Overpricing and waiting too long for reductions. You’ve contacted a realtor to list your home and they give you prices of comparable homes’ selling prices. You’re not in a rush, so why not list your house at the high end, or even more? I’ve heard this many times before … and your rationale is almost always one of these three: it only takes one buyer who is willing to pay more; your house really is nicer than those “comps” probably were; or if someone really wants your house, they’ll be willing to pay a little more to get it. And of course, you can always lower the price at some point.
Well, there are many reasons why your realtor is not doing you any favor by pricing your house high for the market. Buyers are doing lots of looking and comparison-shopping these days, and quickly gain the ability to gauge a house’s market value. Remember, they are not looking at your home in a vacuum. Pricing your house too high only helps your competition sell. The longer your house is on the market, even if you do start reducing the price, buyers view it as “stale” and wonder why no one else wanted it. Even the best marketing strategies won’t sell a house that is priced unrealistically high.
Trying to pick the ideal time to market your home . Here are some need to know points about market timing:
The best month to make an offer on a house is January.
The best day of the month to make an offer on a house is the first Tuesday.
The best time of the year to sell a house is the Spring.
The best day of the week to list your house for sale is Thursday.
Forgetting that everything is negotiable. The words, “I have an offer for you” from your realtor are music to your ears – that is, until you hear the number following the dollar sign, and (gasp!) the conditions that accompany it. Before you panic, remember that buyers assume that their offer is a first step in a back and forth dance between buyer and seller. Try not to personalize the issues – the buyers have never even met you, and this is, ultimately a business deal. It is important to work with your realtor who is used to the real estate negotiation process and with some patience and perhaps a little compromise a deal can be reached.
Underestimating the importance of “Showing Condition” You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “curb appeal.” The same type of instant and overall impression occurs inside your home as well. You want your home to show as positively as possible, and that means the rooms should be as light, bright, and large as possible. One way to do that is to cut down on clutter or extra furniture that makes a room seems smaller than it is. The more uncluttered a room is, the more spacious it feels to a house hunter. Unfortunately, housekeeping counts too. The cleaner a home is it both makes a positive impression and creates an impression that the house has been well maintained. Many housecleaning companies offer a one time top-to-bottom cleaning for people putting their houses on the market. Sellers have said to me, “But they’re not buying the house furnished – they’ll be redoing it anyway,” or “They’re not hiring me as a housekeeper, so what do they care?” Although those are logical arguments, buyers tend to not be able to get past things that make an immediate negative impression. Also, many people do not have the “vision” to be able to see a room or house differently than it appears in front of them.
Staying Home During Showings. Your instinct may be to be present during showings for any number of reasons: to assess the buyers’ reactions, to supervise, or to point out tiny details the showing agent may not know to mention. I can tell you in no uncertain terms from experience, both my own and that of my clients, that this is one of the worst things you can do. As a buyer, it is quite uncomfortable and leads to two common results: a quicker than normal walk through without paying attention to details and an unwillingness to ask questions or make comments that are part of their decision making process.
Not Listening to Feedback. Whenever you house is shown, the realtor will get feedback from the buyers (or their realtor) about what they liked about your house, and what shortcomings they may have perceived. There are some things you can do nothing about – for example, the fact that your backyard slopes steeply, the amount of traffic on your road, or that your house is next to a business building. Some things, however, you can change, and if a specific item comes up several times it is a good idea to address it. Buyers often assume that an area of your house that shows neglect or disrepair reflects on the same lack of attention to unseen areas. Your goal is to sell your house, not to win an argument defending why your side yard fence is unpainted and rotting.
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