At the Move It Real Estate Group we try to help Sellers in a "good natured" way get ready to sell their properties. In 26 years of real estate sales, the one thing we hear over and over from sellers whose property did not sell is that they hardly ever heard from their agent after the home was listed. Without good feedback, there is no way for you to know if there are issues that could be corrected for a quicker and more profitable sale.
At the Move It Real Estate Group, our agents WILL provide you with feedback, or you can call me - Dan Anderson, Broker - directly! We don’t just tell you what we will do…we guarantee it! Below is a list of Mistakes to Avoid while trying to sell your home (and a few to keep in mind when you are Buying a new one)
Mistake #1: Don’t choose your agent based on the price they give you on their market analysis!
For some reason, sellers equate a real estate agent’s capabilities with the price they give them on a market analysis. Instead, take all the data into consideration when YOU decide on the price, and choose your agent based on how well you will be able to work with them as a partner to get your home sold! That is how you will get your BEST Results!
#2. Not keeping up the outside appearance.
Studies show that increasing your curb appeal is the number one return on investment you can make. Overgrown shrubs, outside clutter, peeling paint, and beat-up entry doors turn people off…before they ever get inside. And if it looks too bad, they may not come in at all.
#3. Not a Good Time.
If someone is setting up a showing to see your home, they most likely are looking at other homes that day as well. If you tell them that their chosen time doesn’t work for you, or that it would be better another day, you may very well lose them for good. Do your best to get prospective buyers in at their request…even if things are not perfect.
#4. Trying to Hard!
Buyers always appreciate a plate of cookies or a few bottles of cold water left out for them during showings on a hot day. But a line of Jello Shots is probably going a bit overboard. Not only that, but a tipsy buyer could go tumbling down your steps – so it is best to avoid things like “Help Yourself” signs on the Kegorator. :-)
#5. Sellers try to stage a home with table settings, but they use the ones with food on them…partially eaten.
You never know when the next showing will happen, and it may be very short notice. Get in the habit of cleaning the dishes and kitchen each morning to eliminate odors and the undesirable atmosphere created by old food. Yesterday’s tacos just aren’t as enticing as a freshly baked loaf of bread…or the aroma of a new batch of chocolate chip cookies.
#6. Renting your house while trying to sell it can be a disaster. This mistake can really cost you, but a lot of people have done it during the tougher economy. Many times, renters are unwilling to leave during showings, and they don’t have a lot of reason to keep things cleaned up and highly presentable. In fact, it is best for them if the place doesn’t sell, because they would rather not move.
Renting your home can certainly create a little bit of income, but you will most likely lose a lot more in the sale price.
#7. Don’t Stick Around for Showings!
Some sellers think it’s a good idea to guide prospective buyers through their home – pointing out every closet and storage space. Statements like: “This is the bedroom” or “This is the kitchen” are common…educating the buyers on names of rooms. - not necessary.
But most buyers can’t wait to get out of the house when the seller is there, because it makes them uncomfortable…and they typically never look back.
#8. Flush the Toilets…Inside and Out!
There is nothing that turns buyers off more than a grimy bathroom and unflushed toilets. Fortunately, most sellers do a decent job with the ones inside. But don’t forget about the other toilets outside, where your dog, the geese, and other animals generally forget to flush. When you’re selling, make that your job as well!
#9. Two Heads Aren’t Better Than One.
There are a lot of hunters in Northern Minnesota who are proud of their kills, and oftentimes they hang parts of them on the walls. But not everyone is comfortable being stared at by a multitude of dead animals as they try to envision themselves living in your home. It is a good idea to keep mounts to a minimum when selling…and maybe better to not have any at all.
#10. Don’t do the Shoe Thing!
Putting up signs to make people take off their shoes – or to have them put on little shoe covers – only interrupts the flow of that buyer as they enter your home. And if you send them into a dirty, unfinished basement or out on the deck with only their socks on, it won’t be a pleasant experience for them.
Most people will be considerate even without the signs, and others don’t abide by the signs anyway. So unless your floors really are pristine and generally shoeless, at least consider the negatives of mandated shoe removal.
#11. If you want to make your house more appealing to a buyer that first walks in, you have to Shed the Shades. First impressions are critically important, and buyers need to get a sense of how the outdoors blends with the interior. Closed curtains and shades create a dark, dingy first impression that is hard to overcome.
#12. Don’t Be A Doorknob when it Comes to Doorknobs!
If your doorknob or lock doesn’t work properly, or you don’t have a key for it, go pick up a new one for less than ten dollars so that you don’t get locked out of the house by mistake. Telling the showing agent “not to lock the doorknob” may work for a while, but sooner or later you will be “out in the cold.”
#13. Box up the family photos!
When buyers view your home, you want them to spend time trying to imagine it being theirs. Although you may like your family, most buyers are trying to see their families in the home instead.
They also tend to focus on the photos instead of the home itself. And once they leave, they might forget what the house even looked like. So display a few fun times around the property, but keep photos to a minimum.
#14. You’re Late…or You’re Early!
Normally, agents set up an hour window for each showing – which only means that they will try to get there within that hour…or close to it. Many sellers leave for exactly that hour, only to find the agent and buyers at their door ten minutes later.
Buyers may be looking at several homes on their tour and sometimes get delayed. Give yourself an extra fifteen minutes on each end of the showing to make sure the buyers don’t feel uncomfortable forcing you out.
#15. Keeping your pets in the house during showings.
A lot of people have allergies to cats and dogs, and others just aren’t comfortable around them. And every once in awhile, when a cat sneaks out the door, a prospective buyer and agent have to chase it around the neighborhood instead of spending time viewing the home. If you can’t get your pets out of there, at least block them off somewhere for showings.
#16. Enter At Your Own Risk!
Vacant homes are especially prone to the problem of cobwebs stretched across entry doors, and downed branches lining the sidewalk. But some lived-in homes don’t get much better, as buyers have to step over mounds of shoes, backpacks and other clutter strewn about the entry. And removing tables and unneeded furniture from these tight spaces is a must for successful showings.
#17. Don’t play hide-and-seek with the lockbox!
Some sellers don’t want to have the lockbox on their main door, so they have their agent hide it some creative place, like on the propane tank or a weather vane on the garage! While the agent is trying to get access to the house, the prospective buyers are standing out in the cold or the rain, waiting. Not a good start to the showing! Getting inside quickly keeps buyers more interested!
#18. The Old Carpet Allowance.
We hear time again how a seller doesn’t want to change the carpet because they’re not sure what color and style a new buyer might like. But we can tell you one thing…they probably won’t be choosing something similar to that 1970s orange shag you have now – and Dog Hair Berber is a bit out of fashion as well. Not to mention the smells that go with these brands. Putting in a neutral, new carpet is one of the best ways to get your home sold more quickly – so just do it!
#19. Quell the Smell…’cause if you smell it, you can’t sell it!
Every household has a fragrance unique to them, but some are worse than others. Have your agent tell you if you need to work on neutralizing any odors…and then follow through! Fresh carpets, clean cupboards, and new paint go a long way to attracting buyers to your home over another one. And normally, you will get a good return on your investment.
#20. Don’t Be An Energy Miser!
Having lights turned on and the heat at a comfortable level are important factors in creating a welcoming atmosphere for a prospective buyer. They can walk right in and feel at home…hopefully feeling like it could be their home. If they have to search high and low for light switches in their parkas and boots, it just isn’t the same.
#21. Sit Anywhere.
When a house is properly staged for showings, it may have a couple of chairs in the living room, along with a couch and loveseat for a variety of seating options. But some people don’t seem satisfied with that, and have enough chairs positioned for a small church service. Prospective buyers need to feel like there is room for them to place their furniture properly, and that is hard to do if most of the floor is already covered. Clean out the clutter for a quicker sale!
#22. Don’t Be Too Greedy!
Probably the biggest mistake anyone makes in a real estate transaction is being too greedy – buying or selling. And it seems that a buyer who wants to take a seller to the cleaners is often the same one who is unwilling to give at all on price when it comes to the selling side.
Both parties need to feel good about the deal, or it probably won’t come together. Try to put yourself in the other party’s shoes…especially if you made them take ‘em off at the door.
#23. This is one of the Worst Mistakes Sellers Make…and we call it the Uncle Joe Mistake.
It goes like this: Uncle Joe was a plumber in Toledo and he has been in lots of houses over the years. Uncle Joe says our house is a really nice one and should worth much more than the agent told us. And, of course, Uncle Joe could just as easily be Brenda at the Office, who also has an expert opinion of values.
If you don’t want to listen to an experienced real estate agent, then at least go look at some of your competition and try to be realistic on pricing.
Hopefully you'll find other helpful tips at MoveItRealEstate.com for quicker sales, so visit often.
We don’t just List your house…we Move It!