4 Outside-the-Box Ways to Sell Your Home

Real estate people often say that this business is hyperlocal. That's just another way of saying that whether your market is a buyer's market, a seller's market or otherwise can vary state to state, county to county, town to town and even in various neighborhoods in the same town.

But when it's your own home for sale, hyperlocal takes on an all new meaning. Your perspective on the market zooms all the way in and it can suddenly seem like nothing matters except how many buyers show up to your open house, how long your home has been on the market, whether any offers have come in on your house and, if so, precisely which numbers appear on those digital sheets of paper.

Bottom line: it doesn't matter how hot the market is or how many multiple offers your neighbor's house got, unless and until yours sells.  Times might not be desperate overall, but if it's your house lagging on the market you might need to do something more than just hang a sign in the yard to get your home sold. And the only thing you can control in that process is your actions: your choice of agent, your pricing, your property preparation and your marketing.  

If you're a seller committed to doing everything within your power to sell your home and it's not coming as easily or instantly as you'd hoped, here are a few outside-the-box strategies for getting your home sold:

1. Put your network to work. Anywhere there are people who know you or know your neighborhood, there might be the ultimate buyer for your home-or someone who knows them. In particular, social networks like neighborhood email lists, NextDoor.com and even your personal Facebook feed are great places to make sure you are publicizing your home's listing.

If your home is well-located vis-a-vis your workplace, don't hesitate to also make your colleagues aware of the listing. If you work for a very large organization or institution, you might even go so far as to let your Human Resources team know of the listing: many HR departments actively help new hires relocate and find housing as part of their services.

2.  Offer incentives or inclusions. If you want to distinguish your home above the rest of the homes for sale, you must do what other sellers won't. On today's market that might simply mean offering even a modest incentive, which can get your home noticed and turn a looky-loo serious, in short order. Offering a year's prepaid HOA dues or closing costs when your competition is not making such offers can be magnetic to the buyer who is frugal or tight on cash.  

Similarly, you'd be surprised at how the prospect of including customized furnishings, home electronics, or other high-value items that homes are usually sold without can sweeten the whole package your home presents to buyers. This is highly situationally specific, though, as it tends to be the most appealing to entry level buyers who otherwise might not be able to afford the included items or very high-end buyers who simply don't want to be bothered with furnishing a house. Discuss whether this strategy makes sense for your home with your listing agent.

3. Make a reverse offer. A lot of what is outside-the-box for today's market are strategies that get put to use in slower market climates. Speaking of having lots of viewings, but no offers-in a reverse offer, the listing agent calls up the agent from a buyer who has expressed an interest in the home and makes an offer from the seller to the buyer.

If you've had a particular buyer who has been to your home more than once but has given the feedback that the price is too high, HOA dues too steep or the necessary repairs too extensive, talk with your agent about making a reverse offer directly to that buyer to sell your home to them at:

  • a lower list price
  • with an HOA dues credit
  • with the agreement to conduct repairs before closing or provide a repair credit.

4.  Write a love letter about your home. When bidding wars abound, it becomes common for buyers to write what I like to call love letters to sellers, counting the ways they love the home (Shakespeare-style) and trying to woo them into letting the buyer become its next owner. But sellers whose homes aren't moving would do well to channel the Bard themselves. Buyers appreciate a home that has been cherished, and like to hear the lore of lovely family memories a seller had in the place. I've actually witnessed firsthand a buyer walk through a home, deem it cute with nonchalance, then warm to the property as they come across a binder full of a seller's notes about the place, the neighborhood and even local vendors and parks, from the rosy viewpoint of someone who loves them.

In this post, I went into greater detail about how to pen a seller love letter about your home. Make sure you also connect with your agent to gather their experienced input on what matters the most to local buyers, before you write a love letter about your home.

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