I remember when Active Rain contacted me for this survey. They wanted to know the top three mistakes Home Sellers make that prevent their homes from selling. I looked over their list of reasons and actually had a hard time choosing only three. Then the results come out and I think that the top six reasons were the ones that I had the hardest time choosing between. Here are the top six reasons and my thoughts on each.
Data provided by ActiveRain.com. ActiveRain is an online community of real estate professionals who exchange best practices, write real estate blogs, and get free education from the industry and their peers.
This one should be self explanatory, however it often isn't. Way too many sellers think that their list price doesn't matter and regardless of what they have the home listed at buyers will offer market value. This simply isn't the case. Most buyers don't like to waste time, and submitting an offer on an overpriced home is often a waste of time.
List price is vitally important and when a Realtor is covering comparable sales, be sure they are comparing apples to apples. If the comps say your house in Gardner, KS is worth $200,000. Price it at $199,995. Don't price it at $210,000 and leave "wiggle room."
If you price it at market value, you'll likely get offers in the first 21 days. It's real hard to beat up a seller on price when their home is fresh on the market and priced right. By pricing too high, you actually cost yourself in the end. You'll sell it further out for less money than you will by pricing it properly. This bears out in our market each and every day.
This is another one that I really think should probably make sense to most people. If you're not willing or able to have buyers come see your home, it's very unlikely you'll sell it.
Sometimes you just got home from work and don't want to leave again in 90 minutes. Maybe your favorite TV show is on at the time they just scheduled the showing for. Perhaps your dogs are in the kennel all day while you're at work and you don't want to put them back in there.
All of these and many more have been reasons that sellers of mine have declined showings. When this happens occasionally I completely understand, but when it's frequent it tells me you're not real motivated to sell your house. You must make the home available to buyers with reasonable notice to have the best chance of selling.
It happens at least twice per week. I show a home that has way too much stuff in it. Not like hoarder clutter, that happens too but not as often, just too many things in a small space. A lot of times it's the reason homeowners are selling. They've outgrown the space.
But if you have a garage so full of stuff that people can't imagine parking their car in it, buyers will assume there's a storage issue with the home. As painful as it is, I almost always recommend a storage unit to move these items off site. While it adds an additional $50 - $100 to the monthly budget, if you're able to sell in the first month for a higher price, it's money and labor very well spent.
Do you have an honest friend that doesn't visit much? Will your Realtor be straight with you? Someone needs to let you know if your house stinks. You're not going to sell a stinky house. Too many people are worried about what's making it stink. Will they be able to rid the home of odors? Will they have to become best friends with their Scentsy dealer?
Have someone you trust come through your house and point out any unpleasant odors. Then eradicate them and put something nice smelling in it's place. This is essential for a quick and profitable sale.
UNWILLING TO NEGOTIATE
I've had sellers come up with some crazy reasons not to counter an offer. Unless your house is way over priced you shouldn't expect offers that are 20% below asking price. But you should expect them about 7 - 12% low. In Olathe, KS the average list to sale price ratio is 98.3%. Typically speaking though, buyers are going to start lower and hope for a deal. Counter any reasonable offer. Remember, you're selling an asset. It's not your home any more, and even though it's difficult but you must break the emotional ties.
WON'T MAKE REPAIRS PRIOR TO LISTING
This question is brought up a lot by my selling clients. They want to know what they should fix up front and what they can slide on. It's usually pretty simple. If there is a glaring cosmetic flaw that everyone is going to see, that needs to be fixed before we put the home on the market. One of the more common examples is wood rot by the front door. Buyers will be standing there waiting on their Realtor to open the door and be looking around examining the front stoop area, if there are obvious issues they'll be seen and remembered while they're looking throughout the rest of your home.
When the time comes to sell your home be sure you work with a Realtor knowledgeable in your area who can provide excellent comparable sales and give you an accurate list price. Understand up front and expect to be inconvenienced by having to leave for a showing when you really don't want to. If your Realtor recommends putting things in storage or calling a stager, remember that it's money well spent. Be sure someone who's not afraid to be honest comes by to do a smell check and remedy any problems that arise. If you get an offer, be happy and try to work with the buyer even if the price seems too low, and lastly be sure your house is ready for "prime time" before it ever hits the market with simple cosmetic repairs.