And how to make sure these common seller mistakes don’t stop you from selling!
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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 report, 5 Reasons Homes Don’t Sell in Sherman Oaks, you’ll discover the biggest mistake home sellers make, a proven marketing secret, how to “sweeten the deal” for buyers, what buyers don’t want to see in your home, the three key places 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.
A very common mistake that most sellers make is that they don’t have professional pictures taken of the home!
And most Realtors don’t take the time and energy to get decent pictures. They will show up with their point and shoot camera, take a few shots and call it good.
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 that this was taken from.
Heck, 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 their absolute best.
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. 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, and that’s because it works. If you want to convince someone to buy your home, offer them something that no one else is offering. Even it’s something that seems insignificant to you, it may be the closing deal for the buyer.
I cannot think of a better example of this than a home I had a listing on 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 give up. In fact, he had come very close to selling his house at one point, but the deal fell through.
Now getting people interested in his home was not the problem. People were looking at a lot of homes in his neighborhood, and his was one of the nicer ones in that particular neighborhood. This was the problem…
Yes, his house was nice, but so were a few other houses in that neighborhood. He was having a hard problem closing the deal on his house because it seemed like everyone would eventually turn their interest to one of these other homes.
I finally talked him into “sweetening 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 almost just a nice right down the street. So here’s what we did…
We had someone look at his house on a Monday morning, but they said they were also going to check out the other houses down the street when they left his house.
But before they moved on, I said, “I just want to give you something to consider. We will agree to pre-pay the entire first year of property taxes. Just think of it as a bonus.”
They were back on Tuesday and wanted to buy the house! All they needed was a little incentive to make his house stand from the other similar 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 even tell them you’d include free cleaning or lawn care for a year. The list goes on and on and the only thing stopping it is our creativity. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and ask yourself what kind of “deal” would you like to get when buying a home.
So, we’ve learned a few things about what buyers are looking for and what we can do to dramatically increase the chances of getting your home sold, but now let’s look at
What buyer’s do 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.
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 will also be a huge turn off to every potential buyer.
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” when showing a home.
The seller needs to be able to vision their new life in their home. Just as you are changing part of their life, so are they.
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 house with options.
Just as there are things that buyer’s don’t want to see, there are also the things that buyers do want to see. If your house is properly laid out for showing, your chances of selling are much higher. And I want to also state the obvious here. It’s ok to put your best foot forward. Your goal here is to get the buyers interested.
This method that I’m talking about is called “staging”. Staging is important because it can conceal the blemishes that may turn a buyer off. It also highlights the great features of your home.
Every problem that a potential buyer sees, you can guarantee that they will deduct its cost from their offering price. If they see too many problems, they will just pass on your home altogether. This is another reason why 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. If you don’t have new appliances, make the one’s that you have spotless. Make sure there’s not splattered spaghetti sauce, crumbs, or films of grease in their potential new home.
The clean method is the same for the bathroom.
Put away knickknacks and anything else that causes your house to have 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.
And keep in mind that most buyers will be interested in closet space, so just throwing your stuff into the closet may not be the best route go down. Find a place to store it that won’t affect the look of your home.
Get rid of the wallpaper. Yep, people stopped using wallpaper a long time ago, and it hasn’t come back. If you have wallpaper in your home, your best bet is to tear it down and paint the wall a neutral color.
And 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.
Put a lot of effort into the look of the exterior of the home. After all, this is the first impression that your buyer will get when they look at your home in person. Keep your lawn cut, weeds in control, hedges trimmed, and just overall maintained.
If you can, 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 places you want looking the absolute best on your home!
Buyers 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 living room is the second place you want looking the best. The main way to improve the look of the living room is the furniture.
I don’t know what it is but a lot of people seem to have way too much furniture in their home. This makes it seem like the room is actually smaller than it is and that’s bad.
If you’re going to put any money into staging any room of your home, do it in the living room.
The kitchen is probably the third most important place to make a great impression. You can invest in cheap expenses like changing the cabinet fronts, getting new lights and fixtures, new knobs and drawer pulls to make your kitchen look better.
You don’t want anything in your house to look like it’s from the 70’s. So anything you can do to touch it up and modernize it will go far in your presentation. And most of the modernization can be done at a pretty inexpensive price.
The biggest mistake that most home sellers make is that their home is priced too high.
Yes, I said it. Please don’t hate me. A lot of my clients don’t want to admit that they have their house priced too high.
And truthfully, 90% of the time, I am on their side about the price. I agree with them that their house is definitely worth what they are asking, but the fact of the matter is, we are in a buyer’s market with today’s economy, and there’s not a whole lot that you or I can do about that.
There was a young couple that hired a Realtor who listed their home for $250k. This price was about $10,000 higher than what the houses in the area were selling for, but because the Realtor thought there house would sell for an additional $10k, the young couple listened to him.
The house sat on the market for 6 months with a few inquiries here and there, but nothing serious. A year went by and the house was STILL on the market! The young couple eventually decided they needed a new Realtor. This new Realtor did drop the price, but only by $5,000. So the young couple's house is still being listed $5,000 above what the houses similar to them in the area are selling for.
A year and a half later, the couple and the Realtor, both very exhausted and weary, list the house at $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 is that if they Realtor would have just set the correct price in the first place, the house probably would have sold just as fast and for $30,000 more!
Listing a house above market value will almost always end badly for you. It's much better to actually start LOWER than market value because this gets buyers' attention. Once the attention has been gathered, you will get more than one buyer interested, and they will probably start a "bidding war".
Basically this means that they will each keep making offers until they may actually drive the price up to HIGHER than market value and then you can accept one of their offers!
Wherever there is a market, you can make customers. Lower the price of 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 vision their life 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 living room and the kitchen.
Keller Williams Realty
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.