Tips from Top St. Louis Real Estate Agent John Voirol
I’m a top St. Louis real estate agent and these are some of my best tips for getting homes sold quickly and for the most amount of money. If you’d like a personalized consultation for your home, call (314) 366-0454 or email me at [email protected].
1. Address deferred maintenance items before listing
Everyone has heard the old saying “You only get one shot at a first impression,” and a good first impression is more important now than ever before. The real estate industry has caught up with the digital revolution and has changed the way buyers shop for homes. In the days of old, buyers would pile into their real estate agent’s car and hit the road to look at all the houses that sounded like they might be a good fit. This meant more people showing up at your front door to take a peek inside. The more prospects you have the more likely you are to sell your home. When buyers shopped this way, if your roof was missing a shingle or a gutter downspout was disconnected or hanging off the side of your home (deferred maintenance) it was less likely to affect salability because it didn’t directly affect the amount of traffic to your listing. But, things have changed!
Your house’s first showing now takes place online and if it doesn’t pique the buyer’s interest within the span of a few mouse clicks, they’re not going to waste their time coming to look at it in-person. It goes without saying that photography is a critical component of online marketing so make sure your listing agent hires a professional photographer! Now that buyers are shopping online from the convenience of their La-Z-Boy recliner, the traffic coming to your front door is laser focused; the buyer is only there because the odds that your house is a good fit for them are pretty good. And yes, a few deferred maintenance items are enough to send them packing. I’ve had buyers decide NOT to go inside a listing because a shutter was hanging off one of the windows or the siding needed to be power-washed! Buyers are making assumptions about the condition of your house, and how well you have (or haven’t) cared for it over the years, from the moment they see your online listing photos. Making sure these items are addressed before your home is listed will give the buyers the confidence they need to make you an offer.
Always know your audience. More and more millennials are buying homes these days. The younger ones are entering the market as first time homebuyers, and
the older ones are moving out of their starter homes into something larger. This generation is known for placing a premium on experiences, free time, and flexibility and this carries into their housing choices, too. Typically, today’s buyer is looking for a “move-in ready” house. They don’t want to deal with making repairs or upgrading systems; they want things ready to go! Now, this doesn’t mean you need to sink all your money into your house just to sell it, but you do need to be strategic. A top St. Louis real estate agent like me can help you decide which repairs and updates will increase the likelihood of a fast sale and have the highest return on investment. Having the house in tip-top shape will also drive competition and could get you multiple offers and/or a contract above asking price!
2. Get professional photography for your listing
Your house’s first showing is online where over 90% of homebuyers begin their search. I have seen beautiful, well-priced listings that were in excellent condition stay on the market for many months as a direct result of low quality photos and poor online marketing. Unfortunately, the majority of listings with bad pictures sell for far less than they should and cost the sellers months of additional mortgage payments.
A top St. Louis real estate agent should know how to handle photography. If they’re not professionally trained, make sure they’re going to hire someone who is! I always work with photographers who specialize in real estate photography and know how to capture the character lines and personality of the home in the most visually appealing way. They’re pros at making small rooms look bigger and dark rooms look brighter. Make sure your listing agent isn’t planning to walk through your house with their iPhone, snap a few pictures, and use them to market your listing online. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I see it all the time! Great photography increases the amount of buyer traffic to your house; more traffic means more offers!
3. Make it easy for buyers to tour your house
Life is hectic and almost everyone is busier than they’d like to be. It’s challenging to carve time out of our schedules for simple things like grocery shopping and sitting down to pay the bills. So, when a buyer wants to see your house, move
mountains to make sure it’s easy for them and their agent to get in. I’ve seen sellers turn down showings because it was too much trouble to get the dogs out of the house or because they just didn’t want to leave their house at that time -and I can tell you that most of the time the buyer does NOT come back to see the house. They either don’t find the time or they buy something else. Having to
be ready for showings at a moment’s notice can be a real pain in the you know what…but it will help your house sell faster. A top St. Louis agent like myself will support in you in removing obstacles to showings.
4. Start moving out…now
If you’re selling your house, you’re obviously moving out of it so go ahead and get started! Over the years we tend to accumulate “stuff” and this “stuff” makes it harder for buyers to see themselves living in your house for a variety of reasons. Personal stuff like photographs, awards, diplomas, and collectibles make it difficult for buyers to project their own lives onto the house. We want to make it easy for them to see themselves living there so start packing up all your personal items now. Kids stuff, old furniture, and holiday decor tends to accumulate in garages and basements and then there’s the proverbial junk drawer(s)…get rid of all of it! Rent a storage unit or order a POD and declutter these spaces and the closets as much as you can. If your rooms are crowded then remove some of the furniture. Create the impression that your house is easy to live in and that staying organized is easy to do. It’s all about the signals you’re sending! Seeing clutter sends the signal that the house is too small or doesn’t have enough storage. So, declutter, depersonalize, and start moving out everything that’s stopping your house from looking like a model display. Your house will sell faster and moving will be easier! As a top St. Louis real estate agent I usually have coupons for these kinds of things so don’t hesitate to ask!
5. Modernize the space
Modernizing can mean something different for each listing. While some may need serious updating like a new kitchen, others just need to be brought into the current times, aesthetically. We get used to living in the space we’re in and it becomes easy to overlook things that might be a glaring objection for prospective buyers. One of the most powerful and affordable ways to modernize is to update the interior paint colors. Sometimes, paint alone is enough to make your house marketable enough for a fast sale. Other easy updates include adding a backsplash, updating tile flooring or laminate countertops, or removing carpeting. As a top St. Louis real estate agent I can help you determine which updates are the best for your target buyer. Work with your agent to get a pulse on what buyers expect in today’s market and then focus your efforts on items that are most likely to either make your house sell faster, or net you a higher sales price.
6. Hire a staging company
Staging is a powerful tool in getting your home sold. Professional stagers bring in a combination of decor and furnishings to optimize the visual marketing of your house. Staging makes the photography more interesting and the showing more engaging for the buyer. As a top St. Louis real estate agent I can refer you to the best stagers in the area. I almost always recommend it for vacant houses because it warms up the space and makes it easier for buyers to see how the rooms should be used. If you’re still living in the house while it’s on the market, there are staging options available to you. The stagers can use the items already in the house and enhance them with some of their pieces, or you can move entire rooms into storage so the stagers can really work their magic using their furnishings. Upfront, it can be easy to look at staging as an unnecessary expense but statistics show that staged homes sell faster and for more money. Typically, the cost of staging is around 1.5% of the sales price but varies by company and how much staging is being done. If you don’t stage your house and it doesn’t sell, the average price reduction is about 5%. I’d gladly spend 1.5% to save 5% any day! I’m a top St. Louis real estate agent because I help my Sellers keep more money in their pockets and although staging is an expense, it can ultimately increase your net profit.
7. Use a “coming soon” strategy
Also referred to as “pre-marketing,” coming soon means your house is technically off the market and unlisted but your agent is promoting it by word of mouth to generate interest and ultimately drive competition once the listing hits the market. Coming Soon is a very effective marketing strategy when executed properly, so talk to your agent about what they do to market your house during the coming soon period. Putting a sign in the yard is not enough! I do a coming soon period for the majority of my listings and during that time I’m posting about the house on social media, emailing details to other real estate agents, and calling buyers I’ve met at nearby open houses who will want to know your house is on the market. A coming soon sign is useless without the sales efforts needed to create urgency. In 2016, my sold listings were on the market for an average of just 9 days before going under contract and I attribute this mostly to using a well-executed coming soon strategy and many times, it leads to a multiple offer situation!
As a top St. Louis real estate agent, I have a well-oiled system for getting your listing in front of prospective buyers early-on. If you’re thinking of selling your home contact me to set up a time to see, step-by-step, what I do differently.
8. Update old mechanical systems
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They’re about to make one of the largest purchases of their life on something they need to get years of use from…your house! This is an emotional time for the buyer and they’re weighing the risk of buying your house against the risk of buying someone else’s. They’re trying to decide whether to make an offer on your house and are thinking through whether the contract might fall apart after inspections. If you have a major system that’s considerably outdated, like a water heater or air conditioner, just replace it! Even if it’s working just fine, an inspector is going to tell the buyer that it’s at the end of it’s “useful life” and the report will often say something like “plan to replace within first 3 years of ownership.” So, guess what the buyer is going to do? They’re going to either ask you to replace it, or to give them money so they can replace it. When you think about it, it’s like buying a car that has 4 bald tires…you can’t help but see that you’re going to have to spend even more money after having just made a large purchase. Now, if you’re house is outdated and has old systems and is selling at a reduced price in consideration of the updates that need to be done, that’s a different scenario. Talking with your listing agent about which items to address, and which ones to plan to negotiate once you have a contract, is an important part of the overall home selling strategy.
As a top St. Louis real estate agent, I can help you with an overall strategy to protect your bottom line. While it’s important to update some items in order to secure a quick sale, it may be better to address others during the inspection negotiations. I can help you carefully weigh risks and returns so you know what to expect once your house is under contract.
9. Price it right
Have you ever heard someone say they want to “test the market?” This is NOT a good strategy! Usually this means they want to price the house way above market value and slowly reduce the price until they find a buyer. Most of the time, using this strategy will cause your house to sit on the market for a much longer period of time (months instead of days) and ultimately it will sell for a much lower price. Guess what buyers are thinking when a house is overpriced? Well, they’re not going to look at it because they think the seller is unreasonable and won’t negotiate. Instead, they’ll wait for the market to do its job and will wait to see the listing when the price is in line with what the market will bare.
Usually by the time that happens they’ve already bought a different house! Now, the house has been sitting for a while and buyers start to think that there must be something terribly wrong with it. They’ll ask their agent “why hasn’t it sold” and say things like “something must be really wrong” Pricing your house too high costs you time on the market, more mortgage payments, more aggressive inspection negotiations, and ultimately a lower selling price. Work with your agent to compare your house to at least 3 similar listings that have sold within the past year, and to any comparable listings on the market now that you’ll be competing against. Once you understand the market, put a pricing plan in place. Ask your listing agent about their pricing strategy and understand the timeline for any planned price reductions. Pricing your house right from the onset might mean a full price offer, or an offer above asking price if you’re also using a coming soon strategy.
A top St. Louis real estate agent will help you put together a clear and concise pricing strategy BEFORE your house is listed.
10. Hire a top St. Louis real estate agent
Far too often I meet sellers who didn’t do their homework when they hired their listing agent and have found themselves locked into a listing agreement with an agent who isn’t meeting their needs or expectations. Don’t hire an agent because they’re your friend, or your aunt, or because you see a lot of their signs in your neighborhood. Hire them because you’ve interviewed them thoroughly, asked tough questions, and believe in their marketing plan. Hire them because they’ve proven their ability to produce high quality marketing and have the know-how to position your listing online in front of the right buyers to get your home sold in the least amount of time for the most amount of money. Hire them because they’ve educated you on your specific neighborhood and market and set realistic expectations for you. When you hire a listing agent to represent you, you’re paying a considerable amount of money and you owe it to yourself to understand what that money is buying you. If all you’re getting is iPhone listing pictures and a sign in the yard, better you should know that now! If you focus your interview question on what the agent plan to DO to sell your listing, you’ll be sure to end up with a top St. Louis real estate agent.
I’m a top St. Louis real estate agent and I specialize in helping homeowners sell their homes in the shortest amount of time and for the most amount of money.
On average, my listings sell for 98% of asking price in just 9 days.
I hope you found the these 10 tips for selling your home faster and for more money helpful. Each listing presents unique challenges and requires a tailored approach. If you’re thinking of selling your home, I’d love to meet with you and show you why my listings sell in an average of just 9 Days and for 98% of asking price!
Thinking of selling your home? Contact me.
I specialize in helping homeowners sell their home in the shortest amount of time and for the most amount of money. My results and past client reviews speak for themselves. I’m in the real estate business because I saw an opportunity to deliver world-class customer service while protecting the best interest of my clients. Not all real estate agents are created equally and you deserve a top St. Louis real estate agent.
If you’d like to learn more about what I do to get my listings sold as a top St. Louis real estate agent, and the specific steps I take to market my listings, call me at (314) 366-0454 or email me at [email protected]. I welcome the opportunity to interview for the job of getting your home sold!
Written by John Voirol, REALTOR®, Listing Specialist, and Top St. Louis Real Estate Agent