You’re trying to sell your home. You’re working with a Realtor, but it’s been on the market for months and no one even wants to come take a look at it. You’ve held open houses, you had all the inspections and clearances performed, and a professional stager even came in to make your home look like one a buyer would want to invest in – the stage is literally set. Even so, you feel like the Realtors in your area are ignoring your property and selling everything else around you.
Your agent has it listed on every online site that lists homes for sale, and you are getting views, but no one is calling. The marketing is there – your home is visible and ready, but it just won’t sell. There are three things that are going to directly contribute to getting your house sold, and they are entirely in your hands as the owner of the property. The easiest way for you to remember them is to remember the acronym PAC. (No, not as in Political Action Committee. As in “How I long to PACk up and move, let me count the ways…!”)
It stands for Price, Availability, and Condition.
The most important contributor to the sale of your property is going to be the amount you set as your sales price. Your Realtor will look on the market for properties that are comparable to yours which have sold in the last six months or so, and will likely give you a range of prices in which your property will likely sell, based on those comps.
Listen to your Realtor! I know you just spent $15K a year ago to have your driveway poured and stamped, even though the concrete that was previously there was still in good shape. I know you spent $10K having a separate deck built for your sauna so that you could access it directly from your bedroom. I know you had a pond dug because you like the sound of the frogs chirping in the evening. I know you’ve had the bathroom fixtures replaced with all-pink versions because it’s your absolute favorite color in the world. But many of these “improvements” are actually valueless when it comes to setting a price for your home. Consider the money you invested in projects that personalized your home as an investment in your enjoyment of the home while you lived there. The value represented by them in the ultimate valuation of your property is going to be nil or less than that – they may actually detract from the value of your home!
Listen to your Realtor! Your Realtor is not going to sell you short just to put another notch on his or her belt, your Realtor really wants to get you the best price possible on your home! But if you start tens or hundreds of thousands above what the market is indicating your house should sell for, your listing is going to get stale. And then the worst thing happens: people stop looking at it altogether!
So my last piece of advice on this aspect of selling your home is LISTEN TO YOUR REALTOR! Take their experienced opinion and advice regarding what the market value (ie. the price it will sell for) of your property is, and set the price accordingly. And if they tell you that you need to drop the price because your home isn’t selling after a couple or even several months, do it! If you actually get to a place that is below market value, you will likely have multiple offers come in that will end up competing to be the winning bid, and that will bring it back up to market value.
This part is easy. If you want to sell your home, you must make it available for buyers to check it out! Let your Realtor put a lockbox on the front gate, door, or nearby spigot. Let your Realtor put a sign out front to inform the neighborhood that it’s available for sale. Ask your Realtor to hold an open house or ten (unless your home is extremely rural, in which case you can expect your Realtor to sit there for hours without a soul tell his troubles to). Let buyers stop by with their (or your) agent on their whim. I know it sucks, but allow yourself to be inconvenienced for the sake of getting buyers in there to fall in love with the idea of owning this home. Realtors are charged with making sure that your belongings stay where they belong, that lights get turned off, and that doors are locked before they depart. But they don’t have a chance to do that if you only set a limited schedule of availability for showings. They can’t do that if the available appointment times don’t fit into their buyer’s schedules. And if they can’t get their buyers in to see your property right now today, chances are they are going to sell their buyers something else.
Oh, and another thing. When a Realtor brings a buyer over to look at your home, make yourself scarce. I don’t mean leave the room when they come in, I mean leave. Period. No one will openly discuss the pros and cons of this home over another if the owner is standing anywhere nearby. If you must know what happened when you weren’t there, install a nanny-cam and watch the footage after the showing is over. But when a potential buyer is being shown your home, you really need to go somewhere else. As most showings take a half an hour or less, it really isn’t much of an inconvenience in the long run.
If you have a professional stager come in and do their thing, they will advise you how best to maintain the look after they’ve gone. If you followed a set of guidelines for staging your own home (your Realtor can provide them to you), you’ll want to make sure that you go back over them at least once a week to make sure you are maintaining your home in show-ready condition. If you had inspections performed and work needs to be done, make sure to inform your Realtor when you schedule that work to be done, so that he can make alternate arrangements for showings at those times, and provide copies of the clearances once work is completed so that he can share those with potential buyers. Likewise, if work needs to be done and you plan on leaving it up to the buyer, you’ll need to take that into consideration when negotiating a less-than-asking offer price from a potential buyer. The main thing is to make sure that your home is tidy and as filled-with-light as possible for showings. And be willing to be flexible regarding the price if any aspect of your home’s condition is less than stellar.
So, in conclusion, the three main reasons your home is still sitting on the market are Price (it’s too high), Accessibility (you’re not making it available enough for prospective buyers to see), and Condition (clean it up, make it show-ready). Don’t just sit there lamenting the fact that you can’t find a buyer. Your buyer is out there – waiting for you to make their choice easy by making your home fit their expectations. Call your Realtor today and find out what they think you should do to make that happen!