Advice from a Realtor who Works Primarily with Buyers:
“I’ve seen sellers do good and not so good things to sell their property. I’m sharing some of the most common, in hopes that it helps you sell more quickly.”
- Clean everything – floors, walls, ceilings, stairs, windows, furniture, appliances, fireplaces, etc. Bring in a professional company to do a deep cleaning and remove pet/smoke/cooking smells prior to showing your home. Spend extra on window cleaning because even old windows look newer when clean.
- Remove clutter – put away unneeded small appliances, keepsakes, collections, etc. – aim to display useful spaces of your home with simple elegance or chic comfort. Rent short-term storage space to store packed boxes until the move.
- Remove dead or dying plants – replace with fresh plants and/or flowers.
- Replace outdated or heavy window shades, blinds, curtains, valences, etc. – let the light in or manage the light with sophistication. At least ensure that all window dressings are clean.
- Keep your home seasonably warm or cool – highlight your HVAC and home insulation efficiencies.
- Replace old or damaged front door locks – make the first thing used easy to use.
- Show off the best features of your home with great lighting – leave lights on for showings, replace spent lightbulbs.
- Clean up the yard and front entry – mow lawn, trim greenery, remove weeds.
- Replace or service heating, cooling, electrical, plumbing systems – or be prepared to do so upon request after the home inspection. New systems or units can be highlighted when marketing your home.
- Freshly paint exterior/interior – or repair holes and dings, and use touch up paint or stain.
The Not So Good: – The opposite of “the good” plus…
- Making showings difficult to schedule – buyer’s agent can show 10 or more houses in a day and buyers may be coming in from out of town. If you restrict times available, they may skip your house. If you’re rude about it to the buyer’s agent when they call, this is a warning flag that you may be difficult during negotiations.
- Same price after more than 3 months on market – if you’re not listening to your listing agent on the need for a price drop, you’re likely going to be difficult during negotiations. We’re pretty sure you’re blaming your listing agent for lack of marketing, but we know you’re not listening to what the buyer market is telling you – your price is too high. Or you’re in no rush or need to sell, so presenting a comparable market offer will likely be a waste of time.
- Leave your pets out without warning the buyer’s agent – we must love pets to be real estate agents, but our buyers may not love pets or may have allergies.
- Leave your pet doody undone – one of my clients stepped on feline poop when reviewing utility systems in a basement, and I often have to warn clients to step around canine bombs when walking through yards.
- Lie, withhold or stretch the truth on your seller’s disclosure – everything will come out through inspection, title search. Also, good buyer agents know how to spot basic potential issues… if you say you’ve never had water in basement and there is evidence of water in the basement, what else are you hiding?
- Emotional response to purchase offer – we know you may not be happy with less than asking price, but don’t take it personally, review the entire offer (e.g. lower price but earlier closing date), and present a counter-offer. If you refuse to counter-offer, then you’ll never know what the buyer was willing to come up to.
- Emotional response to inspection repair requests – if you failed to maintain basic systems/code related items or if you simply did not know of issues, it is not the inspector or buyer’s fault for pointing it out. Ask your listing agent what’s reasonable for your response. Your attorney can advise, but will do whatever you ask within legal reason. If you insist on maintaining control and having the last say in what you will or will not repair, your buyer may walk away.
- Leave your house or yard a mess prior to closing. If you think everything is done and you can leave a mess, or you rushed out during the move and forgot to clean, or movers caused damage and you fail to mention it… think again. We do a final walkthrough either the night before or morning of closing. Although the buyer may be as anxious to close as you are, you may be required to give credit towards cleaning, repair or lawn mowing services, which will almost certainly delay closing.