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How to Market Your House

(A continuation of How to Sell a House)

By - 2006

You've got it ready to sell, and now you need to learn how to market your house. That's what the next few pages cover. The first part of marketing your home is to properly price it, as discussed previously. Preparing your home is the next step, and was covered in the pages you (hopefully) just read. Beyond this, it will be primarily the real estate agent's job to market and sell your home.

However, you may decide to sell without an agent, and so market your house yourself. Otherwise, you might also need to determine if the agent is doing a good job. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for marketing a home.

Have a Plan

Make a plan before you start marketing your home. Plan well, and it will all go smoother. Your plan should answer most of the following questions.

What will you say when people call about your home?

What will your kids say to those who call?

What questions are buyers likely to ask? (Make a list, and prepare answers.)

Where will you advertise?

What will the sign in your yard say?

What kind of offers are you likely to get, and how will you handle them?

Do you have the proper forms for buyers to make an offer?

Will your documents be prepared by an attorney?

Where will you close?

Understand the Market

Who are your potential buyers? A sign in the yard won't help much if you're selling a summer home in the woods and all the buyers are in the city. Once you identify who the likely buyers are, you or your agent can decide which ways to market the property.

Are you in a quiet neighborhood that is attracting retirees? If so, you would want to advertise the fact that your house has one level. "No stairs!" can be an important selling point to older buyers. If the neighborhood is one that is likely to attract young couples, however, it would be a waste of words. Consider your market before you try to sell.

Find out what other similar houses have sold for. You should have done this to determine a price. Now have those examples ready to show potential buyers.

Have a Sign

Perhaps the most obvious tool you'll use to market your house is a sign in your front yard. It should have your agents phone number on it, or yours if you are selling your home by yourself. Use more than one sign if necessary, so drivers can see a sign from wherever they can see your home.

Self serve information boxes or tubes attached to the sign have become common. The idea is that people can step out of their car and get a paper or packet with all the relevant information, whether or not you are home, and without bothering you. However, if you have been looking at homes recently, you know that these are usually empty.

Ask your agent if you can have a stack of the handouts, so you can be sure to keep the information box filled. Also, see if you can have a couple basics put on the sign. "2 bedroom, 2 bath" will let home hunters looking for a four bedroom home drive by without walking into your yard and using up your information papers. It will also encourage the right buyers to stop for more information.

If you are not on a major street, another small sign is a god idea. This one is for the nearest corner on a larger street. It should have an arrow and something like, "Brick, 3 Br Home For Sale" on it. An arrow and the name of the realtor who is selling your home is better than nothing. Just make sure the arrow is pointing the right way.

Keep signs clean and upright. An old or dirty looking sign makes people think the house has been sitting unsold because of some problems. A sign knocked down by the wind means they don't know the house is for sale.

The book continues here: Market a House - More about how to market your house properly.


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