It is the best season to sell, so why is my house not selling?
By Al Ricci
As a listing agent, my job is to get the highest price in the shortest time, so that sellers can move forward with their future plans.
Price: There is a delicate balance between underpricing and overpricing a home. Start with the comparable closed sales in the area. This will give you the basic information to establish a value, and it will be the same information that the bank will rely on when it orders an appraisal to confirm the value, as a condition of the loan. Closed sales are used to establish the market, while pending (in escrow) and active sales are an indication of the direction of the market. There can be adjustments to the value based on condition, location and size, but at the end of the day, neighboring properties that have sold within the last six months will guide the value.
Condition: If the home is dated (no upgrades or remodeling), a buyer will factor in the costs of bringing the home up to, at least, average condition. A buyer’s perception of the cost to remodel is usually quite a bit more than what the seller thinks it should be. Either price your home, considering upgrades/repairs, or discount the market value of the sales price, with improvements in mind.
Do not be present at showings: When your agent is showing the home, get out of the house. Buyers, out of respect, usually want you to like them and they will say complimentary things about your home, much like you do when your friends show pictures of pets or grandchildren. If the buyer is left alone with the agent, they will be more inclined to say what they do not like about the home. Your agent can then determine if those concerns can be addressed to make the deal. It could be as simple as worn carpet or offensive wallpaper, easily addressed and solved.
Clean and uncluttered: Most agents can evaluate the presentation of the home based upon too much stuff and offensive smells. Pets are sometimes the culprit, or maybe it’s the teenager’s locker room bedroom. Buyers’ sense of sight and smell form the immediate impression of the home. Simple carpet cleaning, clean kitchen and bathrooms, and clean windows make a huge difference. If the house is vacant, consider staging. If the rooms are crowded, they appear smaller; consider smaller furniture, or eliminating items.
Marketing your home: Your agent should be the local expert. All agents have access to the same information, but local agents can sell the neighborhood, have been in the homes that are on the market, and that have sold in the area. The local advantage includes knowledge of schools, churches, shopping and services. Many areas require specific knowledge of tax programs, equestrian rules, water rights and association rules. The agent should also present the home in a way to convince potential buyers they want to view it. Professional pictures, aerial photos, brochures, internet presence, signage, broker previews and open houses are something to consider while interviewing agents. Most importantly, the agent should be responsive to requests to show the home to prospective buyers or cooperating agents.
Listing your home on the MLS is the best way to reach the maximum amount of potential buyers. Don’t be too quick to accept the first offer, or accept an offer before the property has been exposed to the market.
Oftentimes, a few thousand dollars in repairs upfront will yield a much higher sales price. Your agent has a team of resources to help you sell your home for the best price.