3 Ways Sellers Sabotage Their Sales
The current real estate climate here in Burbank, Studio City, Hollywood Hills and Toluca Lake (in fact, all of Southern California) has changed considerably, as we all know. The market has picked up in the last few months, and it almost feels just like the sellers' market a short time ago. These days, there are fewer qualified buyers and lower house prices. Somehow, though, many sellers have just not gotten the message, no matter how loudly it has been broadcast. If youre a seller, here's what not to do.
1. Price your home according to what you "need" to get in proceeds
Many times Ive heard, "If we price it that low, we wont have the money to buy a new house." Or, "We need to get X amount of dollars because; well, we just need to." What a seller needs to get and what a home is worth in any market are two different things. I'd love for you to make a fortune off your sale and retire, but that's probably not going to happen in this market, and you need to price your home according to your local market now. Yes, prices have declined from their peak, and it is more difficult for buyers to get loans today. To price your house correctly, look at comparable sales. "Comps" are those sales closest in time (no more than three months' old is ideal), closest in size/amenities, and closest in distance. Then, listen to advice from broker caravans and also see how many showings youre getting. The less showings means the more over-priced you are. The sooner you adjust your price to reflect the market, the more likely you are to get maximum proceeds. The longer you wait to appropriately price your home, the less likely you are to realize profits in either a good OR declining market. If you owe more on the house than it's worth, you may need to consider a "short sale."
2. Assume that the Condition of your Home Doesnt Matter.
It is tempting to think that buyers will see past your home's defects, which are likely very minor. Nope. They can't and they won't. Buyers these days are very educated. They are watching the fix-up shows on HGTV, visiting model homes, going to open houses, and looking at beautiful interior shots on the internet. You are competing with other homes on the market, so please do what you can to make your home show really well, starting with the outside. I am not asking for a remodel, just garden, clean, clear, paint, contemporize and repair if necessary. See my showing tips page for ideas. I will have a professional photographer take photos of your home so it shows well online; I may also suggest that you pay for staging. I know that you don't want to spend the money, but trust me; it's worth it and will bring you a higher offer sooner.
3. Refuse to Work with Offers.
As a seller, you may receive offers that you think are too low. Don't get mad. You are probably right; it is too low. But I have heard several rationales for not working with an offer: "We havent been on the market long enough," and "Those buyers dont realize how nice this house is," etc., etc. If the buyers didn't really like your home, they wouldnt have put in an offer in the first place; and these days, they have plenty of choices. They, too, want a good deal, and are probably willing to negotiate. And in the current market, there are not many qualified buyers out there. So please do not be dismissive about offers in a declining market. Youll never know what that offer can work into unless you submit a counter offer, or two, or five. You are rightfully proud of your home and the work that you have put into it, but please try to not let your pride get in the way of a negotiation that may go much better than you initially think it will. Work with every offer that comes your way. You need to get in the game so you can win.