One of the things we’ve seen time and time again in our business is that the best relocation policies reflect current realities of the real estate market, with aggressive home marketing assistance programs and incentives to employees to price their homes realistically. Still, in today’s environment, it’s inevitable that some properties will end up in inventory. Here are a few of the best practices we recommend to help minimize total program cost and the amount of times homes spend in inventory.
It’s important to understand how a home value was determined as well as the current status of the listings that were used in the appraisal. Circumstances change over time. You may find that the home should be listed at the anticipated selling price — or even below — to gain the attention of buyers.
Stay current on comparables and local market issues
To make sure the house is priced accurately, remember to review comparable sales and listings as well as any issues influencing the market, such as schools, employment and new subdivisions. Take note of the builders who are active in the market and any incentives they are offering. The presence of unsold new homes may call for an adjustment to your marketing strategy.
What to consider when selecting a broker
In selecting a broker, be sure to consider their experience, longevity, market share and creativity. If possible, choose a broker with whom you have worked successfully in the past. Listen carefully to his or her intelligence on the local market area: Local issues such as a major employer leaving town can dramatically impact listing success. These kinds of factors should be considered in establishing a strategy.
Think like a buyer
A moderate investment to improve first impressions of a property will make it more competitive and may eliminate objections that could prevent a sale. Repaint any bold, personal colors in a neutral hue. Clean or replace the carpets and replace marginal systems such as old water heaters that may be flagged during inspection. Spruce up the entry area with a fresh coat of paint and judicious landscaping and flowers.
Competition: get the full picture
Competition for a home sale today can include typical resale listings as well as foreclosures, short sales and new construction that might be languishing on the market. Online research is not enough: you should visit properties, collect builder flyers, read yard signs and more. For example, if a local builder is offering incentives on a new home, you can consider something similar.
Discuss strategy with your broker
Listen carefully to your broker’s ideas on strategic incentives to drive showings. For example, a $500 all-terrain vehicle or a $2,500 lawn tractor might help to sell an oversized property (and might be negotiated out of the final offer anyway).
Review and adjust your strategy
The marketplace can change literally overnight, so it’s wise to review strategy with your broker at least twice a month. Regular communication can also help keep the broker more invested in the process and can lead to a richer, more productive partnership. The inventory manager should provide regular marketing updates to the client while offering cost-effective incentives ranging from reimbursement of the buyer’s closing costs, an appliance allowance or a selling agent bonus to an electric awning to shade a hot patio.
Be available and flexible
Property offers can come at any time and deals can be quite fragile, so the inventory manager must be available to receive and evaluate offers 24/7. This level of availability and commitment also helps to foster a more collaborative and successful relationship with the broker.
Develop your negotiation skills
Effective inventory managers develop keen negotiating skills: They can predict likely offers, counter offers, buyer hot-buttons and concerns. This empowers them to take control of negotiations in a market where buyers often feel they are omnipotent — and to advance the client’s best interests. Effective negotiation balances all parties’ interests and results in a successful, time-and cost-effective outcome.
Links to additional information
More about TRC’s relocation services