5 Common Reasons Homes Don’t Sell
Avoid These Common Mistakes
How to Make Sure These Common Mistakes Don’t Stop You From Selling!
Provided by Cindy Hanson Welu, www.JoeAndCindy.com
Are you making a common seller mistake that’s stopping your home from selling? What else can you be doing to ensure that your home is going to sell?
In this update, I’ll explain the biggest mistakes home sellers can make, a proven marketing secret that works, how to “sweeten the deal” for buyers, what buyers don’t want to see in your home, the three key areas you want looking the best, and finally, how to stage your home and make it look its absolute best.
Now I know that was a mouthful, but believe me, these topics are crucial to selling your home, and quite honestly, most other real estate agents and sellers are oblivious to these proven methods or don’t discuss them with homeowners.
- A very common mistake that most sellers make is that they don’t have professional pictures taken of the home!
Most Realtors don’t take the time or have the energy or desire to pay for good pictures. They will show up with their point and shoot camera, take a few shots and call it good. But it’s not.
Professional pictures will make your home look so much better. Photographers know what to do to make their subject look it’s absolute best. Whether it’s a cute puppy, a newly married couple, or a home for sale, professional pictures are a complete necessity in my book.
You have to view your house from a buyer’s prospective.
If you owned the house in this picture, you may not notice the trees that dominate the photo, the blue coloring tint, or the really bad angle that this was taken from.
BUT, even if you don’t want to hire a photographer, at least get someone (I can do this) to touch up the pictures and make them look good.
Look at the picture below. This is what just a little bit of editing can do for your pictures.
Pictures sell your home. It’s the first thing a buyer notices and it’s what will keep them interested. If they don’t like what they see in the pictures, they won’t even come look at your house. Get professional pictures taken!
- So what can you, the seller, do to “Sweeten the Deal” for the buyer?
Everyone is looking for a deal; this includes you, me, your mom, everyone. If people think they are getting a bargain, then they are going to hear that little voice inside of their head saying, “do it, do it, don’t pass it up!”
Marketers have been using this method for centuries. Why? Because it works. If you want to convince someone to buy your home, offer them something that no one else is offering. Even if it’s something that seems insignificant to you, it may be the one closing deal for the buyer.
I cannot think of a better example of this than a home I had listed a few months ago. The client (who wishes to remain anonymous) had been trying to sell this home for almost a year and was getting ready to just plain give up. In fact, he had come very close to selling his house at one point, but the deal fell through breaking any hope he believed he had in selling.
Getting people interested in his home was not the problem. Buyers were looking at a lot of homes in his neighborhood, and his was one of the nicer (more expensive) ones in that particular neighborhood. So it was the classic, always the bridesmaid and never the bride scenerio – those priced less (even though not as superior of homes) were getting the buyers over his.
We sat down and brainstormed on how he could “sweeten the deal”. He needed something that would make his house stand out. He needed an incentive to get people to buy his house instead of the one’s that were slightly less down the street. So here’s what we did…
Any potential buyer we knew would also be looking at the others in the neighborhood, so we let any buyer looking at his house know this: “The seller wants to give you something to consider. He will agree to pre-pay the entire first year of property taxes with an acceptable offer. Just think of it as a bonus.”
The first two showings with this incentive both came back for a second look and one of them bought the house! All they needed was an incentive to make his house stand out from the other one’s. Once again, it doesn’t have to be much, and it doesn’t have to be the incentive I used in the example.
You could include free house cleaning, snow removal or lawn care for a year. The list goes on and on and the only thing stopping it is creativity to think outside the box. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and ask yourself what kind of “deal” would you like to get when buying a home.
I’ve now discussed a few things buyers are looking for and what we can do to dramatically increase the chances of getting your home sold, but let’s look at what buyers want to see in your home.
- What buyer’s want and don’t want to see when looking through your home.
I want to start this section off by simply stating this: Your house is not about you. It’s about your buyer. A lot of people, for whatever reason, are unwilling to “cut the apron strings” from their home and take personal offense if someone doesn’t like their taste. You are moving – it’s going to be someone else’s house and they need to make it what they want.
Your buyer doesn’t want to see pictures of you and your family on the wall. Even though you love them and think that your family is great, (which I’m sure they are) your buyer doesn’t care. This can not only be a turn-off to the buyer if they don’t like skiing or halloween costumes as in your photos, but they cannot visualize the home as their own – only yours.
The goal here is to provide as much of a neutral atmosphere as possible. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to paint every wall white, but you never want to hear the words, “That’s…. interesting” or “Hmm…different”, when showing a home to a buyer.
Don’t have abstract paintings on the walls; remove the leopard print rugs, the pictures of the kids, the animal heads from the office. Let the buyer see the options the house has and visualize their own things in it.
Just as there are things that buyer’s don’t want to see, there are also things they WANT to see. If your house is properly laid out for showings, your chances of selling are so very much higher. I want to also state the obvious here, it’s always ok (and preferred) to put your best foot forward. The goal is to get the buyers interested.
This method is called “staging”. Staging is important because it can conceal the blemishes that may turn a buyer off but it also highlights the great features of your home.
Every potential issue or problem that a potential buyer sees, you can guarantee they will deduct money for in their offer. If they see too many problems, they will just pass on your home altogether. A vital reason it’s so important to properly stage your home.
Make it clean; especially in the kitchen! Potential buyers love to see clean appliances in the kitchen. You can hire kitchen drain cleaners Mesa to come and do your drains for you. If you don’t have new appliances, make the one’s you have spotless. Make sure there’s not splattered spaghetti sauce, crumbs, or films of grease in their potential new home. A close follow up would be to follow same method in all the bathrooms – lose the hair and toothpaste clumps.
Put away knickknacks and anything else causing clutter.
Clutter will really distract your buyer from your home’s nice features. It also makes it seem like the home doesn’t have enough storage space or makes the rooms appear smaller than they actually are.
Keep in mind most buyers are interested in closet space, so just throwing your stuff into the closet may not be the best route to go down. Find a place to store it that won’t affect the look of your home – if not off site, the garage is best.
Get rid of the wallpaper. Yes, people stopped using wallpaper a long time ago, and it hasn’t come back in popular following yet. If you have wallpaper in your home, your best bet is to tear it down and paint the wall a neutral color. Don’t have the buyer figure in how much headache, time and money it will cost them to do.
Speaking of neutral colors, do you have a “hot pink” room in your house? If yes, then you will seriously want to consider painting over this with a neutral color. I prefer warm colors such as taupe, tan and beige. I know some like white, but sometimes it can come across as cold and unwelcoming.
Put effort into the look of the exterior of the home.
After all, this is the first impression your buyer will get when they look at your home in person. Keep your lawn cut, weeds in control, hedges trimmed, and just have it overall maintained.
If possible, pressure wash your home to make it look its best. It can make it look almost like it was freshly painted but without the high cost of paint and the time and effort of labor.
Take advantage of your natural light. Open all of the curtains and blinds and light it up as bright as it can get. There’s no such thing as a home that’s “too bright”. Lighting makes everything look better and natural light makes it look superb.
Even if it’s a cloudy day, do what you can to get your house brightened up. Turn on all the lights that you can. If your fixtures are outdated, you may even want to consider replacing them. And definitely clean out any dead bugs that may still be inside your light fixtures.
- Now that we’ve learned the proper staging methods, let’s focus on the three key areas you want looking the absolute best in your home for those buyers!
Buyers often decide in the first 8 seconds of seeing a home if they are interested in it or not. Like I’ve said before, put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. Actually go outside and see what they are going to see when they first walk up.
The front of your house is going to be their first impression, so put a lot of effort into making the front of your house look amazing. It may even mean spending a little extra money, but if it will help your house sell, then it may be well worth it.
The main living room is the second place you want looking great. The best way to improve the look of the living area is with the furniture.
I don’t know what it is, but a lot of people seem to have way too much furniture in their homes. This makes it seem like the room is actually smaller than it is and that’s usually always a negative.
If you’re going to put any money into staging any room of your home, do it in the main living room.
The kitchen is the third most important place to make a great impression. You can easily invest in inexpensive upgrades like changing cabinet fronts, getting new lights and fixtures, and new hardware to make your kitchen look better. If your kitchen is quite outdated, investing in new countertops and appliances will usually get you the best return.
You don’t want anything in your house to look outdated more than ten years. So anything you can do to touch it up and modernize it will go far in your presentation and with your financial return.
- The biggest mistake most home sellers make is overpricing their property.
Yes, I said it. Please don’t shoot the messenger, someone has to tell you. A lot of my clients don’t want to admit they have their house priced too high, but when everything listed above is done right, it is most likely the culprit.
Truthfully, 90% of the time, I am on my seller’s side about the price. I agree with them their house is worth what they are asking, but the fact of the matter is, whatever market today’s economy offers is what we have, and there’s not a whole lot that you or I can do about it.
There was a young couple that hired a Realtor who listed their home for $250k. This price was about $20,000 higher than what the houses in the area were selling for, but because the Realtor either thought their house would sell there or wanted to make sure they listed with him, the young couple listened and went forward too high.
The house sat on the market for 6 months with only a few inquiries here and there, but nothing serious. A year went by and the house was STILL on the market! The young couple decided to try a new Realtor. The new Realtor did lower the price, but only by $10,000. So the couple remained above the current market.
A year and a half after first listing, the couple and the Realtor, both exhausted and weary, just decided to drop the price to $210k, and someone paid CASH for it almost instantly. The market had softened while the year and a half went by and people weren’t paying what houses were worth any more. The sad part about this, and point to the story, is that if they would have set the correct price in the first place, the house probably would have sold for $20,000 more than the end result!
Listing a house above market value will almost always end badly. It’s much better to actually start LOWER than market value because this can get buyers’ attention and you have opportunities for a “bidding war”.
Basically this means buyers may actuallydrive the price up to HIGHER than market value.
Wherever there is a real estate market, you can find buyers. Correctly price your home, create a market, get people interested, and then sell for the price you want!
Put the effort into properly presenting your home through professional pictures. Don’t undercut your home with point-and-shoot images that don’t show off its true beauty.
Give your buyer a “deal” that they won’t be able to turn down. Offer them something simple that no one else has probably offered. People love getting a deal of any kind.
Make your house presentable to your buyer. Take down personal items and make it as neutral as possible so that they can envision themselves in your home.
And last but not least, keep your house clean and presentable at all times, but especially the front of the house, the main living room and the kitchen.
P.S. If your Realtor is not helping you do what I’ve covered in this article, or you haven’t yet gotten a Realtor, I would be more than happy to help you through your entire home selling venture. I will do what needs to be done to get your home sold, and I’ll do it the right way.
Cindy Hanson Welu, Realtor, Accredited Staging Professional, Certified Marketing Expert