Sunday, April 18, 2010

How not to sell a house~~

We've sold two and bought three - houses that is. When I was in college, my mom began to sell Real Estate during summer vacations and then after school while trying to decide what exactly I was going to do next - I did a lot of "showing" with her, watching her guide her sellers towards simple staging and then writing up those darned contracts. Years later, after buying this house, I worked as an office manager for the Broker who helped us get here - I drove him and the agent so "detail crazy" that he hired me after the deals were completed! So, I have a bit of experience in how to sell a home and get the top dollar - even in a market THIS bad. In this age of satellite and cable TV, there really is no excuse for anyone not knowing how not to sell a house....not to mention the internet.

I mean, look at the shows on HGTV - you've got "Designed to Sell" which is a great one that could teach anyone what not to do when you're trying to get what your house is worth - like, leave it filled with junk that covers the tables in every room.

I learned from my mom way back in those early days that when you're showing your home to potential buyers you remove every single thing that you don't have to have to live your daily life....minimalism is the operative word here. Both times David and I had houses on the market, we had five plates, five coffee mugs, five glasses, five bowls and one fry pan and one pot in our cupboards ; we lived without our toaster oven and blender and food processor for those days of marketing - everything else was boxed up and on shelving in the garage or stored at a relative's house temporarily. We had two towels out per person, one set of sheets per bed in the linen closet and one set on each bed.....most of the children's toys were boxed up and in the garage as well.....the family portrait wall was re-hung with one large print that I picked up for a few bucks at the dollar store...the hope chest and a couple other pieces of furniture were stored elsewhere....the house was "staged" with as little furniture, counter appliances, and personal junk as possible.

The goal of course is to allow the buyer to see their stuff in your house; to make it seem as if there is ample storage even if there really isn't and to stage each room to show its potential even when that is well, limited.....and gee, you're going to have to pack all of that stuff up anyway aren't you? So why not do it before you market the house....anything else is really just procrastination and certainly a deterrent to selling your home quickly and at the best possible price. How can you expect a buyer to overlook the tables loaded with junk? Unless that buyer is someone like me who can see beyond all of that to the hidden potential buried beneath your junk and your lack of maintenance? You can spend a Saturday watching HGTV and see that most buyers aren't like me......anyway.......

Even worse is when the job of packing up and moving things out is started but not completed before marketing - it makes the seller look desperate to unload the place and down goes the offer price..............and some agents won't show your house again if they don't like the state they find it in the first time.....

Cosmetic issues should be taken care of too - I mean come on - was this an old leak or a new one? It send alarm bells ringing in the buyers head and means a lower offer will be made if they decide to place one.... how much is a gallon of paint and a few hours of your time worth? Several thousand folks - several thousand. And if you know there's a leak issue that you haven't repaired - get an estimate and offer that amount as an allowance for goodness sake - buyers who know what an issue is going to cost usually will NOT lower their offer when there is an allowance already on the table. Letting your buyer see that leak evidence and not giving them a dollar figure to repair the problem is just asking for them to take you for a ride......

And then there's this issue - I mean COME think you're going to get the best price for your house when the buyers see this as they come up the driveway? They're immediately calculating the cost of replacement before they've entered the building....down goes that offer.....

Again, a new door is not that expensive when you think of the total picture your potential buyer is seeing as they calculate all the work that they would need to do to your house before they could even begin to make it theirs. Some buyers, like David and I, who were specifically looking for an old house to renovate and restore can over look the various issues - but we're going to drop our offer accordingly - you can take that to the bank....!

Selling your home "AS IS" is one thing - it sends a message to the potential buyer that you won't be nickled and dimed to death with minor repairs that come up in a home inspection AND that you won't be responsible for any structural issues AND that you've already factored in those to your asking price - when you know there's a roof issue - you offer an allowance for that issue - again you're sending a message that you know the value of your house and won't be accepting those low ball offers .... Ignore all of this and compound it by placing your home on the market with junk everywhere, with cosmetic issues that jump out at first glance and you've got no one to blame but yourself when those low ball offers start coming in fast and hard.

Lecture over~~

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