Sell Your Property Fast in a Glutted Market

Sell Your Property Fast in a Glutted Market

by Michael Sexton

An article in today's Mortgage News Daily reports that sales of existing and new homes in the U.S. increased 13.8 percent between February and March 2006. That's good news, but if you dig deeper into the article's data, things don't seem quite so rosy. In some regions, the market was worse than flat. In the Northeast, for example, sales were 15.2 percent lower than in March 2005 and in the West, sales fell 13.1 percent.

So the bottom line is, it is harder to sell a house today than it was a year ago, and the problem is especially acute in bread-and-butter regions like the Northeast and the West.

Now, what is the first thing that most real estate investors do when they want to sell a property in a glutted market? Most often, they do cosmetic fix-ups. If a property looks better than others that are available, or if it has better features, it will move to the top of the pack and sell faster.
That's good thinking. But to make it work, you have to provide the fix-ups that matter to your target customers. Here's some great advice from our professor Gary Eldred, who teaches our
Real Estate Investor Program.

Stick with improvements that provide the maximum return on investment (ROI). Walk through your property and imagine that you are one of your target consumers who is seeing it for the first time. Try to see what they will see as they go from room to room and imagine what they would like to see.

Don't ignore cosmetics. Are appliances visibly worn or outdated, for example? What about kitchen counters or bathroom tiles? Spend your fix-dollars in those "must have" items first.
Get advice from contractors. Walk through your property with them and discuss ways to eliminate shortcomings or add desirable features. They have a wealth of experience that other professionals can't match and they can make suggestions to make your dollars go farther.
Push contractors to offer you gold, silver and bronze alternatives.

There are expensive sliding patio doors, for example, but also mid-level and very basic models. Installing a top-of-the-line patio door only makes sense if it is in keeping with your property and your target clientele.

Remember that the cost of lighting fixtures, counters, tile, carpet and other cosmetics can add up fast - especially if you are improving an apartment house or a multi-family dwelling. So set a budget for fix-ups and stick to it like glue. Getting "nickled and dimed to death" is more than an expression. It's happened to countless property investors, so be sure it doesn't happen to you.

Michael Sexton is President of Trump University. For more information on getting the biggest return on your renovation investment, be sure to enroll in The Real Estate Investor Training Program.