||Interested in selling your home using the internet? Spend a little time learning how it's done and you may find yourself quite happy with the whole experience.
The chances of selling your home depend mostly on your plan for marketing your property and your commitment to sticking to that plan. Many people think they can just run an ad in the local paper for a few days and put a sign in front and easily sell their house. Unfortunately, it seldom works that way. Remember, when acting as your own real estate agent, you have to think like an agent. Many factors go into finding just the right buyer. If you don't consider all of these factors, then you'll find it hard to stick to your marketing plan and end up unhappy with the process.
Here are some ideas to help improve your odds:
Establish the Price
Probably the single most important factor in selling your property is price. That's the first thing a prospective buyer wants to know, and rightly so. The buyer wants to be sure he is qualified to buy before he invests time asking questions. You, as the seller, certainly don't want to spend unnecessary time with someone who is looking for something in a different price range.
Determining the asking price of your home is obviously something you'll want to put much thought into. Check around your neighborhood and on the Internet to find out what houses like yours have been selling for. Remember, though, "asking price" is sometimes very different from "selling price". If your asking price is too high for the area, your listing will "go stale," as real-estate agents put it, making buyers suspicious that something's wrong with your property or that you're simply an unreasonable person. Price it too low and you'll always wonder if you lost money, although it will probably generate a lot of buyer interest, so it may sell relatively quickly.
In local ads, many sellers won't advertise the price, hoping to get many people to call. Well, that's usually what happens, but these same sellers spend too much of their time with people who only call to learn the price. If your home is priced right and buyers know the price, the calls you get will be to set up showings, not to ask the price. When your time is spent showing your home, not discussing the asking price over the telephone, you're much less likely to get tired of answering the telephone. Once you have determined the asking price for your home, be sure to put it in your ads. Realtors do it; so should you.
If your house has special qualities that make it more valuable such as a prime location or luxury finish-out, be sure to keep that in mind and put it in your description. You can always negotiate the price, since you are selling your home yourself, so pick a reasonable price and stick with it for a while at least to see where the market is. Depending on a number of factors, it may take a while to sell your house, so be patient.
Don't forget local marketing. Besides a sign on your property showing that it's listed on Yucatandealdirect.com, you'll also want to consider running ads in the local paper. You won't have to put as much information in your print ads since many people will be able to see your ad online once you tell them where it is. They will get a lot of their questions answered without you having to spend time on the phone with them and they can get a good idea of what it looks like inside without you having to show your house to strangers who are just curious. When you do spend time on the phone or in person, it's with people who already know what you're selling.
Gather Your Documents
Have all your documents ready. Besides the obvious ones like the deed, know where your utility and tax receipts are so you can easily show prospective buyers what they can expect those expenses to be. Keep your invoices for any recent repair work as well.
Make a Good Impression
The presentation and description of your property are your best tools in catching the eye of a prospective buyer. When it comes time to take pictures of your house, think like a buyer. Look at photos of homes similar to yours. Look on the internet to get ideas of how houses like yours are photographed. What are its distinguishing features? Just as you would wash and shine a car you're trying to sell, your house needs to look its best when you present it on the Internet.
Try not to be emotional about your “home.” Think of it as a “house,” a commodity. It helps to depersonalize your house because you want the people who will be going through it, looking at it as prospective buyers, to envision themselves in their new “home”. That's difficult to do if you have a lot of personal photos and other personal touches around the house.
Second, unclutter the house. You are probably going to get rid of a lot of things when you move anyway, so now is a good a time as any to throw things out. It will make the house seem cleaner, more spacious and look like it has much more storage. A good place to start is the kitchen, where so much clutter seems to accumulate. You can bet that a prospective buyer is going to open all the cabinets and pantry to see if their things will fit. If the cabinets are full and things are stuffed into them, it makes the storage seem inadequate. Clean off the counter tops. If you don't use something every day, box it up and put it in storage. Don't just take it to the garage or the bodega… you will want to unclutter those spaces as well. Maybe you can rent a small storage unit or leave a few boxes with family or friends while you are showing your house. After the kitchen, go through the other rooms in the house and remove extra pieces of furniture, clean out closets and put away personal items. It will make the house seem more spacious and “anonymous” and will make it easier when you do start packing to move.
How does your house measure up from the outside? Does it have good “drive up” appeal? Walk across the street or just pay attention next time you drive up to your house. How does it compare to the houses on either side of it or across the street? Does the paint look faded or stained? Do the walls have spots where the plaster has fallen off? If they need painting, do it. Painting is relatively inexpensive and will help you get your price. A fresh coat of paint makes the house look new and well cared for. It is one of the best investments you can make in selling your house. Remember when you do paint, choose colors that are in keeping with the neighborhood or style of the house.
How about your front yard? Your lawn should be trimmed, edged and in good condition and free of trash. Shrubs and trees should be pruned, and all clippings, leaves and fallen fruit cleaned up. If the front door needs a coat of paint or varnish, now is the time to do it. If the hardware is dull, get out the Brasso or replace it. That first impression is important. After all, that is the first thing people see when they come to look at your house.
Make Basic Repairs
Go through your house and make a list of items that need repair. Prospective buyers going through your house will turn on the faucets, flush the toilets and flip the light switches. You want to make sure they work. If a toilet or faucet leaks, fix it. If that light switch doesn't work, replace it. Here in the Yucatan, the hard water damages plumbing fixtures. If yours are pitted and damaged, change them. You don't' need to replace them with expensive fixtures; remember you are selling the house.
Are your floors in good condition? If there are any chipped or broken floor tiles, replace them. Make sure windows and doors open and close easily. Be aware of any pet or smoke odors in the house and do what is necessary to air out the house before showing it.
Does your roof leak? Best to fix it, then repaint any water stains on the ceilings.
If you have a swimming pool, it will look better if it is full and the water is circulating. If you have a pool pump, turn it on. If not, make sure the water is clean and there is no debris in the pool. Do you have a nice poolside cookout or entertainment area? Make sure it is clean and inviting. Your prospective buyers will want to imagine themselves lounging by the pool on hot days or entertaining family or friends at a bar-b-que.
The internet is a fabulous and popular way to market property. Yucatan is becoming increasingly attractive to foreigners, so be prepared to get responses to your ad from people who either speak Spanish very poorly or not at all. For this reason, you'll want to include as much information as you possibly can in your listing, so that when you do get contacted, it will be by someone who already knows a lot about what you're selling and is very interested in it. Yucatandealdirect.com has resources to help make communication between buyers and sellers easier, but we can't do it all. Besides this being a good chance to dust off your English phrases, you'll also be getting the chance to make a personal contact. Remember, people buy from people. When you show your house to a foriegner, go to dinner, get your families together, help them try their Spanish. Show them the hospitality that Yucatan is known for. If you are accommodating, friendly and willing to help, you may become life-long friends with the people who buy your house.