Selling a home in today’s challenging real estate market is not for the faint of heart.  Qualified buyers who are prepared to purchase without first selling a home themselves are in fairly short supply. Loans are more difficult to secure. Appraisals take longer to complete (and can be unpredictable). The economy is still struggling to stabilize.
Consequently, even closing what appears to be a solid transaction is by no means a certainty.
Perhaps most importantly, the competition today is fierce — especially here in Central Oregon, where there is still quite a bit of inventory to wade through before we return to a market with an even balance of buyers to sellers.
So if you don’t have to sell your property but are thinking of “testing the market” to see what will happen, do yourself a favor. Don’t. Because here’s what will happen: Nothing. Pricing a property too high right now will price you right out of the market. Today’s buyers are much too savvy to fall for that — especially if they’ve hired an experienced real estate agent. The first thing that agent will do is consult the sales figures of properties similar to yours that have sold in the past two to three months and use those figures to help determine what they consider fair-market value for your home.
If your home is priced significantly higher than your competition, those buyers and their agents are going to assume that you aren’t serious about selling (because, in truth, you aren’t) and they will move on to the next home on the list. And, believe me, there are many other options on their list. No, those homes won’t be nearly as desirable as yours, but the typical shortcomings (outdated appliances, yucky paint or wallpaper, lack of landscaping, etc.) won’t matter to that buyer — the difference in price will more than make up for any cosmetic work needed. Because, really, who isn’t looking for the best deal in every purchase made these days?
A Simple To-Do List
But perhaps you have to sell, you need to sell or you really want to sell. Then make sure you do the following:
1. Hire an experienced real estate agent who knows your market and will tell you what you need to hear, which may not be what you want to hear. Ask your agent to provide current comparable sales data when establishing your list price.  Check out your competition (other active listings that are comparable) too.
2. Choose an internet-savvy real estate agent. Since the majority of buyers begin their search on the internet, your listing must have a prominent presence there. The more internet marketing outlets your agent is plugged into, the better chance you have of finding a buyer. For example, my listings appear my website’s homepage (with customized virtual tours). They’re also on RE/, on my office website, on and on the Active Rain real estate social website. They are also syndicated to more than 30 other real-estate-related sites.
Your agent should also have a strong Internet pipeline to buyers. For example, I blog regularly on my site and on Active Rain, I maintain a Facebook fan page, and distribute a monthly e-newsletter to my entire database.
One final suggestion:  make sure your agent understands the distressed-property market. For the foreseeable future, a good portion or our real estate market will include short sales and bank-owned properties. Even if your property doesn’t fall into those categories, they will have a tremendous impact on how your property should be marketed and whether your home will sell. Plus, if you think there’s even a chance you may be in danger of losing your property down the road, you’ll want to have an agent on your side who has the knowledge to help you navigate the various paths you may have to choose from.