Mark Arbeit and Co.

Preparing your home to be ready - set - SOLD!

By Mark Arbeit

It's not easy to have a positive attitude about today's Real Estate market. The media has continually bombarded us with negative speculation of a declining housing market. Across the country there have been reports of a sharp decline in the number of homes sold, a drop in their average sale price and an increase in the length of time on the market.

These same statistics, however, are really not comparable to the southern New Jersey housing market.

This is not to say that we have been unaffected. However, to compare the Jersey Shore communities to the rest of the country is like comparing a school play to Broadway.

So what can be done to combat this? If you're planning on selling your home, here are ten tips that should increase your odds of selling in any market:

Matchmaker, matchmaker - choosing the right Realtor.

This is probably your largest personal asset. While it is very nice that you want to help your friend or your relative who is in the business, this is not a good reason to have them sell your home. Seek out a full time, top agent in your area with whom you are comfortable. Look for someone who offers a creative marketing plan to sell your property.

Welcome to my neighborhood - knowledge is power.

As special as your home is, it is not the first house to sell in your neighborhood. Your Realtor should provide you with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). This will include similar homes that have been recently sold or are currently for sale in your neighborhood and how long these homes have been on the market. This will help you set an appropriate asking price.

Price to sell, not to keep - pricing right is critical.

Overpricing a house because you need a certain amount for the next house, for your retirement or based on what you paid for it is counter productive. Overpriced properties are used by other Realtors to sell appropriately priced homes. Upping the price for "wiggle room" is also an ineffective tactic. In a tight market our goal is to get as many people through your front door and as many offers as possible.

First impressions make a difference - curb appeal matters!

75% of a buyer's decision is made when they pull up to the door. Plant flowers in the springtime, baskets of mums in the fall. Use window boxes if you don't have beds. Touch up your front door if it needs a coat of paint. Buy a new door mat. Do whatever you can to give the exterior of your property that "WOW" factor. If you are in a condo, that "WOW" factor will have to happen when they open your unit door.

It's an inside job - cleanliness is next to marketable.

It's time for spring cleaning no matter what month it is if you are selling your house. Time to clear out all that junk that has been sitting around forever. If you can make one major change inside your home that will improve it the most, it is removing as much of the unnecessary stuff as possible. Clear pathways, open spaces, spacious closets sell homes. Less is more!

If you can smell it, you won't sell it!

Pet lovers and smokers beware! You may not mind the odor or may even be oblivious to it, but you can bet that it will be the first thing that potential buyers notice. Stale cigarettes or pet aromas are instant turn offs to most people, making your home appear dirty and unsanitary. If you are selling your home and you smoke, start smoking outside or at least try to contain it to one room. Empty and dispose of old cigarette butts and open windows. If you have pets, bath them often and use pet odor neutralizers.

Put on a happy face - a fresh coat of paint.

Nothing will help the sale of your home better than a new coat of neutral toned paint. It is the least expensive way to clean up and brighten your home.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda list.

Every one has that list of things they know they should get to around the house. Once you put your house on the market is too late to suddenly realize how many little things should have been fixed before you tried to sell it. These are the things that everyone will notice. Fix them now!

Timing is everything.

Ask someone on the Jersey Shore when is the best time to sell their home and most people will say In the Spring. Unfortunately, if everyone puts their home on the market at the same time, it makes it even more difficult to make your home stand out in the crowd. Entering the market as a new home during a less popular month with less competition has its advantages. Buyers are looking for homes all year long. Don't believe there is only one right time to sell.

Seeing is believing. Make showings easy!

The most important thing you can do to help sell your home is make it easily available for showings. The easier it is to show, the more willing Realtors will be to show it to their buyers. If you refuse showings or make rules that restrict times, your home may be avoided, as it will be considered a hassle. Lock boxes are the easiest way for all Realtors to gain access for showings, but your schedule will ultimately determine how easily the home can be shown.