We live in a world of information. Home sellers can benefit from a limitless supply of tips, tricks and how-to advice. What often gets overlooked is information about how not to sell your home. The value of learning from other people’s mistakes is tremendous.
Whether you’re still weighing your options, or are already busy with the process of selling your California home, you can up your chances for a successful home sale by knowing what not to do. Here are 4 mistakes you don’t want to make:
#1. Not Preparing The Home
First impressions are everything. No list of hot tips for home sellers is complete without a nod to things like curb appeal, a freshly painted front door, or the importance of natural lighting. These are good ideas but they’re often overstated.
It’s more important to focus on the condition of your home rather than its appeal. The tendency is to take things too far. Don’t waste time fretting over color schemes when all the front door needs is a touch-up job. The mailbox doesn’t have to be outstanding, but it does need be standing.
Weeds aren’t welcoming. Unpleasant odors (or artificial odors attempting to hide them) are uninviting. Anything that doesn’t work, isn’t clean, or appears uncared for is a turnoff to buyers. If you continue living in the home during the selling process, arrange for pets and kids to be out of the way during showings. Offering refreshments to visitors is great. Just make sure you do a walk-through before and after they leave. Drinks spill and crumbs collect. If you’re not meticulous about showcasing the home at its best, every time, you’re making a costly mistake.
#2. Selling Your House Instead of Their Future Home
Once you’ve made the decision to sell, you have to let go of the home. In other words, stop considering it yours and start treating it as an asset. It’s not always easy, especially if you’ve lived there for many years. Experiences and memories made under one roof are hard to detach from- but you have to.
Home buyers are not interested in your personal taste in decor or your family photos lining the stairwell. Decluttering and depersonalizing isn’t good advice; it’s de rigueur. Your goal is to create a blank canvas, not a cozy home. Have a professional, or anyone who isn’t family, make a sweep of your home to ensure you didn’t overlook anything. A neutral space is important, not only for showings but for listing photos as well.
#3. Not negotiating
Most home sellers are prepared to negotiate. They’ve done their market research, considered their agent’s advice and determined a price they feel confident about. Then they sit back and wait.
Real estate is a competitive landscape. Waiting for the right buyer is a mistake. If nobody’s calling, the worst thing you can do is nothing. The first thing you should do is get honest about your asking price. 90% of inexperienced sellers ask for too much from the start and then refuse to budge. If buyers aren’t biting, you have to take action. Underpricing may be a feasible strategy to capture interest, generate leads and hopefully generate more bids to drive the price higher.
Are there certain issues you anticipate buyers wanting to negotiate about? You don’t have to mention the water damage 10 years ago. You do have to address anything that came up in the home inspection. It’s up to you whether to repair or fix things or adjust the price to account for it. Getting defensive and refusing to negotiate is a big mistake. Remember when you were shopping for your dream home? Would you make an offer on a home in obvious need of a new roof? No. So why would they?
#4. Not having a backup plan
Avoiding every mistake ever made in the history of house selling does not guarantee a fast, profitable sale. Perhaps the biggest mistake is assuming your home will sell at all.
What will you do if it doesn’t sell? Maybe you’ve already found another place to live; but how long can you afford paying two mortgages? Be practical and have a backup plan for even the most unimaginable situations. Even the unlikely ones. Homelessness is real.
You may want to insert clauses in your contract stating your intent to sell only if you’re able to purchase a new home for yourself. If there are multiple offers on the table, get ready to accept backup offers that bind the sale to a second buyer if the first one backs out.
Not every sale has to happen in the traditional buyers market. If you have a California home to sell, get in touch with us at Home Helpers Group to discuss your options. We help homeowners like you close fast.