4 Common Mistakes That Keep You From Getting an Offer On Your Home
Seller and agent expectations are a bit crazy these days. If an offer is not received within the first few days, they often think something is wrong.
The reality is that not all homes sell in the first week and with multiple offers. In fact most don’t.
If your home’s been on the market awhile, or will be on the market soon, here are some all-too-common mistakes to avoid when selling your home. (I’ll skip the obvious like keeping the home clean, etc.)
1. Not making the home easy to show – Sellers often put unnecessary roadblocks in place that make the home difficult to show. I know when I go to show homes, if I have to make an appointment with the agent, or it’s only available on certain days and certain hours, I’m less likely to be able to show the home. When I work with relocating buyers, I’m often the one to choose what we see since they don’t know the area. Agents will skip your house if there are too many restrictions. You need traffic to get an offer. Try to make your home available as much as you can.
Solution: The best option to get the most traffic is to use a lockbox and schedule the showings with the owner. Otherwise you have to hope that your agent is free at the time the buyer wants to see the house. If not, you may lose the showing. I know using a lockbox or not having your agent present is not always a possibility, but if you can make it work, you’ll definitely increase your showings.
Fun Fact: When an agent uses the lockbox, their name and contact info is registered so if there’s ever a problem (which is extremely rare), we can always track them down.
2. Suffocating the buyer at the showing – Nothing makes buyers more uncomfortable than a hovering listing agent and/or seller. Having the agent or homeowner follow the buyer around makes them feel uncomfortable and less likely to really evaluate the home and get the emotional excitement needed to make an offer. You want the buyer to imagine what it would be like to live there. Once you start talking, you’ve now taken them out of that moment to focus on something that really doesn’t matter.
Solution: The best strategy is to let them take it all in and wander about feeling comfortable and with enough space to imagine themselves living there. Go for a walk or hang out in the backyard. Once they’ve had the chance to take in the house, then it can be helpful to mention a few highlights and answer some questions (preparing a feature sheet with the upgrades can be helpful too). But be careful not to oversell, as soon as a buyer feels they are being sold to, they immediately become uncomfortable and often tune out. I’ve seen it hundreds of times and I’ve had buyers tell me that hundreds of times.
3. Not doing the right marketing – I have news for you – open houses and print ads won’t sell your home. The reason agents do them is to attract buyers for other homes, not your home. Besides the MLS, the online portals (Realtor.com, Zillow, etc) are the best tools to attract buyers, especially from other areas. That’s where the buyers are. Newspaper ads, magazine ads and other forms of advertising are completely ineffective. In fact my office recently eliminated all print advertising as it is no longer effective. Online marketing is where it’s at. The more online tools you give them, the better off you’ll be.
Solution: High quality professional pictures are an absolute necessity. Drone photography and a 3D Tour are also great marketing tools for the right property. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from buyers since I started using those tools especially out of town buyers who want to get a sense of the layout. Don’t hire an agent who’s not willing to hire professionals. Your online marketing is an essential tool to finding the right buyer.
4. Putting out a negative vibe – Homes do have an energy to them and buyers and agents sense that. Homes that look neglected, are half vacant, or have an unfriendly seller give off a negative vibe. I worked with a seller once who just hated most real estate agents (no comment please), but he insisted on being at the showings. You could sense his disdain when you walked in the house. He acted like every showing was an inconvenience and he would literally become angry if the buyer didn’t want to make an offer. As you can imagine, the home never sold and the seller gave up.
Solution: First impression is key. The decision whether or not a buyer would even consider your home is made in the first 15 seconds they walk in your house. You want it to smell good, look good, and be bright and open. I wrote a blog here covering what improvements you should do and what you shouldn’t do when getting your home ready for sale.