Nothing is more frustrating than putting your home on the market and having it sit there for a long time — and not getting serious offers. There are certain factors which will prevent your house from selling.
Overpricing a home is one of the worst mistakes Sellers make. Buyers and Buyers agents review comparative sales before submitting an offer. If your home isn’t priced competitively or might not appraise, they will move on to the next home.
Due to the amount of homes for sale Buyers can afford to be particular. Buyers want homes in great move-in condition.Read on to discover what steps you can take to fix problems and “stage your home” for Buyers.
If buyers don’t know a home is for sale, they can’t buy it! A listing in the MLS is not enough to sell your home in a slowing real estate market. Read on to learn about the essential steps to marketing your home.
- A home’s price is the most important factor in determining if a home has a chance of selling. Many homeowners have wildly inaccurate ideas about what their home is worth. The fact is that the home owner’s opinion about the listing price doesn’t matter. It does not matter that the owner spent major $$$ to put improvements into the home if the economy and housing market is on a down turn. The price a home will sell for is based on the current economy and the market. Only an objective analysis of your property and market conditions can determine how to properly price a property.
- Request a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on your home from the agent you select to represent you to sell your home. This valuable report can help to determine how much a home is worth, what other properties in the community have sold for, and a reasonable estimation of how long it may take for a home to sell. CMAs are used by appraisers and real estate agents to determine the true market value of your home.
- Many Sellers believe the myth that they can “always reduce the price later on.” This is a mistake and can end up costing the owner more money in the long run. A home listing gets the most attention from Buyers when it first comes on the market. Buyers and their agents pay attention to “hot sheets” of newly listed properties. Price reductions give the impression that “there must be something wrong with that property” and can turn Buyers off even more. Paying attention to a current CMA and listening to your real estate agent’s advice on how to price your home right from the start is critical.
In this current market homes that are not being sold as a short-sale or as a foreclosure are going to be compared to foreclosure prices. This is simply the market our economy is currently experiencing. This means that a “traditional” sale home owner must compete on price in a way many home owners were hoping not to have to do — but in order to sell in this market, they must.
Overpricing your home will actually cost you more money than listing it at the correct market value. While the Seller waits for a miracle Buyer to offer more than the home is worth, the Seller continues making mortgage payments and deals with the expenses and hassles of trying to keep a home spotless during showings.
When we take a listing, we tell you – the seller – the facts of the market, not some inflated price numbers, just to make entice you to give us your listing. With Benjamin Realty you get the facts, not fiction.
Your home’s condition is another critical factor in the sale process. Exterior and interior areas have the potential to either attract or turn-off Buyers. Below are some simple ideas to think about in order to maximize your home’s appeal to Buyers both inside and out.
Does your home have “Curb Appeal?” The next time you come home, park where a potential buyer would and approach the house as if it were your first visit. What does the yard look like? Is it neat and tidy or have over grown bushes and weeds sprouting up? Is the exterior paint in good condition? Are the windows and sun-screens clean and in good shape? You may want to take some photos to review later.
Make a list of problem areas that require cleanup or repair. Brainstorm with your real estate agent about exterior improvements like landscaping that could maximize your home’s curb appeal. It does not take a lot of money often to spruce up the exterior.
Before Buyers arrive to view your property, complete these tasks:
- Kill mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof, or driveway.
- Store any garden tools or children’s toys.
- Clean windows and gutters.
- Wash screens and sunscreens and replace any that are in bad repair.
- Wash windows inside and outside.
- Pressure wash dirty decks, patios, or sidewalks.
- Trim vegetation on edges of sidewalks and remove weeds growing between concrete or bricks.
- Kill or remove weeds.
- Add extra landscaping rocks if you have desert landscaping and there are bare spots from wear.
- Add plants to replace any that have died or are looking scraggly and are not salvageable.
- Trim tree limbs that are near the roof.
- Trim down large shrubbery in front and rear of the home.
- Re-paint the exterior if it is showing signs of wear and sun-fade.
What about the interior? Carpet and paint are two big items that concern Buyers. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color is a cheap investment that does wonders for the look and feel of your home. A neutral light color on the walls will reflect light and make your home seem brighter and more friendly to Buyers. A fresh coat of paint just makes a home seem cleaner also. There is something about the smell of fresh paint that says “I am cleaner”. In this market where there are many, many homes for buyers to select from, the homes that do not require painting get a plus over homes that do.
If you live in your home and love bright colors, know that the next buyer may not love your bright red, purple, or bright blue walls. A house full of busy wallpaper is major turn off to most Buyers. Buyers moan at the idea of having to remove wallpaper as it can be a lot of work. If you are a seller with wallpaper, you may want to consider removing the wallpaper, then painting. Professionally steam cleaning carpets is another “must do” task that greatly improves your home’s appeal. But if the carpets are too dirty and steam cleaning won’t make a difference, then adding new carpets will help entice buyers.
Another instant turn off is a home with odors. Cigarette smoke, pet, and mildew odors need to be eliminated before you show your home to potential Buyers. Damp mildewy smells in a basement throw up a red flag to buyers. Check that downspouts are aimed correctly so that rainwater is being diverted away from the foundation and that no underground drains are clogged.
You may love your pets and not smell them, or may think no one will notice the pet smell. However, pet smells can be a major turn off, plus many people are allergic to pets. Clean and sanitize areas where the pets are, empty litter boxes every single day, remove any not needed pet food storage, wash pet beds and clean up any pet “accidents”.
Pets on the premises may cost you a buyer. If possible, completely remove your pets from your home while your home is on the market. If there is a pet alert in the MLS when your home is listed, many agents will not even show the home out of concern for possible liability issues, should your pet bite anyone they bring, or should the pet escape the home as it is being shown. Just because you believe your animal is “friendly” it may not be friendly to buyers and agents who show your home do not want the liability and responsibility of your pet.
Grimy looking bathrooms should be thoroughly cleaned and updated with new shower curtains, bath mats, and towels.
Bugs and insects of any kind inside the home are deal killers. Call an exterminator to get rid of any pest problems.
Show your home in its best light. Do a room by room inspection of your home to find areas that might benefit from better lighting. Clean windows and remove heavy drapes to let more light in. Replace dim light fixtures and install additional lighting if necessary.
Clean furnace filters. Replace and clean any furnace filters. An otherwise clean home with furnace filters that look like “fur is growing” on them is a turn off to buyers and a sure sign to them the home has not been well maintained.
Allow easy access for your home to be viewed. Homes with notes in the MLS that say “remove shoes before entering the home” are often bypassed when buyers are being shown homes. Buyers and agents do not want to remove shoes – sorry. It makes it hard for the buyer to see the home and they are worried about what they may be walking on. Plus a buyer will want to end up going outside the back door after being inside and does not want the hassle of taking off and putting on shoes. Plus, there are many people who need to wear special shoes and orthotics and asking them to remove their shoes is just not a reasonable request at all.
With the number of homes that are on the market that are vacant and on lock-box, with no appointment needed, if you make special restrictions for “showings only during certain hours”, or “must call 24 hours in advance” or other restrictive showing issues, your home will not get shown very much.
In a slowing real estate market, it takes more effort to market your home to potential Buyers. Experienced real estate professionals like The Benjamin Team employ comprehensive marketing plans to maximize your property’s exposure with heavy focus on use on the Internet and electronic methods. Visit our Internet Visibility page to view how our strategies can put your home in front of thousands more Buyers.
Old methods of yesteryear for marketing homes no longer work well — in fact some of them never did. One example is open houses. In today’s world in the opinion of many Realtors, open houses are simply no longer safe for you the home owner, nor for the agent who would hold them open. There are too many reports of would be buyers stealing prescriptions,taking loose items in the home lying about, and taking items such as mail lying about and creating identity theft issues for the Seller. With an open house the people coming through have not been pre-qualified for a loan, there is no verification of even who they really are. Even if they are being asked to sign in, there are no verifications to really know who they are.
Listen to your agent regarding what marketing is working in today’s market. They want to get your house sold for you as much as you want it sold.