Sellers: Sure-fire sale killers
I thought it would be helpful it I compiled a list of things sellers of homes could do to ensure their home does not sell. I know this sounds like a weird thing for a real estate associate broker to do. But perhaps when I’m done, this will all make sense.
So here are some things you can do to make sure your home does not sell:
Overprice the home
When you are interviewing real estate professionals to find the right one to sell your home, do the following. Ignore anything that sounds like data or analysis. Don’t ask about marketing plans, and if an agent volunteers that information, tune them out. Instead, just pick the person who tells you they will sell the house for whatever you want. Obviously, they know what you need and will be the right choice for you!
Reality: Price is one of the most important decisions you can make when putting your home on the market. Houses that are overpriced to begin with, typically sit on the market way too long and wind up selling for less than they would have if priced properly to begin with. What you should look for is an agent who provides detailed analysis of homes that recently sold or went under contract. From that information and the agent’s guidance, you will know what a buyer might pay for your home. That’s what is important in setting a price. A buyer does not base his offer on what you bought the house for, or what upgrades you made, or what you need to net to get your next house. Buyers want to pay market value.
Focus on Commission
Another good tip when interviewing listing agents is to pick the one with the lowest commission! Why spend money you don’t have to? The lower the better. So interview several agents and just select based on commission charged. That and the price are the keys.
Reality: There are agents who charge a low commission who are great, and those who are not. The reality is that you won’t have to pay anything if your house does not sell. In this example, that’s not a good thing. If you are hiring an excellent agent who is going to do a ton of marketing and will manage the entire process for you, you want someone with a great plan. You want someone responsive, dedicated, personable and great at what they do. You want the house to sell. Pick someone who can prove they are the right choice. Don’t base your decision solely on commission rates. As with anything in life, quality usually costs more.
Don’t waste time and money on preparing your house for sale
If someone wants the house, they won’t care what it looks like. There’s no need to scrub every last corner or get rid of that pile of old VCR tapes, cassette boxes, broken electronics equipment or tools. Don’t bother cleaning out your closets. If you have a pet or pile of dirty socks that smell, there’s no need to air out the house. Don’t replace broken lightbulbs or fix a ripped front screen. Buyers can see past all that, can’t they?
Reality: In order to get the best price possible, your home needs to look as good as possible. The way a house looks when you are living in it is different than the way it should look when it’s being sold (even if you still live there). It should look like a model home. Buyers should be able to envision their belongings in the home. They can’t do that if the rooms are stocked full of someone else’s stuff. If the home isn’t clean, many buyers don’t even want to look around. Fix things that have been broken, steam clean (or replace) carpets, repair cracked tiles, remove anything you don’t absolutely need for the next few months, paint rooms that need it. You can also hire a stager who will help you get the house ready. If your house looks its best, the offers you get will be much better.
Don’t allow marketing
You want to be a secret seller. In fact, you don’t want the neighbors to know what you’re up to. And you don’t want your friend the realtor to know you picked someone else to sell your house. So shhhhh! Don’t allow any signs to be placed on your property. The same to any kind of blogs that highlight your home. No videos on YouTube. If it was meant to sell, it’ll sell. Just allow a description on MLS, and leave everything else to the universe.
Reality: Your house needs to be marketed if you want it to sell, and especially if you want it to sell quickly. Signs placed in front of your property do bring calls. And really, if someone has driven by your house, and they liked it enough to call for information, they already know the area. There is something about the outside of the house that makes them want to see more. Those are the people who will wander through the house with an eye towards making it their own. In addition to a listing on MLS, you could take advantage of all the other real estate sites. You could also take advantage of the power of video, or the power of the real estate blog. “Just listed” cards might be helpful, or perhaps information on a unique forum if there is something about your home that would attract a certain audience. Allowing and encouraging all marketing will help your home sell.
Be very picky with showing times
You have to live still, so you certainly can’t jump every time someone wants to see the house. So decide the best time for showings, let’s say, maybe on Saturdays between 3-5pm, and during the week at lunchtime only. Or make them give you 48 hours notice so you can get everything ready. Tell your agent to just deny any other requests. After all, if they want to see the house, they will come when it’s available, right?
Reality: Buyers often have limited time to view houses. Many times, they have to do it after work or on the weekends. Sometimes they have to make an immediate decision due to a work relocation or family emergency, so they aren’t going to be able to come on a different day. So if they can’t get in to see your home when they need to, they won’t be back. They will choose someone else’s home. Being as flexible as possible with showings is key to getting as many buyers as possible in the door. And that is the key to finding the right buyer.
Stay for showings
Continuing on the same thought process, when you do allow a showing, don’t leave the house. In fact, don’t leave the room where the buyer and their agent are. No one knows the house like you do, so follow them around and give them all sorts of tidbits. Tell them everything you can think of. For example, if you installed some of the plumbing or electricity upgrades yourself after watching a YouTube video, share that information! Ask lots of questions too. You don’t want to sell your house to just anybody. Or better yet, sit somewhere where you can keep an eye on them and glare at them non-stop.
Reality: When buyers are in a home, especially one they like, they want to take their time. They want to look at each room, decide what they might want to change, plan in their mind where their furniture might go. When a seller stays in the house, buyers rush. They don’t feel they can talk honestly about what they like or don’t like. And sellers can say things that hurt their negotiating power, without even realizing they are doing it. “Oh, I’m in the middle of a divorce and this has to sell immediately” can be exactly what the buyer needs to hear to put in an offer that is lower than what they were originally willing to spend. And buyers, those who do decide to talk anyway, could say something that hurts the sellers feelings (“oh that color is hideous” after the seller spent six months picking the perfect shade). Why would anyone want to subject themselves to that? Do not stay home for showings.
So as you can see, this is both a list of what NOT to do when trying to sell your home, as well as what TO do. I hope I didn’t ruffle any feathers with my tongue-in-cheek analysis. All the things I referenced above have actually happened, more than once.
I would be happy to help you navigate your way through selling your home. If you are in Orange or Rockland County, NY, feel free to contact me on 914-419-0270 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further!