You’ve listed your home for sale and it’s not generating much excitement. There have been a couple of showings, but no offers – not even lowball offers. Now the listing is stale. Buyers are wondering if something’s wrong with the home.The lacklustre response may be beyond a seller’s control; for instance, the home may front a busy street. However, the blame frequently falls on the seller’s shoulders.
The most common mistake is overpricing. It can’t be overstated. A property must be priced at market value and not based on emotion or a seller’s “need” to pocket a specific sum. You can’t pull a figure out of thin air, hoping someone will pay more than it’s worth. Would you? Also consider this: A lender is not going to approve a mortgage on an overpriced home. Let your BREA agent guide you. Your agent will price the home based on recent comparable sales in the area (not to be confused with asking prices). Remember, homes that languish on the market result in lowball – even possibly insulting – offers. If you are unhappy with your agent’s recommendation, get an appraisal.
Real estate marketing is extremely sophisticated with listings showcased on the internet and in glossy brochures and flyers, as well as in print media. Unless a buyer is specifically looking for a fixer-upper, the image of a well-kept home will obviously generate more interest than one that’s run down. Think of the various advertising media as the Pied Piper that pulls a buyer to look at the property. That means no disabled cars parked in front of the home, no rusted gates and no junk in the carport. Before a buyer sets foot on the property, the chances are they would have viewed it in an electronic or print advertising format.
Now, imagine arriving at a home. The front yard is unkempt. The paint on the front door is peeling. Inside is cluttered and the walls have smudge marks. Is that pet odor you smell? You get the drift. It’s critical to prep a home for sale. A home has only one chance to make a first impression. Don’t blow it!
Some sellers insist on too much notice for showings. I understand reasonable notice is necessary, but it’s best not to restrict access if possible. Keep on top of house and yard work so your home can be made ready for showing in short order. Buyers don’t just look at one home. They’re going to be looking at multiple homes – sometimes all on the same day. If your home isn’t available for showing the buyer may either skip seeing it or settle on something else in the meantime.
When a BREA agent arrives at your home with a prospective buyer, the owner should not be there. That’s right. No-one should be home when the prospect arrives to inspect a home except the real estate agent. Don’t hang around hoping to get a glimpse of the buyer before you leave. If you’re home, your presence may make a buyer feel like an intruder and will constrain them from having a candid discussion with their agent about the merits or possible drawbacks of the home.Your presence may turn them off.
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(Mike Lightbourn is president of Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty)