Data provided by ActiveRain.com.
Of the top mistakes, most are ultimately in the hands of the seller. Working with your real estate agent to minimize the impact of each of these mistakes will make the sale of your home a reality.
Here are the top mistakes real estate agents commonly see made by homeowners looking to sell their house.
1. Overpriced Home
Nothing shocking here. This was far and away the most common mistake sellers make that prevent them from selling their home.
If you overprice your home there is a pretty good chance no one is going to want to buy it. Real estate agents do not set the real estate market. A great real estate agent will suggest a price at which to list your home based on comparable homes that have already sold in the market. Overpricing a home to ‘see if you can get someone to bite’ is not a strategy employed by someone really serious about selling. Overpricing a home will lead to missed opportunities with buyers that are serious about buying in the range at which your home should be listed.
The first week during which a home is listed will generally be the time that the most eyeballs are on the home and the largest potential pool of buyers will be exposed to the listing. Setting a price that reflects the market is essential to selling! This is exacerbated in a downward trending market. Many a seller has lost thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars chasing a market down after setting a listing price that was outside what the market was willing to bear.
Jeffrey Otteau, of Otteau Valuation Group, claims that for every $10,000 bracket of being being overpriced, the seller will net an extra $3,500 LESS than they would have if the home had been priced right to start. Should you want an Advanced CMA performed on your home, Mark Slade is trained to do so.
2. Showing Availability – It’s Difficult to Set a Showing
The chances your home will sell when buyers can’t get in to physically inspect the property are minuscule. Sellers need to understand that listing a home for sale is going to lead to some inconveniences in your normal routine. Many serious buyers may want to physically inspect a property during times which may not be convenient for the seller. Knowing this, motivated sellers need to understand that flexibility in when you allow the home to be sold could have a direct impact on the sale of your home.
It’s not uncommon for sellers to see 8, 10, even 20 homes during a showing tour with their agent. If your house isn’t on that list because you only do showings on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, you will miss out on ready, willing and able buyers.
As a seller, realize that the more people that can see the home in person, the more chance you have to find the buyer that wants your home. Ironically, I have clients that have been trying to see 2 homes in South Orange and we have been denied access several times; my buyers are fast losing interest in these homes and frankly, from experience, if a seller makes it that difficult to show their home, I hate to imagine how they will be to negotiate with and dealing with any potential home inspection issues.
3. Cluttered Space – Unwilling to Depersonalize or Remove Clutter
Sellers are sometimes unwilling to either make the effort, or unwilling to compromise how they live in their home during the time the home is on the market for showings. Serious sellers realize that by depersonalizing the home and removing unwarranted clutter, it allows potential buyers to more easily visualize their own things in the house.
When you live in your home day in and day out, you become comfortable with your own ‘things’. In many cases, however, your ‘stuff’ can make a room feel smaller than it actually is and in some more extreme cases, your ‘stuff’ can completely distract someone from visualizing the potential of a room. We know you are proud of your kids as the shrine in the living room displays all of their ribbons, trophies and diplomas from the last 20 years. But for a buyer, this is only a distraction.
Many agents will make recommendations about ways to remove clutter or depersonalize your home. Some will even suggest that a professional homestager be brought it to completely maximize the space and create a setting maximizes the buyers ability to visualize their own things. The key thing to remember here is these suggestions are not personal and you may have to be a little uncomfortable so that your house puts it’s best foot forward.
Ralph Gorgoglione, a real estate agent with the John Aaroe Group in Los Angeles reminds us that “as a seller, the most important thing to realize is that, yes, your crapola means a lot to you. But it means nothing to anyone else.” Especially a buyer trying to visualize their own stuff in your house.
4. Unpleasant Odors in the House
“Mr and Mrs. Seller, your house stinks!”
Most agents aren’t going to be this blunt. But in some cases they wish they could be. They’ll take a more tactical approach and say something like…..’during the time your house is on the market, it might be a good idea to smoke outside’.
But what they know is that nothing will stop a potential buyer in their tracks faster than a strong odor of any sort. In some cases this could just be the left over smell from last nights dinner. In more extreme cases, agents tell horror stories of entering homes that have a bad smell of pet urine or smoking.
The main concern for the buyer is, of course, “is the house going to smell like this once we move in?” Real Estate agents confirm that many a buyer has passed on a home after coming to their own conclusion on that answer.
Your agent isn’t suggesting a fresh coat of paint and new carpet because they don’t like how things look. They are making this suggestion because they realize that the smoke odor in your home is going to be a major turn off for anyone thinking about buying your home.
As someone with extensive experiential marketing expertise, I can tell you that homes with bad odors don’t sell because buyers are having intense and complex negative reactions that are simply turn-offs.
5. Seller Unwilling to Make Repairs Prior to Listing
No seller wants to spend a few thousand dollars making repairs to a house you are about to sell. Agents understand that. But they also understand that few buyers want to move in to a house that needs a bunch of work done immediately upon moving in.
One of your objectives to selling your home is to make it as appealing as possible to as wide of an audience as possible. If the seller is unwilling to make repairs, and a buyer doesn’t want a bunch of work upon moving in, you’ve shrunk the pool of potential buyers for your property.
Some sellers may want to offer the buyer a credit at closing for certain repairs or offer an Home Warranty; either of these options is more defensive and much less effective as most buyers anticipate the cost of such repairs at 2-3 times what it could cost you and furthermore, some buyers will pass outright.
6. Sellers Unwilling to Negotiate with Buyers
Setting a market price on a home is not an exact science. Many real estate agents will give the seller a range in which they predict the home will sell. As a seller, you should always want the most money the market will bear. That being said, the unwillingness to negotiate with buyers can turn away even the most serious buyers.
Price is not the only condition which is open to negotiation. Buyers and sellers can negotiate on dates, fixtures that might stay with the home, repairs and a host of other sticking points. Sellers that refuse to negotiate and are set on digging in their heels are much less likely to find a willing and able buyer.
Don’t be insulted by low offers. Buyers want to get the home for the best price and on the best terms they can. Just like a sellers wants to sell for the best price on the best terms. It’s rare that either party walks away from a negotiation with everything they want. Motivated sellers understand this and are willing to negotiate. A good agent will let be able to guide you in terms of whether an offer has market worthiness to it or not.
7. Bad Photos in the MLS
This one will most likely fall on your real estate agent. But knowing that bad photos in the MLS can be an impediment to the sale of your home, as a seller it’s imperative that you demand great photography from your agent.
Studies show that greater than 85% of people are going online as a part of their research for buying a home. Most buyers will probably first be introduced to your home online. Poor photos could be cause for them to disregard your home before they ever set foot in it.
The photos used to market your home are generally the first impression any buyer will have of your home. When picking an agent to list your home, ask to see examples of photos from previous listings. Do their photos make you want to take a look at the home?
Never let your home go on the market without photos! If it means waiting a day or two before listing, wait. A large number of potential buyers in your market will be exposed to your home the first day it goes on the market. Having great photos the first day the home hits the market is a must.
It kills me to see bad quality photos or a lack of them in the marketing of a home. If the property is smaller, I urge area shots that typify what a buyer might be looking for in schools, parks, transportation and shopping; especially since most buyers start looking at homes with the most pics first.
8. The Home is Just Plain Messy
You were late for work this morning so you ran out of the house without picking up from last night’s dinner. Not a big deal…..unless you have potential buyers that will be stopping by.
Some people may be able to look past the dishes stacked up in the sink, but enough buyers won’t be able to look past the mess. Remember, buyers want to envision their things in your house. The more obstacles you put in the way, the harder time they have connecting with the home emotionally.
Take the time every day to make sure everything is cleaned up and the home is in showing condition. Dirty dishes, clothes on the floor, or anything that has an unkempt look begins to “wear” on the buyer and increases their concern for how the house is and has been maintained.
9. Sellers Who Like to Play Tour Guide During Showings
Almost every real estate agent would agree that sellers should leave the house during showings. Some sellers want to stick around and make sure buyers see all the important features of a home. The problem with that………as a seller you don’t know what’s important to a buyer; worse, you may say something that negatively impacts your buyer’s impression.
Sellers that hover around during a showing will make the buyer nervous. They won’t feel comfortable discussing things they like or dislike about the house with their agent. In addition, most buyers like to explore a little bit. Interested buyers tend to do things like open cabinets and check in closets to get a better sense for the entire home. A hovering seller can make this very uncomfortable for some buyers.
Bottom line……leave the house when it’s being shown. Your presence there will only make things worse.
10. Picking the Wrong Agent
You decided to list with your aunt or with your friend that just got in the business. You paid no attention to their experience or proficiency in how they market a home.
Its probably a good idea to interview more than one agent. Make sure to avoid the agents that simply list you home only put it on the MLS. I don’t list homes, I SELL them by maximizing their exposure every possible way, through pictures, multiple sites, video, open houses, signage, blog postings, social media etc. The name of the game is supply and demand, a great agent will seek out ways to get your home in front of as many buyers as possible to increase the Demand for your property.
Don’t be scared to ask a real estate agent questions about why they are a better choice than anyone else you may be considering. Just like with any profession, there are good real estate agents and there are bad real estate agents.
Selling a Maplewood/South Orange/Millburn/Short Hills area home involves many steps and having an experienced Maplewood New Jersey Real Estate Agent and Realtor®, specializing in the Bedroom Communities of New York City in Essex/Union County— Millburn, Short Hills, Montclair, West Orange, South Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Springfield, Summit, Madison, Chatham, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Westfield–by your side will make the transaction run a lot smoother. I would love to be your Maplewood/South Orange New Jersey Area Real Estate Professional! I assist both buyers and sellers in the Bedroom Communities of New York City, mostly served by NJ Transit’s Mid-Town Direct Train Lines, offering commutes of 45minute or less to NY Penn Station, with either the purchase and or sale of residential real estate.
As an Accredited Buyer’s Agent (ABR), I have received special training to guide and educate you through the entire home buying process. From start to finish, I listen to your needs and desires in what you would like and take the information you give me to find you home. My GO-TO team can provide you the best in Real Estate advice with regard to attorney choices, Home Inspectors and Mortgage Loan Officers
As your Maplewood/South Orange/Millburn/Short Hills/Essex/Union County New Jersey listing agent I am well versed on as your local expert in all things in the Maplewood and South Orange area Real Estate Market. You can expect personalized service that includes a detailed consultation on how to best position your Mid-Town Direct home to be competitive in today’s market with training to provide my clients with an in-depth Advanced Comparative Market analysis, and advice on staging. As my office’s technology officer as well as both a Zillow Platinum Premier and Trulia Premier agent, I use the latest and most up-to-date marketing methods to get your home in front of as many buyers as possible. Being your New Jersey Real Estate Agent and Realtor ® not only involves just finding the home or selling the home, but being your guide, negotiator, advisor and advocate and making sure that your needs and goals are met. Being your New Jersey Essex/Union County area Realtor® (with a little bit of Morris County thrown in for good measure) is one of my truest passions, and “Helping You Find Your Dream Home” is my number one priority.
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