As a real estate agent in the Bucks County area, I come across many mistakes that sellers make when trying to sell their home. It often comes down to the client not being willing to see their home as a potential buyer sees it. This could include anything from inflating their home's value to believing they do not need to remove family photos from the walls (hint: you want buyers to see themselves in the home, not you).
I do understand where sellers are coming from, though. They love their home and it's difficult to see it as an asset to be sold rather than the place they shared so many memories. I get it. But, that's why it becomes so much more important to listen to your agent, who is an objective party and has no emotional attachment to your home. By avoiding the mistakes listed below, you have a much better chance that your home will sell faster and for top dollar in your local market.
With that in mind, review the list below. Keep in mind that these results are based on the responses of 1,000 Realtors in the ActiveRain community. So, this is important to keep in mind if you plan to list your home or already have your home on the market.
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.
1. Overpriced Home
This was the top reason cited at 77% and one I will never understand. If you decide to have your agent price your home above market value, expect to have it sit. Agents compare your property to others on the market, properties that have sold in the last 6 to 12 months, and properties that are currently pending sale. The price is not just pulled out of thin air and is not a testament to your home itself. It's simply how the price is set.
While it's difficult to remove the emotional attachment -- and the fact that we all want to believe our homes are worth twice what the market says -- it's incredibly important to set the price correctly. Why? Because as soon as your home hits the market, it is being searched by buyers. If you price your home above what it's worth, the buyers who would be in line to buy your home don't see it and the buyers who do see it will believe it's not worth it. So, you didn't do yourself any favors there.
2. Showing Availability - It's Difficult to Set a Showing
Question: do you want your home to sell or are you just trying to gauge interest? If you are a truly motivated seller, why put restrictions on showings? Why make it difficult for potential buyers to see it? Why not let an agent put a lockbox on the door? Why make the only time somebody can see your home be on the third Tuesday of the month between 5:00 pm and 5:30 pm but only if the temperature is above 60 degrees?
You are shooting yourself in the foot if you do this and 34% of other agents agree with me. Agents won't be able to get in there and buyers will lose many opportunities to even see your home. Some people will just give up and your house will get the reputation of being "too difficult to show." Trust me: you do NOT want that!
3. Cluttered Space - Unwilling to Depersonalize or Remove Clutter
Right behind Showing Availability is Cluttered Space at 34%. It's pretty simple here too. If you want your home to sell, clean the place up and remove all of the personal items. I know it sounds harsh, but watch any HGTV show about selling a home and they will tell you the EXACT same thing.
4. Unpleasant Odors in the House
If you have pets, you need to do something about the odor. Potential buyers will be more than turned off if it stinks. Don't do this to yourself. Have people who do not live in your home come and check it out. Spend some money and get a few scented candles or Glade plug-ins. Have bread or cookies in the oven to mask any odors. But, whatever you do, please don't let it linger!
5. Seller Unwilling to Make Repairs Prior to Listing
Sometimes you just have to fix that hole in the wall or risk turning off buyers. I know repairs can be a pain, but neglecting to do them or being unwilling to do them will cost you. At the very least, if you fail to make any repairs, you must be willing to offer buyers a credit to get the deal done.
6. Sellers Unwilling to Negotiate with Buyers
If you get an offer on your property, consider yourself lucky. Many sellers don't even receive one offer. So, you're in good company if you get at least one. If so, why make it difficult? Even if you are insulted by the initial offer, don't just walk away. Stand firm on the market-based price you and your agent agreed to and make a solid counter offer. Why hurt your chances of making the sale?
While the 6 reasons above are the top seller mistakes, agents also cited things like the home just being messy (clean up that laundry and trash) and sellers who like to play tour guide during showings (a big turnoff to most buyers). However, there were two other areas that stood out to me and these fall on the agent: bad MLS photos and choosing the wrong agent. If you have made one or more of the seller mistakes above -- and you had an agent who took bad pictures or you just didn't get along with him or her -- give me a call. Don't just list with anybody. List with somebody who will help you understand what to do and will get your home sold. Just give me a call at 215-504-2512 and let's get started!