Selling in a buyer’s market

Drive down almost any street in the Capital Region and you’ll find neighborhoods dotted with “for sa

Drive down almost any street in the Capital Region and you’ll find neighborhoods dotted with “for sale” signs, many of them noting deep price reductions. So how do you make your own home stand out, and make sure you can get the price you want?

Well, several local Realtors like our odds and offer advice on how to better our chances of sealing the deal.

“I have an expression,” said Faye Rispoli of RE/MAX Premier on Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham,” and that is ‘We’re between a price war and a beauty contest.’ ”

Rispoli, who has been in the business of selling homes for 37 years, said, “You need to make your home look like a beauty contest and it has to be priced right. It will sell. Good houses sell. Even bad houses sell — if they’re priced right.”

But how do you make your home resemble Miss America?

You might want to start by having a garage sale before you put it on the market, Rispoli said. Sell or otherwise get rid of those big, clunky things taking up space in the basement and attic.

And then?

“Eliminate clutter,” Rispoli said. “Clutter confuses the buyer. And it doesn’t give you the opportunity to showcase your nice counter-tops or your nice, clean closets.”

“Let’s take your kitchen cabinets,” Rispoli said. “If you have three sets of china, pack up two, and leave one in the cabinet. Things will look larger, more spacious. Polish your silver. Showcase your nice stuff. If you have a solid-color sofa, toss on a couple of pillows and a throw — just to give it a splash of color.”

But keep in mind, Rispoli said, that you want to impress the buyer right off the bat, before the front door is opened. “Make sure your lawns are groomed,” she said. “Paint the front door. Have flowers in nice baskets.”

Curb appeal, agrees Kyle Bryce, an associate broker at Bryce Realty in Troy, is paramount.

“You want something that grabs attention and is inviting,” she said. “Have the lawn mowed. Have flowers around. Paint the outside trim. And don’t have garbage cans out front.”

Once the buyer is inside, so-called staging is key, Bryce, who has a certificate in home-staging, said. Staging, or the way your home is presented, is equal parts psychology, common sense, subterfuge and magic.

“You want to take your personality out of the house,” Bryce said. “You want the house to be neutrally appealing to a majority of people. Take down your photos. Make it generic. You want their life to fit in this house.”

“Closets — now everybody’s closets are too full,” Bryce said.

But if you tidy up the closet, a buyer looking at a neatly hung row of jackets may think, ‘My life will be simpler in this house,’ ” Bryce said.

Arrange some furniture in a House Beautiful way, “even if a room doesn’t make sense in your daily life,” Bryce said. “You want your house presented like a photograph.” So even if you’d never put a round table in the entryway or a large mirror in the breakfast nook or surround the fireplace with two chairs, do it if it looks arty or spacious or upscale.

Rather than family photographs on the wall, decorate the space with metal or graphic designs, which allow the wall to show through, she said.

Be careful, though, with flowers and scented candles, Bryce said.

Bouquets of flowers are lovely scattered throughout the house, but pay rigorous attention to their freshness. Wilted flowers will not help your cause. And while some scented candles may remind you of Grandma’s apple pie or cherry lemonade, they may make others sneeze. The irresistible charm of your home may be lost on a potential buyer with watery eyes.

The one scent you’re aiming for, Bryce said, is clean.

Make your windows sparkle. Paint your walls.

“And clear everything off the kitchen counters. Put your appliances away.” A clean pallet, Bryce said, will subconsciously remind others that a fresh start is possible in this house. “And we all want that.”

Not interior design

Staging is very different from interior design, Bryce said. Staging allows “no personality, no specialty theme. Interior design creates an identity; staging takes it away.”

What Kathleen Gordon, the broker/owner of Inglenook Realty in Galway, calls the “natural laws” apply in house selling.

“Step back and take a look at your house,” she said. “Neatness and cleanliness count.”

You might want to paint your shutters or replace them, she said; whether or not you want to side your house or repaint it, is a personal decision.

“Each house will be judged individually,” Gordon said.

If you choose to present your home as a “fixer-upper,” it must be priced accordingly, she added, warning that “fixer-uppers” aren’t selling in this particular market.

“Buyers don’t have time for home repair. They want it all done for them,” but will buy a home-in-need-of-repair so long as the price is right.

Price, in this buyer’s market, Gordon said, is key and ought to be evaluated by your Realtor every three weeks or so. “An experienced agent will look at the price, will look at the competition.”

Sellers should do themselves a favor and listen to their agents, Gordon said. “The key is being open to options and change.”

Gordon mentioned an idea she has used — successfully — on personal property she has sold. “I’ve offered a $2,000 energy credit, a giveback at closing for energy upgrades,” she said, adding that the buyer could use the money to purchase a more energy-efficient furnace or install insulation. Spiraling energy costs factored into the price of a home and used as an incentive for buyers? “It’s an avenue people might want to look at,” Gordon said.

Categories: Life and Arts

Leave a Reply