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Desperately Seeking Sales by Alisha Alway Braatz, for The Bulletin Advertising Department

Getting ready to enter the dating world? Nope, just preparing your home to sell. Selling a home during a recession can be downright challenging, but that brings out the creative in many sales agents. Every tool of the trade is put to use, every hair-brained idea tried—sandwich boards, bikini contests, free barbecued chicken, harp concerts and costumed Halloween parties. If you’ve thought of it, I’ve tried it. In the end, the sale of a home truly comes down to two elements: price and appearance. Well … then there is always location, development concept, and timing. These three elements can make or break a sale. If you’ve considered these five fundamentals, you might as well also consider the overall economic conditions, lending availability, investment exchanges and rental depreciations. Last but not least, you’re looking to make a love connection with the buyer. It can get a little tricky. To help out, I’ve compiled a simple list of six things you can do this week to improve the chances of a sale. 1. Get in the Market Of course, the first thing I must advise is the use of a professional Realtor. A Realtor will manage the nuts and bolts of the sale, and bring the listing to the attention of other professional Realtors in town. The key is to get your listing in front of as many potential buyers as possible, and broker-to-broker marketing is the first timetested technique. Choose a Realtor who likes people, is not a recluse and who has a plan. 2. Stay Aware Once you’ve established a working relationship with a Realtor, decide to make it a team effort. A marketing plan doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective, but it must do the simple things. Take spelling for in-

stance. A friend of mine found the following description posted on an MLS listing this week. “Large Corner lot. Comcplete with the white picket fence. New laminate florring thrughout. Decorater colors. Remoldeled bathroom. Master sweet.” Yikes! Read your own advertising. 3. Make a Great First Impression Clean your home within an inch of its life. Gone are the days of dust bunnies being cute. With more than 2,000 listings on the market, yours had best be the finest example within the comparative market analysis. If stained, carpets need a professional cleaning, and all pet smells must be ban-

sis of recently sold comparables to your home isn’t merely a perceived value. It is value. Boiled down, price is undeniably the most important factor in the sale of your home. It must be aggressive and correct to attract buyers. 5. Work it Once you’ve got your house clean, smelling divine, and looking as fresh as spring, invite friends and family over to celebrate the occasion. This is the perfect opportunity to test all those staging skills you’ve learned in Central Oregon New Home Living magazine. Does it smell good? Check. Tidy? Check. Are there flyers in the box? Good job.

The house needs to come off looking professional, elegant and sane— all from a cursory glance at a photo. ished from the home. Consider this; your home is signed-up for rounds of speed dating. The house needs to come off looking professional, elegant and sane—all from a cursory glance at a photo. 4. Price it Right Statistics would argue that when you price a house correctly at the beginning of the sales cycle, the home will sell in fewer days on market and achieve a higher list–to–sales price ratio versus when you start high and bleed the price down over months. Understand the market so you can price your home accordingly. The market analy-

Hosting an intimate get-to-know-thehouse party is a great way to let your personal circle of influence know that you are a serious seller and you need their help to flush out a buyer. You never know … the in-laws may say something serendipitously generous at the grocery store to bring a buyer in. The goal is to create an event worth talking about and invite the folks who can start the conversation. 6. Start Dating Placing an Open House advertisement in the local newspaper isn’t a bad way to start the dating process. March and April

historically mark the beginning of the Spring Sales Jump. Spring break and sunshine lure new folks to town. And in fact, that couple visiting Bend just might be looking in the paper for a handsome, clean-shaven three-bedroom hunk. Letting them know where and when to find their perfect match is key, and placing the invitation in their hands is invaluable. There are also myriad other media devices to be used in the marketing of your home, and every professional Realtor should have an arsenal of these sales tools waiting to go into action. For many, this advice seems too simple. Doesn’t everyone implement these tactics? Sadly, no. Too many believe that their emotional attachment, nice memories and $500 carpet allowance will make up for their home being beat-up, messy and in a depreciating neighborhood. This market is tough. To win, you best be ready to be in the zone—tanned, toned and tenacious. This can be the week you transform your listing into a sale ... and when your buyer finds the love of their life.

Alisha Alway Braatz is a Broker with Cushman & Tebbs Sotheby’s International Realty and an accomplished writer. A graduate of Pepperdine University with majors in both advertising and creative writing, she now resides in Bend with her husband, Baron. Any free time of hers is given entirely over to travel adventures, coconut ice cream and fast cars. Alisha can be reached via e-mail at Illustration by Nicole Werner


stance. A friend of mine found the follow- ing description posted on an MLS listing this week. “Large Corner lot. Comcplete with the white p...