You’ve heard it’s a seller’s market, but your beloved house is still sitting there waiting for the perfect buyer. How could that be? Now you’re getting antsy because you need to make that move and you have that ideal home waiting for you on the other end.
Maybe your Realtor isn’t doing everything they can to sell your property, you think. Is there enough advertising? How about another open house? Maybe more social media exposure. There’s got to be a reason why no one has fallen in love with your house yet.
If you took time to interview Realtors and choose the one that met your expectations, chances are that the inability to sell your house isn’t totally his or her fault. While there may be some things the agent can tweak to get the job done, the problem is more likely due to some unrealistic expectations on the part of the owner – you! As a matter of fact, experts say, homeowners are often their own worst enemy. It’s a harsh reality, but something you’ll need to consider carefully.
Indeed, there are many common mistakes homeowners make, despite the urging of their Realtor to do otherwise. Here are the ones that most often interfere with home sales.
The asking price is too high
In a seller's market, many homeowners become overconfident and insist on a higher listing price than what might be realistic. Some Realtors will refuse such a listing but others will allow the inflated price with an agreement that it will be reviewed in a certain number of months. If your home is listed at an unrealistic price, chances are high that buyers won’t even look, despite the good things that might be waiting for them. And even if you’re not in a hurry to sell and you do eventually lower the price, a house that’s been on the market becomes “stale” inventory and may still be ignored by potential buyers.
The house needs work
Again, just because it’s a seller’s market, it doesn’t mean that buyers are eager to scoop up anything they can get their hands on. Unless someone is looking for a fixer-upper (and a deal to go with it), you’re better off spending some money to spruce up the place before it goes on the market. If you’ve priced your home similar to others on the market in your area, make sure yours has the same perks as those houses. Otherwise, yours will be overlooked. And, by all means, if your Realtor advises you to repair or replace something, do it. They know the market best.
This sort of ties in with the previous paragraph, but you might be surprised at the number of potential buyers who could be turned off by the smell of your home…and it may be an odor you don’t even recognize. Pets are the number one culprit when it comes to smelly houses and, often times, pet owners don’t realize how potent their pet’s odors might be. Food odors can be an issue as well. For example, if you cook with an abundance of a certain spice, that smell might remain in the carpets, draperies, etc. and – again – you may not even notice it because your nose is accustomed to it. If you think this might be a problem, ask your Realtor – or even a friend – for an honest opinion and address the root of the problem.
Of course, appliances can be replaced, but when a buyer walks in and sees you have an avocado-colored refrigerator or a stove in that 70's bronze color, chances are they’ll be turned off or, at least, will be left calculating how much it will cost for them to replace everything and bring the kitchen up-to-date. Instead, it’s a good idea to do that yourself before you list. You can buy basic stainless steel appliances in a “package” for a good price at many home improvement stores and, once installed, the difference will be amazing. The other issue with old appliances is that when buyers see them, they wonder what else you haven’t updated and their minds start to wander, imagining all sorts of potential repairs and the costs that go with them.
Poor listing photos or video
These days, most people depend on the internet or on various apps to browse what’s on the market, and with that comes the need for clear, sharp photos or high quality video. Has your Realtor accomplished that? If not, talk to him and ask him to re-do those. Good photos or video taken with appropriate lighting are what makes buyers want to see more. And don’t forget the exterior shots, too, which are equally important for most buyers, especially those in a climate where they are likely to spend lots of time outside.
Your Realtor isn't cutting it
Yes, we realize there are Realtors out there that just don’t apply themselves to their work. You can avoid that by carefully vetting each agent you interview. Are they full-time in the business? Are they well-versed in modern technology and social media? Can they provide you with a list of seller references? Do they know the neighborhood? Ask to see some of their current listings and observe what they’ve done to promote those homes. Don’t settle for someone you think is sub-par just because they were recommended by friends or family or because their office is around the corner. Selling a home is one of life’s most important financial transactions so take the time you need to make sure the process will go smoothly.