Inventory in the Metro Boston region is down ?62 percent from a year ago while prices are up 9 percent, so there's hope. But buyers are first turning to real estate websites before they head out the door. That's where your attention should be, at least at first.
Let's look at the most common reasons why your home is still on the market:
PRICE: This is by far the top reason why properties languish. Remember, pricing properties isn't an exact science. Some agents will overprice listings during the initial bidding process in hopes of winning the listing. Others will over-price simply due to ignorance. Regardless, the market will dictate your price. If your home isn't getting showings by other real estate agents and you've had no offers within the first 14 days, particularly in a hot market, then the price should be adjusted.
PHOTOGRAPHY: I've said it before, first impressions are very important. The way your home is presented could be the difference between having market buzz or fizzling out. Prices vary, but typically $150 to $300 is enough to hire a professional photographer to set you up with a few good photos.
CLUTTER: Get rid of those things that you've held onto for years. I've always gone by the belief that if you lost everything in a fire, what are the things you would truly miss? Then start with those items and work backward. Less is always more.
MARKETING: Is your real estate agent promoting your property in the best light? This includes weekly print advertising, sphere of influence mailings, mailings to neighbors of the listed property, links to all national websites including realtor.com, trulia.com, zillow.com and others. Does your agent promote properties via social media?
INSPECTIONAL ISSUES: Does your home have a number of issues to be fixed? A coat of new paint? A professional cleaning? Light bulbs that need replacing? While these are relatively easy fixes ranging in price to practically nothing to quite a bit, in the end they can make the difference between your home being a consideration vs. a "pass." If you really want to know what a home inspection will uncover, then hire an inspector of your own and have your property "pre-inspected." This might run you a few hundred dollars on the low end to $500 to $600 depending on the size of your home.
It's all worth the trouble if you really want to make the next move.