When a homeowner asks how to get a home sold, there is typically more to the question. For instance, some really want to know how to get it sold quickly, some are wondering how to sell a home to get more money out of it, while others have a home languishing on the market and just want to know how to get the thing sold.
How to get your home sold in New Mexico is a lot like selling in any state. It all starts with basic real estate principles and practices.
It is important to know the current trends in your local New Mexico real estate market before putting your home up for sale. Is it a buyer’s market, where there are more homes available than buyers? Or is it a seller’s market with few homes available and lots of buyers?
Your local newspaper most likely covers your regional real estate market, but this is also information you can obtain by asking a real estate agent that specializes in your New Mexico neighborhood.
This information is important for several reasons:
- If you can afford to wait to sell your home, this information may be the deciding factor as to whether you sell it now or wait.
- It helps you price your home appropriately.
- It gives you an idea of what to expect during the time the home is on the market.
Another aspect of timing the sale of your home is the season. Home sales are seasonal, and although New Mexico is pretty much the land of eternal sunshine, the ideal time to sell the home is from April through June.
This is when, according to Archie Saiz, owner-broker of Desert Mountain Properties, LLC in Albuquerque, folks are finished with “spring break and income taxes are done, the kids are ready to get out for summer vacation or when cabin fever has set in and homeowners want to do something different.”
Pricing Your Home
The number one reason a home sits on the market and doesn’t sell is price. To make matters worse, sellers of overpriced homes typically reject initial offers because they are too low, when, in reality, they are most likely close to the market value of the home. Later offers are typically even lower, according to Elizabeth Olcott, owner-broker of Olcott Real Estate in Napa, California.
In a buyer’s market, such as what we have right now in New Mexico, it is even more important to price your home competitively. If you choose the right real estate agent, he or she will suggest a list price close to market value. It’s up to you, then, to either lower it a bit to create more interest or to overprice the home and risk eventually having to drop the price.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent can make or break the deal. Keep that in mind when determining who to hire to assist you in the sale of your New Mexico home.
Get listing presentations from several agents and choose the one that has the following credentials:
- Experience in your neighborhood
- A list-price-to-sales-price ratio that is close to 100 percent
- A proven track record with past clients
- A well researched, professional-looking listing presentation
- A solid marketing plan for your home that includes Internet marketing
Follow up with your agent frequently throughout the process. Ask to see the websites on which your home is being marketed. Check the photos to ensure that they are clear, compelling and numerous. Many buyers in the market right now are from out of state, according to Archie Saiz, so highlighting the southwestern flavor of the home is a good selling tool.
Ask for a copy of the Multiple Listing Service database listing. This listing is what sells your home to other agents in town. It should be intriguing enough to get these agents to bring their buyers to view your home. Read the agent’s remarks section and ask for changes if text is skimpy or inaccurate. Ask for changes if there aren’t enough photos or if they’re blurry or unattractive.
What is the Condition of Your Home?
To get your New Mexico home sold, “it has to be in tip-top shape,” says Archie Saiz. Cleaning, de-cluttering and ensuring the home has maximum curb appeal will put your house above the competition.
Many New Mexico homeowners use professional home stagers, he adds. Especially if your home is vacant, a stager can help the home sell quicker and for more money.
Speaking of vacant homes, a rather new trend in Albuquerque, according to Saiz, is to move a caretaker into the home. Several companies now offer the services of what are known as “home managers,” or “home tenders.” These companies’ employees act as human props, living in the home for reduced rent, keeping it clean and secure from vandals. A bonus the live-in stagers bring with them is a reduction in your homeowner’s insurance rates as vacant homes are more costly to insure.
Owner Financing in New Mexico
Saiz has been noticing an increase in owner financing in New Mexico. This may be due to the tightening of credit standards or the fact that there are a lot of first-time buyers in the market with little credit history or the cash resources available for a down payment.
Seller financing, while a long-time practice, isn’t common. In fact, according to Broderick Perkins, award-winning real estate journalist, fewer than 10 percent of all transactions involve owner financing. He suggests the reason for this is that the process contains financial, legal and logistical aspects that many homeowners just don’t want to deal with.
The Albuquerque sellers Saiz mentions are offering a lease option – a type of seller financing in which the property is leased to the buyer for a specific term, with an upfront fee and, typically, higher-than-market rent. The seller warrants that, in return, the buyer can purchase the property according to terms they agree on up front. Portions of the rent are typically held in escrow to be used by the purchaser as a down payment or applied against the purchase price when it’s time to buy the home.
Extras Go a Long Way
There are many ways to create additional interest in your home.
Buyer’s Booklet – Make a buyer’s booklet that includes copies of your utility bills, receipts and warranties for any major work you’ve had done, a copy of a home inspection if you’ve paid to have one performed and neighborhood information. For out-of-town buyers you may want to add a list of local New Mexico attractions. Leave the booklet in an area of the home where potential buyers can leaf through it.
Broker’s Open House – Request that your real estate agent hold a broker’s open. This is a bit like an open house only the attendees are other real estate agents. Typically the broker’s opens are announced at the office sales meetings and some MLS associations list the weekly broker’s opens.
As a former real estate agent I can vouch for the fact that these home tours are whirlwinds, with agents racing through the home, giving a cursory glance at its features. In all fairness, there may be a large number of homes on the tour so a leisurely stroll through each one could take all day.
The broker’s open offers you and your agent a chance to make your home stand out in the sea of other new listings. Ensure that the house is impeccably clean and smells good.
A smart listing agent will serve food at the broker’s open, whether it’s a stack of doughnuts and croissants, a fruit platter and a big urn of coffee or an entire cold cut luncheon, real estate agents love food and it gets them to remain in the house longer than they would otherwise.
Getting your home sold in New Mexico requires, overall, patience. Take your time with each step in the process, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. Listen to the advice of your real estate agent and follow up to ensure the home is being marketed properly and you’ll soon be on your way to the next phase of your life.