Here are 6 common home selling mistakes that make buyers cringe at the thought of your home, and action steps you can take to prevent your home from being an offender:
1. Giving a tour of your home
It is true that no one knows your home as well as you do. You think you are helping when you point out the wagon-wheel light fixture you made with your own two hands or the way the sounds of happy schoolchildren running across the front yard of your corner lot to get to the school in the next block lifts your spirits. This is a classic home selling mistake! The buyer doesn’t need to see you in the house. They need to see themselves living there. They need space to dream and discuss, to visualize and plan. And they need some personal space to talk privately amongst themselves about changes they would make. In my experience the more nitpicky and detailed their change list, the more serious they are about considering making an offer.
What’s a Seller to do? Back off. Let your home be shown vacant, or leave the house when people come to see it. If you need to be there, at least walk outside or go sit at the coffee shop down the way while prospective buyers view your home. If the buyers have questions, their people will contact your people.
2. Shabby, dirty, crowded and/or smelly houses.
You already know this is a home selling mistake. Yet, buyers constantly marvel. The buyers who come to see your home are making the decision whether to choose your home for the biggest purchase they’ve ever made. They are afraid this is the peak of the market and that prices might tumble at any moment. Your job is to get your home noticed, favorably and to soothe their fears of “overpaying”.
What’s a Seller to do? Make sure your home is in tip-top shape. Pre-pack your place, get rid of as many of your personal collections and photos as possible. Put away the daily clutter – clean up the breakfast dishes, put away the laundry and get the kids to tidy up shoes, backpacks, sports equipment, and school projects. Clean the air, too! Ix-nay on the fried stuff, fish, curry dishes or kimchee. Be militant about the litter box and take the dog to the pet wash if he smells like he rolled in dead squirrel.
3. Overconfident pricing (i.e. your price is too high)
This home selling mistake is unique to our strong seller’s market. Avoid the temptation of pricing your home too high “because there are no other homes on the market”. Buyers are scared that we are at the peak of the market and poised for a correction. They want to be “future proof” and to be sure they can afford this home for the next 10 years. When they see a home whose seller is clearly clueless about their home’s value and has priced it sky-high, most often they won’t bother even looking at it. If they love it, they’ll wait for it to sit on the market for a while, hoping the market will “educate you” into desperation, priming the pump for a later, lowball offer.
What’s a Seller to do? Get real. Take look at the other properties that are for sale in your area and price range. If your home has much less curb appeal or space or is much less upgraded than the house across the way, don’t list it at the same price and expect it to sell. Don’t test an obviously too-high price because today’s buyers are very sophisticated.
4. Misleading the buyer
Here’s the deal. You will never trick someone into buying your home. Photoshopping a green lawn, a sexy sunset sky or virtual staging raises the buyer’s hackles as they wonder what else is a lie. Playing music to drown out the traffic noise or only allowing showings during the school’s summer break will come back to bite you. If the buyer feels misled they will wonder about everything else.
What’s a Seller to do? Buyers expect sellers to be upfront and honest – so be both. Go out of your way to give buyers an accurate picture of their home’s condition with pre-inspection reports and detailed disclosures. You might not lead with this, but an experienced agent knows the exact right time to fully inform while motivating the buyer to make their best offer. Avoid the Tinder effect, if your home is like a short bald fat guy, either get honest about that in photos and ad copy or change your home into something swipe-worthy.
**pro-tip** A short, fat, bald guy can have other desirable traits! An experienced agent can highlight the best bits of your home and attract the right buyer.
5. New, ugly home improvements.
HGTV has ruined the buyer for forever and it’s a big turn off if a recently remodeled home isn’t HGTV ready. If the carpets are new but your favorite shade of blue, or the kitchen sports brand new pink tile countertops with a backsplash made of tiles with kitties on them, your buyer just might turn tail and flee. No one wants to pay for remodeling they will need to rip back out.
What’s a Seller to do? An experienced listing agent can make a huge difference before you make those pre-sale improvements! We can help you prioritize your projects or tell you what you can eliminate. Many times we can steer you away from a big ticket project in favor of a smaller and more profitable one. We also help you do the work of selecting neutral finishes that will work for your ideal buyer pool.
**pro-tip** Smart sellers avoid this home selling mistake by identifying their listing agent months before they list the home for sale. They consult with that agent to ensure that every dollar spent is on a high-value project.
6. CRAZY listing photos (or no photos at all).
Bad property photos have become something of a sport in the real estate universe. Google “Bad MLS Photos” and you’ll get over seven million results! There are photos of dirty, messy kitchens, rooms filled with astonishing personal collections (one was filled with hundreds of Victorian dolls), dark photos, blurry photos and photos with accidental people and pets in them. Photobombing is not a cool thing in your home’s marketing. A new trend is to have a ridiculous number of photos. No one can take 82 interesting pictures of an 800 sf condo. And then there is the listing with no pictures at all. Buyers will click right past that home and they will never go back – not even after the agent gets around to posting their bad cell phone snaps.
What’s a Seller to do? You have 7 seconds to stop the buyer from clicking to the next home – if your home doesn’t sizzle they will click to the next and never come back. Check your home’s listing and make sure that the pics represent your home well. Photography is critical in today’s internet age. Also, check the order of your photos!! If the first dozen shots are different angles of your front door you are in trouble.
**pro-tip** Make sure your agent works with skilled professional architectural photographers. A guy with a DSLR camera might not have the skills and equipment to light properly or bring out details like the view out the window. A gal skilled at shooting people may not understand how to arrange furniture and accessories for that HGTV look.
You would never unwittingly make any of these home selling mistakes if DIGGS was your skilled listing agent! Find out what it is like to Sell With DIGGS or just give us a call.