How to make your property more marketable


If you own a home or property in the Flathead Valley or surrounding areas, it is likely you have been disappointed with the correction in real-estate values. Many property owners have watched their hard-earned equity decline in the past three years.
Historically, these patterns are cyclical and predictable. Real estate generally moves in seven- to 10-year cycles, between high and low points. 
In these difficult market conditions, if selling is a necessity there are a number of things that will enhance the marketability of a property.
It is important to realize that when investing substantial funds into upgrades and remodeling it is unlikely the seller will recapture many of those costs. When combined with quality real estate marketing and principles, the following items should be relatively inexpensive and will assist in securing one of the ever-elusive “Sold” signs in front of your property.

There are two basic market principles that historically have determined whether or not a property sells. The two principles are a competitive price, based on recent similar sales and competitive listings, and the condition of your property.
A competent agent will share recent sales and listings similar to your property, which will provide a guideline on the market value of your property. 

If you are not familiar with a real estate agent, take the time to ask friends for at least three agent references. Make a list of questions with which to interview the agents and define a list of expectations.
When reviewing these items with potential agents, ensure all questions are answered, clarify expectations and ask each agent if they have specific questions or expectations. Good communication is crucial to a successful listing. The agent should provide compelling reasons why he or she should be your listing agent.
Look for important qualities such as experience, marketing plan, enthusiasm and knowledge.
The most crucial time for pricing is in the first 40 days of a listing because that is when the first impression is created. Agents and buyers are extremely value-conscious in this strong buyers’ market.
It is important to realize most buyers actually buy on an emotional level, but only after they have qualified potential properties based on a reasonable asking price. Once the property is competitively priced, its condition will play a larger part in winning the hearts and minds of potential buyers. Complete simple research on the Internet to view your competition. All properties listed for sale on the local MLS are posted on the local website:  This is an easy way to verify the work of your agent.

A buyer’s first impression of a property plays a major role in decision-making. The curb appeal (what buyers first see when driving up to the property or entering a house), is crucial. What a buyer sees, hears and smells is what will be most readily remembered.  This gives a savvy seller, who carefully stages their property, the advantage in a close race against another listing. Staging is very involved and can come with an expense, but the seller generally can recapture the expense.
Control what a potential buyer sees by having the home or property very clean and clutter-free. Make small improvements such as touching up paint if it is needed. In the yard, there should be no debris and the lawn should be well-maintained. Inside the home, keep all lights on to foster a sense of warmth and safety. Avoid excessive furniture or other items that will reduce open living space. A knowledgeable agent will be able to advise how to best present the property’s space.
Play to the creature comforts in order to build an inviting presentation. Simple touches such as playing classical music will make potential buyers feel comfortable and relaxed in a home. A pleasant aroma, such as burning candles, a fresh loaf of bread or another attractive scent makes buyers feel more at ease. Additionally, open the windows, if the season allows, to permit fresh air to flow through the home. In my experience, many buyers enjoy the “fresh air” sensation. Air conditioning or a welcoming fireplace also work in parallel fashion. Some sellers even provide a plate of fresh cookies on the table.  It is hard to measure the effect this has on each individual buyer, but a little extra effort often goes a long way. 

After the showing, make sure your agent follows up with the buyers’ agent or buyers.  Ensure all questions are answered and welcome prospective buyers back to look at the property again. If an offer is made, remember to view things from the buyer’s perspective. If the property is not selling, there are many creative options, aside from price, that can help bring a deal together.

In this buyers’ market, selling a property in the Flathead Valley can be a challenge and there are several important things that help increase the chances of success. First, procure a competent agent by utilizing an organized list of questions and expectations.  Next, market the property at a realistic price and in a condition a buyer will appreciate.  Be ready to work with a buyer on an offer and give them good reason to buy your property over a bank-owned residence in the same neighborhood. Additionally, employ the expertise of your agent. They should have creative ideas on how to help you put a deal together. Finally, when a deal is made, be diligent in completing tasks as a seller and hold your agent accountable to ensure that the sale closes smoothly.
Selling a home in this economy is a challenge, but these suggestions will increase the market appeal of your property in Northwest Montana.
Justin Burt is a real estate agent with Prudential Glacier Real Estate of Kalispell.

Last Updated
Feb 24, 2020
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