Selling your home is a scary thought. A lot goes into the process and many people feel they are underprepared when it comes time to sell their homes. “What should I do? What shouldn’t I do?” are questions we hear a lot. This article is here to help answer some of those questions and hopefully ease your selling experience.
Common mistakes home sellers make
According to Forbes contributor Trulia, sellers can make several mistakes during a sale that ends up costing them money. Many of these mistakes are unnecessary and only happen because the seller is not aware of how they can affect the sale of the home. Here are a few to avoid:
1. Starting with an asking price that is too high
It may seem like a good idea to test the market and see if anyone is willing to pay more than your home is worth. If no one bites, you can always lower the price, right? What do you have to lose?
As it turns out, you have a lot to lose. Overpricing a home is one of the worst mistakes a seller can make. In a survey by online real estate community Active Rain, real estate agents were asked to list the top three mistakes home sellers make, and 77 percent of them listed overpricing.
Asking for too much for your home will, not surprisingly, make buyers less enthusiastic about putting in an offer. Remember that they have done their research, and they know what a home like yours is worth.
The first 30 days on the market is an integral period. If your home has not sold after that long, buyers become suspicious something might be wrong with it. By then, even if you have reduced the price, your home will be harder to sell. Sellers who initially overprice their home often end up selling it for less than they would have if they priced it right the first time.
2. Not disclosing or repairing issues with the home
Trying to hide a known issue from a buyer is useless. It will be discovered during their home inspection, and by then you will have lost credibility for failing to disclose the information and thus will have less negotiation leverage. You will end up having to factor the cost of repairs into the new price for the home - and buyers always overestimate these costs.
If you are transparent with buyers from the start, you can work together to figure out how to address issues rather than having them come up at the last minute, delaying closing and costing everybody time and money.
Realtor.com said a pre-listing inspection is the best way to avoid last-minute negotiations and to prevent the deal from falling through. A pre-listing inspection, paid for by the seller before the house is listed, allows the seller to decide in advance how to deal with issues present in the home. He or she can either have them repaired before selling or else factor in the costs of repairs to the original asking price and explain to buyers that the issues have been accounted for. Either way, a pre-listing inspection keeps the seller from losing the upper hand.
3. Not using a real estate agent
Trulia explained in Forbes that sellers who attempt to brave the market without an agent take longer to sell their homes and sell for less money than those who work with a professional. Home buying and selling is incredibly complicated, and you want an expert there to advocate for your needs and guide you to making the best decisions.
4. Not spending time to stage your home for showings
Home staging makes more of a difference than you might think. In the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Staging, 81 percent of realtors who work with buyers said they think staging is important in helping buyers visualize themselves living in the home. Staging a home properly can even lead to a 1 to 5 percent increase in a buyer's offer. According to the report, the top five most important rooms to stage, in order of significance, are the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, dining room and bathroom.
5. Being too rigid
You have poured your heart and soul into this home, and from your perspective it is impossible to understand why a buyer does not see as much value in it as you do. Do not dig your heels in the sand and refuse to negotiate.
The Cheat Sheet, an online modern lifestyle publication, said many sellers allow their emotions to get in the way when they are trying to sell their home, and it is important to step back and think logically so you do not end up ruining a deal. You need to be open to agreeing to a marginally lower asking price, among other common deal-making tactics, like helping pay for closing costs.
6. Not working hard enough on the listings, itself
In Forbes, Trulia said that 90 percent of buyers begin their home search online. If you do not have beautiful, crisp photographs of a nicely staged home to accompany your listing, buyers will not be enticed to see it. Spend time and effort on getting the best possible pictures you can.
In addition, the words you use in your listing matter. Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow, spoke with Time about the need for sellers to avoid vague, meaningless words like "unique" and "cute." Instead, be specific. Focus on your home's actual features and think about how to use a buyer's emotions to entice them to look at your home.
So much of selling a home is an art. There is not always a distinct right and wrong way to do things but avoiding these pitfalls should help your home sell faster and at a better price.
6 things you should do to sell your home faster
1. Keep online sales in mind
According to the National Association of Realtors, 92 percent of homebuyers look online before they ever set foot in a home. This means that even if your home is beautiful in person, you are going to have a tough time selling it if it does not look great online. Buyers are going to see your location and local amenities no matter what, so you need to think more about what makes the actual home stand out. Pictures are essential, as is image quality. Consider having a professional take interior photos - you will be amazed at what they can do with the right angles and lighting.
A video tour, like WIN360 might also tip the scales in your favor. Reader's Digest suggests that you not just stop at your front door - show prospective buyers around the neighborhood. If you show how much you and your family love your house, it will be easier for buyers to imagine themselves happy in your home.
2. Find the right agent
Not all agents are created equal. MSN Real Estate stresses that the right agent should be honest with you about your home's value and potential to sell. Agents that promise a price significantly higher than what you expected should set off a red flag - they want your business but may not be able to deliver.
Once you have a good agent, listen to them. Your agent has been selling houses in your area or price range - ideally both - for quite some time, so remember that he or she knows some things that you do not.
3. Be willing to price low
Katya Dennis, an agent for David Lyng Real Estate, told MSN Real Estate that one of the best ways to get value for a home is to lower the price. While it may seem counterintuitive, listing the home at a lower price can pay dividends down the road. Many sellers want to list their homes above market value to have some negotiating room, she explains, but this strategy can lead a home to sit on the market, encouraging low-ball offers. Instead, she suggests that a home be priced under what the most recent home in the area sold for. This can lead to multiple offers, which in turn leads to a bidding war, driving up the price.
4. Fix any problems
Buyers are commonly unwilling or unable to look past simple defects - even ones that are easy to fix. If you are selling your home, fix anything that looks obviously broken, dingy or just too far-out for the average buyer. That includes broken doorknobs, that leaky faucet you have been promising to fix yourself and anything else that might cause a buyer to think about doing work before moving in.
5. Make it neat
This means no clutter of any sort - on tables, counters, corners of the floor, everything! Make your home look pristine. Furthermore, think about taking down anything personal, like family photos. We know everyone wants to see that photo of you and your significant other in front of the Grand Canyon, but it helps buyers to visualize themselves in your house if it is not as obvious that you are still living there. If you really want to go all out, consider staging your home to give it that extra push.
6. Get a home inspection
Before moving into a home, it is standard to get a move in inspection. Buyers know that this costs money, so get the jump on them and get your own qualified home inspection. By saving them time and the cost of the inspection, you can make your home a more desirable buy and potentially beat out local competition.
These qualities represent values held by most buyers and will help you present your home in a better light and hopefully aid in selling it quicker.. As you get to know your buyer pool, you may find their preferences are slightly different. Work with your listing agent to determine which features of your home will attract the highest number of buyers in your specific area.
If you’d like to get a Pre-Listing Inspection, please contact your local WIN Home Inspector and they would be happy to assist you!