.

From a marketing perspective, good pictures of your home are an absolute must and a good video can be a big plus. For a better understanding about some of the key elements that go into getting good pictures and a good video of your home, re-read the previous paragraph beginning with, "By attractive, we mean" Keep in mind, the vast majority of potential buyers for your home, will see it for the first time on the Internet through one of many real estate websites, so the more attractive your home looks in the photo's and video, the better. Having aerial drone photos and aerial video can be a plus, especially for certain properties. However, in reality, we could make arrangements to get incredible aerial photos of your home and neighborhood from the International Space Station, but if your home is overpriced, all of the fancy schmancy, super duper marketing in the world will not get your home sold.

Another important marketing component is to have an accurate, concise and honestly written description of your home. On the Internet, buyers are looking for quick and useful information with details, so they can gain more insight about your home. For the most part, they don't want to waste their time reading a fluff piece about how great they will feel owning your home, and they absolutely hate going out to see a home, only to feel fooled by a misrepresented or exaggerated property description.

Now, let's get back to the pool of potential buyers who are out there looking to buy a home in Cape Coral, so you have a better understanding about them. We are having conversations on an ongoing basis with potential buyers from all over the country, as well as from foreign countries, everyday via the Internet. Again, virtually everybody looking to buy a home starts their search on the Internet. Then, as they start narrowing down their search to a particular community or two, most will reach out and connect with a real estate agent for help.

Many of these potential buyers are not overly familiar with Cape Coral and they are looking for guidance about the available homes in different sections of the city. Most of them live in a different part of the country and they are either recently retired or within several years of retiring. Some are in the process of selling their home up north and plan to move here full time, while others are looking to buy a seasonal residence. They range from serious buyers planning to make a trip here within the next several months to buy a home, to someone coming to town to get a lay of the land with no intention of buying a home on this visit. Some are a year or more away before they will be serious about buying a home. They tend to track the Cape Coral home market sales demographic, with roughly seven or eight out of every 10 who reach out to us, looking for a home priced around $300,000 or under, and a smaller pool of buyers looking for homes priced from around $400,000 and up.

Two of the biggest concerns expressed by these potential buyers are with how much our home prices have gone up and where prices in our market stand now, compared to back in the market bubble. For the most part, they all realize they are not going to find a great home at bargain basement prices anymore, and they are willing to pay a reasonable price for the appropriate home. Almost all of them know someone who got burned in Florida during the market meltdown, and they swear up and down that they will not overpay for an overpriced home and risk being the one to get caught without a chair if the music stops again in the economy or the housing market.

So the vast majority of these buyers have looked through all of the inventory of homes in and around their price range and they are patiently waiting and watching for the next new listing to light up the board. If it is reasonably-priced compared to what they have already looked at, they will make a move on it right away with a competitive offer, before another buyer beats them to it. This is part of the reason why some homes sell within days or weeks, while others sit on the market unsold for month after month.

When you decide to list your home for sale, it is important to realize we are in a very rational, price conscious market and as a seller, you will probably only get one shot to end up on a buyer's radar screen. You need to be properly positioned to make that opportunity count, by understanding what most buyers are looking for when they search for a home in Cape Coral.

Next week we will discuss some of the telltale market signals to look for after your home goes live on the Multiple Listing Service, and all over the world on the internet.

(The sales and market data for this article was obtained from the Florida Realtors Multiple Listing Service Matrix for Lee County as of May 21, 2017, and it was compiled by Bob and Geri Quinn. It includes information specifically for Cape Coral single family homes, and it does not include condominiums, foreclosures, or short sales. The information is believed to be reliable, however, it could be updated and revised periodically, and it is subject to change without notice. The Quinns are a husband and wife real estate team with Century 21 Birchwood Realty, Inc., in Cape Coral. They have lived in Cape Coral for over 37-years. Geri has been a full-time Realtor since 2005, and Bob, who also holds a Certified Financial Planner designation, joined with Geri as a full-time Realtor in 2014. Their real estate practice is mainly focused on Cape Coral residential property and vacant lots.)



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