If you’re a seller courting buyers, here are 3 faux-pas to avoid
1. Hanging out when buyers are viewing your home
Buyers stalk properties online and off, checking obsessively for price reductions and the like. But buyer-side home stalking is unobtrusive to sellers. On the other hand, buyers can feel personally stalked and stifled in their ability to fully explore or verbally process their impressions of a home when you, seller, hang out inside your home while it’s being shown.
As soon as a buyer sees you in the house, it instantly becomes much more difficult for them to:
a) Envision themselves living there (it’s your house, after all),
b) Be comfortable opening up drawers, closet doors, etc., and
c) Express their thoughts about how this house might be exactly what they’re looking for, if they can knock out that wall and get rid of those cuckoo murals you so lovingly painted in your children’s rooms.
Sellers: If you want to sell your home, it’s best to not be around when buyers are looking. Give them some breathing space and a chance to truly walk around and consider what they like and/or dislike about your home without lurking and looming (and, let’s be real – eavesdropping) nearby.
2. Showing a messy house
Life gets hectic, and it’s easy for things like laundry, dishes and other house cleaning tasks to fall by the wayside. It’s also difficult to keep the home in which you and your 4 kids, 3 gerbils and 2 Labrador Retrievers live perfectly spotless for months at a time, while you’re waiting for an offer. But when you decide that you’re going to sell your home, it’s imperative that you make a pact and a plan with yourself and your family that the place will be in tip-top shape when buyers come knocking.
Remember: your home is competing with dozens of others, as well as with buyer’s HGTV-infused visions of what their next home should look like, so first impressions really count.
Sellers: Stuffing the closet is not the answer. (Buyers will be opening that closet door, after all.) Pack up your personals like you were moving (best case: you are), and put all but the essentials in storage, if needed. Get the carpets cleaned, do the dishes, make the beds, mow the lawn, dust, sweep and mop. Ask your agent to give you a gut check on whether your idea of clean is clean enough (better yet – ask them for the number of a house cleaner who you can engage to get the job done to showable standards).
This might all seem obvious, but agents and buyers alike are constantly amazed at the condition of some of the homes they walk into. Take my word for it; I’ll spare you the ‘ewww’-inducing stories.
3. Overpricing your home
Buyers already have lots to do before making the largest purchase of their lives. They have to wrangle their finances into order, jump hoops to qualify for a loan, collect the cash for down payment and closing costs, and invest sometimes hundreds of hours into market research and house hunting. With all of this already on their plates, the prospect of trying to negotiate down a crazily high asking price is just too much work (and too outside their comfort zones) for most buyers to deal with. The average buyer won’t even bother looking at your home if the asking price is clearly high and off base compared with other similar, nearby homes for sale; they’d rather sit tight and wait.
Sellers: Price to sell from the beginning. Work with your agent to determine a price that is supported by the data on how much nearby homes have recently sold for. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and anguish and get a lot more legitimate bites from serious, qualified buyers.