Despite the abundance of information that’s out there about selling a home — along with numerous TV shows highlighting everything from flipping, renovating, buying and selling — many sellers still maintain a lot of old-school beliefs when it comes to putting their property on the market.
Don’t be one of them.
These beliefs can lead to a long and difficult process. When reality doesn’t meet expectations, the property might not sell as a result. So if you want to sell your home painlessly and quickly, here are four outdated beliefs you need to do away with.
1. “If I price it high, they will still come!”
Despite the emphasis on pricing correctly the first time, you may still subscribe to the idea that you can price a property as high as you want, and buyers will come to see it. After all, you can always reduce the price later, and a buyer can still make an offer, right?
Unfortunately, this theory rarely plays out as you would expect. The home usually sits with little showing traffic, and the feedback is that it’s overpriced. When this happens, you might be tempted to come up with a million other reasons as to why the home is not getting the attention it deserves from the marketing, property descriptions, photos, video, where it turns up on consumer search sites, etc.
The reality is, when you price a home too high, the buyers that are looking in the same price range as the home can afford more and usually want something else. You risk eliminating the very buyers the home would be an ideal fit for.
The price also sends a signal to potential buyers and agents as to what kind of seller you are — realistic or unrealistic, flexible or difficult. Savvy agents are quite astute at reading the tea leaves and can often decipher a situation based on the pricing.
2. “Open houses bring ready, willing and able buyers!”
Before the proliferation of the internet, open houses were heavily relied upon as a marketing tool to generate potential buyers. COVID-19 aside, buyers are more aware than ever of properties for sale as a result of listings syndicating from the MLS® (Multiple Listing Service) to several hundred websites. Their phones chime with the latest market activity on properties.
Although buyers have attended open houses during pre-pandemic times and may be venturing out in those markets that are actually hosting them, the reality is that most open houses tend to bring out more curiosity seekers and neighbours than buyers who are ready to buy now.
Some of this may depend on the market you’re located in. In some cases, buyers coming through may have an agent, but don’t want to share too much information with the hosting agent as to who they are or what their status is. They may want to browse in person in “stealth” mode and then arrange a private showing with their own agent.
That’s not to say that open houses (in person or virtual) don’t have their place in an overall marketing strategy. They do. However, if you’re selling, you should not heavily rely on them to generate a buyer when your home is not selling.
There is such a thing as too many open houses. We’ve all seen ones that are open weekend after weekend. Everyone grows numb to them. They start to hypothesize on why the home is not selling and think the seller might be desperate. So, they end up focusing on more recent properties for sale.
3. “Why do I need to substantially improve my home before putting it on the market? It is what it is!”
Ah, the great debate over what to fix, change and improve before putting a home on the market. The agent’s recommendations can seem endless. Maybe you believe you shouldn’t have to do those things or not nearly to the level of what your agent is suggesting.
After all, a buyer is going to come in and do what they want anyway. “Why do I need to give them new appliances and countertops in the kitchen or even new flooring?” you think. “Repairs? What repairs? Everything in this house works just fine — why should I have to try to figure out what’s wrong with it? Isn’t that the inspector’s job?”
Where to begin! As a seller, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If you start off in the market on the wrong foot, you’ll have a very difficult time capturing buyers who would’ve been interested in your home had you done the necessary prep recommended by your agent.
Failing to properly prepare your home for sale may communicate the message that your home isn’t maintained and is in need of a lot of repairs. It makes the buyer wonder what else may be seriously wrong that they can’t see.
In short, it might look like a money pit, and it will cause buyers to eliminate it or make a low offer. Even if the improvements or repairs are not costly, a couple of thousand dollars — or even a few hundred dollars — spent could net a much stronger offer price because you can’t assume buyers and their agents have a realistic grasp of the costs involved to fix up the house.
Oftentimes, armchair estimates can be overinflated for things like painting and repairs such as caulking, grouting or replacing a carpet. A deep cleaning also goes a long way to inspiring buyer confidence. A clean space sends the message that the home has been taken care of.
Maybe you believe you can always tackle prep-for-sale things if they become an issue after the house is on the market. It doesn’t quite work like that. By the time your home has hit the market, it’s already been replicated across numerous websites, and a host of marketing activities (print, digital, 3D videos, in-person and virtual open house events) are well underway.
Interest and attention is always at its peak when a property first hits the market. Therefore, a poor first impression will not generate the excitement and motivation for buyers to run over to see your house and make an offer.
Often, you end up chasing the market by doing what should’ve been done in the first place. Your agent then has to run interference with repromoting the listing, which could involve new photos, marketing and exposure with the hopes that people will reconsider if they eliminated it the first time, or attract some new attention.
After doing prep-for-sale work, many sellers think they can raise their asking price because they simply repaired or replaced things that needed to be done in the first place. Again, it does not work like that. The market won’t pay more for maintenance, but it will result in better showings and the likelihood of strong offers.
To ensure a successful outcome, talk to an experienced REALTOR® about the realities of selling a home in today’s climate
Next week we’ll talk about four more outdated beliefs that sellers need to let go of.