How NOT to Sell Your Home !
I just got home from a successful outing with new buyers – a lovely young couple looking to buy a first home. As we walked into one home, I had to fumble for the light switches in every room. I heard myself say to them, “This is one way NOT to help sell your home”!
So……….I decided to compile some suggestions of what NOT to do when trying to sell your home. These suggestions are based on actual experiences I have had showing homes. In this turbulent market, sellers need to help sell their homes, not hinder the sale….Keep the following in mind if trying to sell your home.
1. Do NOT overprice it! Buyers often say they like a house, but think it is overpriced. They think they should wait for a reduction before making an offer. Show buyers you are motivated to sell – price it right from the start!
2. Do NOT leave the house in disarray! Straighten up before showings. I am not referring to staging a house – that’s an entirely different topic I have addressed in another blog. If you know buyers are coming by, make sure your beds are made, and your children’s toys don’t create an obstacle course throughout the house. Don’t leave breakfast dishes in the sink, towels on the bathroom floor, or closets half opened with clothing sticking out. If you have a cat – make sure the litter box is out of the way and CLEAN! (Don’t cook fish the night before, either!)
3. Do NOT make your home difficult to show! I did not show one townhome today simply because the agent had to accompany us, and she wasn’t available when my clients were. No seller can afford to lose a showing! This seller did. Do NOT put too many restrictions on how or when the home can be shown.
4. Do NOT leave the buyers and agents in the dark! If you know people are coming by to see your home, make sure your shades are open in all rooms and lights turned on (especially on cloudy days). Nothing is worse than having to feel or look around for light switches – that goes for basements, too. By the time I found some light switches today, my clients had already passed through that room.
5. Do NOT follow the agent and the buyers around! Yes, you may be proud of the that room you painted yourself, or the extra closet shelves you installed – but buyers are intimidated when the seller is nearby. They won’t feel free to discuss the house openly with their agent. Let the agent do the showing – they have a relationship with the client, and know what the client is looking for. Make yourself scarce.
6. Do NOT make your house uncomfortable, temperature-wise, for the buyers. You may not like air conditioning, but when the temps are over 85 on a hot summer day, make sure your home is cool and inviting. There is nothing worse than showing a home when it’s too hot, and the buyers can’t wait to run back to the cool car!
7. Do NOT have poor photos posted on the internet! The internet is where most buyers begin their search for a home. Your home’s photos are your first line of defense. Make sure they show off your home to its best advantage! I actually saw a photo of a hot water heater posted for a listing recently! What were they thinking ?? Who wants to see a photo of a hot water heater? I have seen photos that were so dark, I could hardly make out what room was being shown. Make sure to check out your photos! If the original exterior shot was taken in winter with snow on the ground, and it’s now spring – have a new photo taken.
8.Do NOT have missing or incorrect information about your home. Make sure any text that goes along with your listing is truthful and has helpful descriptive phrases. Also make sure to have factual information available in the house for buyers to take – ie, a brochure or flyer – room sizes are helpful, too. Make sure property tax information is up-to-date as well.
9. Do NOT let your front walk be a hazard zone. Make sure it is free from ice and snow in winter; free from hoses and gardening tools in summer. Also make sure the doorbell works!
10. Do NOT celebrate holidays after they are over! Take down those Christmas decorations or Halloween scarecrows within a few weeks of the holiday! Also, you may have fallen in love with those pink plastic flamingos while on your trip to Florida, but do NOT litter your front (or back) lawn with them! Numerous statues do NOT enhance the landscape (and keep the lawn and shrubs neat and trimmed. Have tree branches that are brushing up against the house cut back – home inspectors will always point that out in their inspection reports)!
Remember these tips when your house is on the market, and that closing table will be closer than you think!