Take Note of these Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home
Overpricing is the first of 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home.
Overpricing leads to a long time on the market, listings going “stale” and homes end up selling for less than they would have if they had been priced right from the beginning. We see this happen again and again, when sellers want to “test the market” despite clear-cut comps that tell a different story. This strategy backfires because buyers are armed with technology and have an overload of information at their fingertips about home values, comparable sales and market activity. So they know a good deal when they see it, and an overpriced house when they see it too.
We employ one of three marketing strategies to achieve our sellers’ goals- multiple offers, pricing at market value, and overpricing. The most common strategy we employ is pricing at market value. This creates a sense of urgency for buyers who know they must act quickly with an attractive offer or risk losing the house. The result is a happy buyer and happy seller, with a smooth closing. We naturally weed out the “bad buyers” who cancel contracts, waste time and mess around leading to heartache and frustration for everyone. The bottom line is this: when talking pricing, listen to your agent and consider their track record and expertise. We want you home to sell for the highest price possible too, and we know how to achieve that goal.
You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Don’t let clutter get in the way of that! Clutter is another of the mistakes to avoid when selling your home.
Clutter may seem like no big deal, but it can kill your chances of selling your home at the highest price in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of stress. Here’s why:
Clutter distracts buyers. Starting from the photographs, buyers have a hard time seeing and appreciating your home because they get distracted by the stuff… cardboard boxes, piles of laundry, too many items on the kitchen counter, too much noise in the closets, too many photos on the walls… you get the idea. There’s a reason why spas and model homes and designer stores are clutter-free. They naturally relax you, inspire you, set you at ease and make you want to spend more time (and money) there!
Plus, clutter will make many buyers pass on a showing. Or if they do visit, they may walk into the home and start commenting on the clutter. It seems like it’s no big deal, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shows properties to buyers and one or both individuals spend most of their energy focused on the stuff in the house, rather than the house itself.
Lastly, clutter makes a bad impression. If the house seems unkept, buyers wonder what else could be wrong with the house… or what else could be hiding behind the piles of stuff. Bottom line: clear out the clutter! You’ll need to go through all these things anyway as part of a move so why not do yourself a favor and live in peace with your space now? You’ll thank me for this tip!
3. Leaving Repairs to the Buyers
In our market, most buyers want a “move in ready” home. Sure, we also have a lot of investors who love to buy distressed homes at bottom dollar, make the repairs and make a profit. But if you’re reading this blog, chances are you live in your home and are hoping to sell it at top dollar so you can move to another home. In that case, don’t leave repairs to the buyers! Make as many repairs as you can, especially those which are obvious. This will attract the largest pool of potential buyers to consider your home. Sure, there will be things that buyers can justify they’ll do after they move in, like putting in a pool, changing accent paint colors, doing some landscaping, etc… but if it seems like there are too many things to take on, buyers will walk.
Keep in mind that in Southwest Florida, most of our economy is fueled by the fact that we have sunshine year-round so we attract an aging population who wants to enjoy their retirement. Enjoying retirement does not usually include fixing up a house. Especially not when there are golf courses and beaches and grandchildren to enjoy instead! Throw in the fact that they may not have any tools in their vacation home, or have a list of trusted contractors, and you can see why retirees would be turned off by the idea of fixing broken tiles or lanai screens or resurfacing a pool.
The same holds true for families who may be relocating to the area and have enough to worry about with school and new careers and busy social lives to want to spend their time fixing up their home. Do yourself a favor and eliminate all obvious repair items upfront. Don’t leave them to the buyers! Note this as one of the mistakes to avoid when selling your home.
4. Limiting Showing Times
If your home can’t be shown when buyers are available to shop, they won’t see it. This is one of the worst things we can do in our market, especially in the winter season when daylight is limited and traffic is atrocious. Be flexible. The right buyer for your home may have flown down from Michigan for two days and only be able to see your home between 9:30-10:30am on Tuesday morning. Even if that interferes with your plans, you’ll do yourself a favor to allow showings. Speak with your agent about how we can make this as painless as possible for you- we have bluetooth lock boxes, showing services that can text you for showing requests, and special ways we can alert other agents to your agreeableness.
More than once I’ve completely passed over setting up a showing on a house where I could see that the seller would only allow showings in certain times. If it didn’t work with our schedule, we didn’t bother. Plus, it’s an indication of how difficult they would have been throughout the entire process. Do yourself a favor and be as flexible as possible, even if it means you need to step out on the lanai with your dogs for 30 minutes. Yes, it may be a pain but just flash a smile at the buyers and you may end up smiling all the way to the bank.
5. Choosing the Wrong Agent
Not all real estate agents are created equally and who you work with does matter.
When choosing the right agent, consider both the brokerage and the individual agent.
The brokerage should have a strong presence in the community with a robust advertising budget and the respect of industry peers. When I joined Royal Shell Real Estate, I instantly began receiving better offers for my listings. This is because of the respect that has been earned in our industry by other agents who know that agents in my office have the market knowledge and experience to back up their value claims. Plus, buyers associate a good brand with a good house.
The agent you choose should have a clear understanding of your community, be friendly and easily accessible, be an individual you feel comfortable with and whom you trust, and should be able to articulate their strategy to sell your home in a clear manner. Don’t be afraid to ask for references, track records, and availability. We, as an industry, exist to help others. The very best agent will help you achieve your goals and make the process enjoyable!