There’s nothing worse than…
…running around the house, cleaning before a showing, leaving just before dinner time, killing your evening… and then you never hear anything back from the people who were just in your house.
You’re not alone in that experience.
What kills the deal and are instant non-starters for home buyers?
Your home needs too many repairs
Damaged siding, old windows, and stained carpets can drive any home buyer away. To you, they’re the only things wrong with the house, but to the home buyer, they could just be the beginning. For a buyer to buy a home, they have to feel as if they are making a good investment.
Take out any reason for the home buyer to think your home is a money pit.
Your home is too much compared to recent comps
People have a habit of getting in their own heads. We come up with a number, and strive to make the number manifest any which way we can, but sometimes dreams and reality don’t mesh.
The price you want to receive for your home may not be supported by the market’s prices. Take a look at recently sold homes like yours that are nearby. If they are $20,000 below your asking price, that doesn’t necessarily mean the home buyers got away with murder. It might mean you’re expecting too much.
You’re not staging it well
You’re not going to sell your home with a blanket of a wolf howling acting as a window curtain. Nor will you sell it with dirty dishes and trash piled up in the kitchen.
We all have lives we lead and you can’t be perfect all of the time…BUT, when you’re selling your home, you need to make it as easy as possible for other people to visualize themselves living in your home. Do this by taking out the trash, cleaning up, and making the home inviting.
Your real estate agent isn’t marketing it properly
One of the few times you get to say ‘It’s not me, it’s you’ without feeling bad. Sometimes real estate agents just don’t know what they’re doing. They know how to talk and sound convincing, but when it comes to actual intelligent marketing, they’re out of their lane. Unfortunately, if your real estate agent doesn’t know how to sell a home, it’s not going to work itself out.
If this is the case, talk to him or her about actionable items and establish a timeline for when those things need to happen. Be up front. Say you will find a new real estate agent as soon as the contract is up.
The things you should do before you ever list your home for sell
Do your research on the current market
Is the housing market over saturated? Are homes in your neighborhood sitting, or are they selling after only a few weeks? This is quick and easy research. Go to Zillow or Realtor and look for homes that are for sale near you. See how long they have been listed, and if any have had any offers that have fallen through.
Next, look at recently sold homes. If you see a lot of homes that have sold near you, great. If you don’t, it’s not the end of the world, but know the selling process might take longer than you thought.
Find an agent or realtor that you like working with
You’re going to have to do some research on which realtor you want to represent you and your house.
Questions you should ask include:
- What do you know about my neighborhood?
- How many sales have you made this year?
- How many sales did you make last year?
- What listing price do you think my house should be listed at and why?
- What do you think I should do to get my house ready?
- What is your preferred method of communication?
- What are the best times to reach you?
- How long do you take to respond to communications?
- What do you envision the lowest selling point to be?
- Do you require a minimum contract? If so, how long before I can work with a new realtor? (Be prepared, no one likes this question.)
Update and renovate your home
Take a detailed look at the interior and exterior of your home and make a list of items that need updates or repairs. Some items on your list will be obvious, such as patching up a damaged wall, repainting your front door or replacing a dated light fixture. Other items are less obvious, such as damaged rain gutters, loose shower heads and faucets, sticking drawers, and stains.
The good news is, there are plenty of easy, budget-friendly home updates you can do yourself. Of course, you could always say that the home is being sold as is, but if you haven’t practiced regular upkeep on your home since you bought it, the selling price will likely take a hit.
If you can afford to freshen up your home a bit, do it. It will make selling your home a lot easier.
And of course… CLEAN!
Have you ever looked at house pictures on Zillow or Realtor.com and seen stained carpets or bathrooms? You don’t want to be that seller. Take a hard look at your home and think not only about what potential buyers will notice when they first walk in, but also what they’ll notice when they take a closer look.
As much as you would like to think people are only going to see what’s great about your home, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The things that are dirty or haven’t been kept up with, such as moldy showers or stained carpet, can stand out enough to turn a potential buyer away immediately. Do yourself a favor and deep clean your home before it hits the market, and keep it that way until it’s sold.
The best homes in buyer’s minds are the ones that are kept up.
If your home clearly shows it’s had some TLC, there’s a good chance you’ll sell it and be on to your next home in no time!
The basics that go a long way towards selling your home
Home buying can be hard, especially if every house looks like it needs thousands of dollars’ worth of updates.
Here’s a few tips on eliminating those potential hurdles for your buyers.
Replace your old and worn cabinet hardware
Perhaps the easiest and most overlooked way to spruce up a kitchen or a bathroom is to replace the knobs. Go from a faded white knob to something fresh and modern. This simple and cheap update can change your mind about needing a complete kitchen makeover.
Put up some fresh paint
It’s so obvious it doesn’t need mentioning, and yet it does. Many people are too quick to accept their surroundings as the way they are. A faded wall that’s isn’t dirty or doesn’t have any scuffs is easy to overlook. But throw in a splash of color and you can quickly rejuvenate a faded ‘meh’ room. It takes time, but the results are worth it. Just ask any realtor.
Replace your dated and beat up kitchen sink
Honestly, this renovation idea isn’t as hard as it sounds. Watch a Youtube video about replacing sinks and you’ll quickly realize you don’t need a professional to do it (but you will need to set aside an evening for the work). We recommend ordering a new sink online to find the best deal (deep white farm sinks are all the rage right now). Just be sure to measure first!
Quick tip: Buy at least two tubes of waterproof kitchen and bath caulk (the kind that dries clear). This way you won’t have to make two trips to the hardware store to finish the job right. Also, replacing your sink is a great time to also replace your faucet, which is very easy, too!
Replace your lighting fixtures
Can you close a bread bag with a twist tie? Can you use a screwdriver? If the answer is yes to both of these, you can change your home’s fixed lighting.
Nervous? That just means you have a healthy fear of electricity (which is absolutely necessary). Before you start replacing any fixed lighting, remember to turn off the main breaker at your circuit panel to cut off power to your whole house (and if you have a whole house generator, turn that off, too, so the power doesn’t kick back). For extra safety, flick off the light switch before you cut the power.
Lay down fresh peel-and-stick tile
OK, this one can be a pain, but it’s cheap and easy. Do it in conjunction with lighting and the whole room will feel as if it just got an HGTV makeover. To find out how much tile you need, multiply the length of the room by the width to get the square footage. When you’re ready to lay down the first tile, make sure you find the center of the room and start from there. Don’t know how? A quick Google search can help.
Another tip is to invest in a good vinyl tile cutter because you will need to make lots of cuts no matter how square your room is. There’s no better way to destroy a good pair of scissors than to use them on vinyl flooring.
And, then there’s your general maintenance.
Commonly and best done in the fall, but any time of year these tips can go a long way.
Recaulk around your windows
Older windows can be responsible for most of your home’s heat loss, which can severely eat into your wallet. To combat it, make sure that the caulking is still holding strong come fall.
Replace bad shingles
Roofs get dangerously hot in the summer, making them even more dangerous to repair or walk on. Decrease the danger meter a little bit by waiting until September or October.
Clean your chimney
If the wood you burn isn’t completely dry, creosote will build up in your chimney, and enough build-up can catch on fire. Cleaning it before winter is, therefore, essential to home safety.
Fertilize, water, and aerate your lawn
Fall isn’t the time to take a break from lawn care. In fact, the best lawns are perfected in the off-season. As you’re raking up leaves, be sure to give your grass the love it needs to be green come spring.
Trim close-by trees
Fall is prime hurricane season for a lot of the U.S., making home protection a top priority for many Americans. As soon as fall arrives, clip any growth or close-by that may be too close to your house.
Organize your shed
Wrap up your hoses and store your summer toys so the Jack Frost doesn’t destroy them.
There may be more than one reason why your home has a hard time selling.
It could be a multitude of reasons. If this is the case, you may need to ask yourself if it’s the right time to list.
You definitely don’t want to lose money when you sell your home if you can avoid it!
Do the math. See if you can afford to fix what needs to be fixed, and whether selling at a lower price would be a financially wise decision.
If the math checks out, keep chugging!
The right buyer may be just around the corner.