Today’s “ask an expert” guest post comes from Bill Gassett, a popular real estate blogger who shares his tips and tricks with buyers, sellers and other agents. This article is an excellent resource to share with your clients and prospects, especially if they’re wondering why a particular listing has been on the market for what seems like ages.
There are multiple reasons why this might happen, but one reason in particular is surprisingly common. Some sellers are not as ready to sell as they thought they were, and this can throw a major wrench in the sales process.
Real estate agents like to call these issues top home seller mistakes. When you are really not ready to sell your home, doing things half heatedly can come back to bite you where it hurts – your wallet! For this reason it really makes sense not to sell your home until you are really motivated to do so.
Ways Sellers Sabotage the Sale
When you really want to sell your home, you are committed. This is evidenced by the substantial work you put into the sale. Getting a home ready for the market is usually a lot of work and takes time. Yet some sellers avoid this, for reasons we will discuss later. Here are several mistakes that may indicate a lack of commitment to the sale:
- Failure to interview REALTORS® – As much as some agents might like you to believe otherwise, all agents are not created equal. Some are far better at selling in a particular market than others, and some have a much more substantial track record than others. If you didn’t do your due diligence, you may have signed up with a less than stellar agent. This is almost surely going to cost you money and a lot of aggravation. When you don’t take the time to interview real estate agents carefully, the chances of being disappointed increase greatly. In fact you may even realize that you hired a bad real estate agent and that certainly won’t help your home sell.
- Deciding on a high price for your home without verifying its worth – This can happen for several reasons. You may have only talked to a few agents and went with the one that gave you the highest estimate for your home. The problem is, this real estate agent may tell everyone a high price to get clients, only to later on suggest lowering that price after the damage has already been done. You may have also decided on a high price due to emotional attachment. You love your home, and you have a lot of fine memories there. Or you have put a lot of work into the home, and you believe your renovations should drastically increase the price of your property. Unfortunately, the market will not always agree with you. A home priced too high will sit on the market and stagnate, becoming increasingly hard to sell – even after you have lowered the price to be more competitive. Many people incorrectly assume there are no risks to overpricing a home. In fact this is probably the number one mistake people make when listing their home before they are ready to sell.
- Failure to renovate – If your real estate agent tells you that the roof is in bad shape or the kitchen must be renovated to demand a decent price, you should probably heed his or her advice. Especially if you have taken the time to find an agent that you really trust. Yet some homeowners balk at these repairs. They want to make money off of the sale, not lose money to renovations. Understand that if your agent believes that you need to repair the home, you should pay attention. The agent has probably been selling homes for a living, 40 or 50 hours a week, for years. He or she is much better equipped to measure the demand of the market than you are. If the advice to renovate seems really off, get a second opinion. But if you still fail to make the repairs, do not be surprised if your house fails to sell.
- Not taking care of general maintenance – One of the things that is common with many homeowners is that we become too comfortable with our surroundings. We may notice that we have a small issue but not do anything about it until it becomes a much bigger issue. When selling a home, buyers are less than forgiving when we do not have “pride of ownership.” Buyers today want turn-key properties, not maintenance nightmares. Keeping up with common problems that could surface during a home inspection are vital. There are numerous buyers who will not be so accepting of your home once they discover issues that are clear as day to a trained home inspector.
- Failure to clean the clutter – One of the hardest parts of selling a home is keeping it in shape for showing. This is your house, and houses always get dirty. Yet buyers want to see the house looking good when they come to view it. It’s a real balancing act. But it must be done. A dirty, cluttered home will turn buyers off faster than anything. Presentation is everything in real estate sales! Some people make the presentation of their property more complicated than it has to be. Take a look at our guide explaining how to clean the clutter before selling a home. Use these tips to get your home organized well in advance of the for sale sign being put in your lawn.
- Sticking around during showings – Your agent has shown a lot of houses and negotiated a lot of deals. While it can be tempting to stick around when people come to view your house, most agents will prefer that you be somewhere else. It is too difficult to land a sale when you have the owners mingling with the potential buyers. You’ve picked a good agent, let him or her do what they do best – sell your home.
- Not understanding seasonal differences – Anyone who has sold a few homes during their lifetime will tell you there are some very big differences in selling real estate during different times of the year. Selling a home in the spring is a lot different than selling in the winter, especially when you are located in a cold weather climate. In fact they are night and day! Knowing how to sell a home in the winter is much different than prepping for selling at any other point in the year. There are many other considerations sellers need to think about including addressing temperature concerns, clearing snow and ice, looking out for ice dams, embracing the season and a few others. So if you are selling in the winter make sure you understand these differences. Here are some winter curb appeal tips to get you started.
Why Sellers Self-Sabotage
Owning a home naturally involves some emotion. You have formed a special relationship with your home, and it may be one that you are not ready to break. Or you may have not planned as thoroughly as you needed to. You could have nowhere to move to if the home sells, or you could be selling in a market that will not give you what you paid for the home. These are all things that could be in the back of your mind, but you decided to put your home on the market anyway.
All of these are viable explanations for why homeowners will avoid selling even after the house has been listed. They are also all things that can pop up after you have hired an agent and moved forward with the selling process. Fortunately, it’s not too late. You can still pull the house off of the market.
Do It Right
Your home is probably the biggest asset you own. It only makes sense to sell it as effectively as possible. You want a good price and you can get one, but you have to be serious about it. Let your REALTOR® know that you want to start over. You want to do what is necessary to get a great price on your home.
Taking your home off of the market will allow the dust to settle so you can plan better. If you don’t want to sell, don’t. And if you do, do it right. Come back on the market at a point in time where you have done your due diligence and are fully prepared to do what it takes to get top dollar.
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