In a buyers’ market, selling your home can be a frustrating lesson, especially if you make costly mistakes that can slow your sales opportunities.
According to an article by Zillow, about 36 percent of homes nationwide sold for a loss in January. As spring rolls in and buyers head out to shop for their perfect home, they’re doing so with a critical eye because of the many choices due to excessive inventory.
If you avoid common seller mistakes, you can save yourself time and money. Let’s take a look at a few of these problem areas.
Sole-focused, comp-based pricing. Yes, recent sales count. Studying and understanding the comps in your area will give you an idea about how much buyers were willing to pay for homes in your neighborhood in the recent months, but relying strictly on the comps is a mistake.
Take a close look at the homes that are currently listed for sale. How does your home stack up? What are the benefits of buying your home compared to the others on the market? What makes your home stand out? Are you conveying this information to buyers?
When you do review the comps, see if you can notice any particular benefit listed for the sold homes that may have attracted buyers and ultimately caused the sale to close at a higher price. The typical advantages include: good schools, neighborhood parks, walking distance to retail stores, close access to freeways, quiet neighborhood, bright rooms, open floor plans, and new appliances. Now, take a look at your home from that buyer’s perspective and search for a few more unique features worth noting.
List your improvements and upgrades. If you’ve put in a tankless water heater for instance, be sure to mention it. While only so much can appear on the Multiple Listing Service, if you have plenty of additions to your home make a bullet-style list, print it out, make copies, and leave it for open house guests. This additional sheet will help buyers remember specific details about your property and it will help your home stand out from the dozens of others that they might be viewing.
Listing home for sale based on what you paid. Do you sell a car based on what you paid for it originally? Not typically. Yes, I understand cars depreciate but when it comes to real estate, many people, until recent years, had been trained to think that homes only appreciate. Well, houses most certainly can build equity, but there’s been a sharp lesson about how they can lose value too. Getting what you paid or more for or a home depends on many factors, including when you purchased it, current market conditions, economic factors, length of ownership, improvements, and how much time you have to sell.
Listing your home based on how much is still owed can cause a seller to list the home for too high of a price. This can quickly result in a painful cycle of price reductions signaling to buyers that there’s plenty of room to negotiate on price. In the last month, 23 percent of homes listed on Zillow had price reductions.
Not making curb appeal into web appeal is another mistake. Curb appeal is the art of making your home appeal to buyers from the moment they first see your home. Some sellers think of this in terms of making their home appealing when buyers come to an open house or drive by it. But these days, curb appeal must transfer to web appeal, too.
That means that any and all pictures of your home should create web appeal -- an instant attraction -- drawing the buyer into your home for an in-person look. If your photos or videos are not properly composed with pleasant lighting and free of clutter and distractions, they won’t appeal to buyers browsing the web. With so many of the searches for homes originating online, it’s worth it to invest in the best photos you can of your home. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words ... and a video of your home can be worth even more if it convinces the buyer to get in the car and make the drive to see the “real” thing!