First Impressions Matter
For most buyers, a house “clicks” within 15 seconds of walking through the door. Buyers’ first impressions are crucial, so it’s critical that sellers make every effort to present the home at its best.
Clean and de-clutter. The front yard should be landscaped, trimmed. Driveways and patios should be clean. Front doors should be clean, in fact, the entire home should be deep cleaned and then cleaned on a regular basis. All personal items should be put away, or better, the homeowner should begin the moving process and store, donate and sell. I always suggest that clients visit a few model homes to get an idea of how to “edit” their homes. Clean, crisp smells like citrus or cinnamon are appealing, but most food odors should be avoided.
Price Doesn’t Match Home’s Condition
Unrealistic pricing is one of the biggest turn offs for buyers. I call it “unrealistic pricing” because over-priced homes come from unrealistic ideas of a home’s worth and condition. 89% of buyers are looking at the house online and if what they see in the photos doesn’t match the price, many buyers won’t bother to come see it.
The price a seller “needs” vs. what the home is worth are often wildly different numbers. It’s important for sellers to trust their agents to understand market conditions and values.
Some sellers are simply unaware of their home’s value. Others may assume that their house has special features (such as age, location, condition, upgrades, design trends) that are worth more than other homes on the market.
Some sellers are unaware of values based on the current market and may also be unaware of the condition of their home in relation to their competition or comparable sales. In the end, a home sells for what a qualified buyer is willing to pay. If the buyer is getting a loan, it is critical that the lender agrees that the sale price is appropriate. An appraiser will determine the home’s value during the loan approval process. If the house does not appraise, there is a good chance the buyer will cancel the sale. Working with a knowledgeable, experienced Realtor will help you determine a realistic price based on recent comparable sales. If you do not have 5-10 showings in the first two weeks, the home is overpriced.
Homes priced higher than the competition or recent sales sell when they are move-in ready, professionally designed/staged/furnished and don’t need costly upgrades or maintenance, and when inventory is light.
Emotions Get in the Way
Selling a home can be a very emotional experience. Once you list your home for sale, it’s helpful to take a deep breath and change the way you look at your home. In fact, consider it a “house” and your future residence as your “home” or “future home.” Now is the time to depersonalize the house. You want buyers to be able to imagine themselves living there and it’s helpful to eliminate photographs, personal items, and general clutter. I suggest that we are now going to market the house as a product and make it as appealing as possible to buyers.
You Can’t Sell It If They Can’t See It
One of the most effective ways for a seller to sell quickly, is to say YES to all showings. I promise my clients in the “wherever, whenever” philosophy for showings. My licensed assistant and I NEVER decline a showing, and we encourage our sellers to think as we do. Make beds and do the breakfast dishes every morning. Teach the kids to put toys and clothes in the closet and be ready to leave and take the family dog with you if possible. It’s uncomfortable for buyers if a seller is present during a showing or open house.
Sellers should disclosure everything they know about the house, and be honest about past issues or problems with house. Some sellers are unaware of the condition of their homes. It is helpful to repair items that are health and safety issues or anything distracting to the eye (such as messy landscaping, dead plants, broken gates, doors, windows, peeling or old painted surfaces, leaks). Provide the buyer with a complete list of repairs and upgrades done to the house. If something is not working, disclose as much information as you know about the issue.