When your home is marked down from its original price, it's a sure sign that your marketing plan failed. Not only have you missed the critical first two weeks when buyers and real estate professionals are most interested, but there's no way for your home to compete with other homes that are better priced.
No one wants to waste time trying to deal with an unreasonable seller, so lowering the price may not help as much as you may think. Buyers may think something is wrong with the home, or they may decide that there's room for even more discounts. Real estate professionals won't get excited when your agent relists your home at a lower price because it's not a new listing.
If you're really ready to sell your home, don't test the market. The best thing for you to do is to price it right in the first place and then sell as close to the original asking price as possible. For the best results, price your home at current fair market value -- not where prices were in 2005, or where they might be in 2015.
Current fair market value means your home favorably compares to recent listings and closed sales of homes most similar to yours in size, finishes, amenities and location. It also means your home is on target with price trending. If homes are dropping in price in your area, you may want to set your original price under current fair market values in order to generate more interest from buyers. If prices are trending upward, stay current - don't price ahead. That only works in the strongest sellers' markets when banks are more comfortable about rising prices.
Next, make sure that buyers see your home in the best light. Among real estate professionals, the most important considerations is how your home looks from the curb and how it looks online. First impressions require that you spend particular time and attention on curb appeal, from keeping your walks and drives swept, to painting the front door a fresh new color, to putting out a new welcome mat.
Photography can be your home's best selling tool when it's done correctly and professionally. Stage the rooms that will be photographed by removing clutter. Fluff the pillows, clear tabletops and countertops, and remove the dog's water bowl and your children's toys out of the viewfinder. Take a few digital shots and look for flaws - the rumpled bed, the wastebasket full of paper, or the closet bulging with clothes. Once all the flaws are removed, you're home is ready for the professional photographer who has the right lighting and equipment to help you market your home.
In homeselling, less is more. You want the home to come forward and your belongings to fade to the background. If you have too much stuff, put the excess in storage. As little as $50 to $250 for short-term storage could make the difference in the buyer's offer price.
When buyers come to your home, they will be looking for flaws, so make sure the little details are done, especially small repairs. The less that needs to be fixed or replaced, the better maintained and the more move-in ready the home appears to the buyer.
Buyer-friendliness is a factor that can't be underestimated. If you want a certain price for your home, make sure to give the buyer something extra to make it worth paying full price. Offer to pay closing costs up to a certain amount, or offer to leave the washer, dryer and refrigerator.
It's not just the home that needs to be attractive. As the seller, you're part of the whole package. You should appear buyer-friendly, just as your home should appear move-in friendly.
A home that is priced to reflect current market conditions and shows well in person and online will always sell for more than homes that aren't maintained and marketed as well.