Test the Market

Avoid the 16 reasons, why you home won’t sell!

When selling your home there are no guarantees that the ultimate buyer of your home will have simply walked through the front door. In many cases you may have to bring your home to the buyer. Effective marketing will help ensure that your property receives maximum exposure to attract a ready, willing and able buyer in the shortest period of time. Remember, traditional advertising methods such as newspapers, real estate magazines, flyers are not enough to attract home buyers. Today’s buyers are internet savvy, 81% use the internet to search for homes.

Obtaining some of the required inspections before you have a contract is a good idea. By working with your agent, you can have a home warranty, preliminary title report, home inspection, and, most importantly, a termite inspection done on your property before your home goes on the market. When prospective buyers look at your home, they can see exactly what work needs to be completed. This helps you get the best price for your home with far less hassle later in the transaction since everything is known and negotiated upfront. (***Best overall)

1. Failing to Prepare the Home for Sale.

Presentation is everything and never more so than when you’re going to put your home on the market. Giving your house”curb appeal” usually requires a small investment of time and money. Painting the front door, planting some flowers in the yard, de-cluttering tables and counter-tops, washing windows, fixing leaky faucets, painting the inside and making sure the whole house is sparkling clean are things that don’t cost much but have a big payoff. Keep in mind that buyers often can’t imagine what the property will look like when it’s spruced up so it’s up to you to put your home in mint condition. The payoff? You’ll be able to sell it for top dollar.

2. Panic selling.

In some instances, selling quickly is unavoidable. That is when it pays to know the right techniques to get your home to sell fast without looking desperate and making yourself a prime target for low-ball bidders. Sometimes, however, panic selling is a result of poor planning up front.

3. “Why look anywhere else, my home is the best” syndrome.

Devotion is wonderful, but blindness to your home’s flaws and cosmetic problems can make you overvalue your home, hurting its chances on the market. Sellers should look at their home from a buyers prospective. That is, what has to be done to improve the value and how much does it cost. Sometimes the seller becomes blind to the obvious and thinks that little things don’t mean that much in terms of dollars.

4. Letting emotions rule.

Sellers should not haggle and maybe lose a sale over a small amount of money that will not mean a thing to them in three years. It may be to the sellers advantage to consider offers from pre-qualified buyers for some type of buyer incentive.

5. Failure to disclose property flaws.

Sellers today are required to comply with property disclosure laws. Often it is not just what you know about what’s wrong with your home, but what you do not know that can hurt you. If you cover up flaws or ignore disclosure laws, you not only risk the sale of your home; you may find yourself in court. Even if the flaw was corrected, you still have to disclose the nature and the action taken to correct the flaw.

6. Unwillingness to make cosmetic improvements.

Many sellers will not lay down new carpet, repaint the purple bedroom or mow the lawn until after their first listing has expired. People need to prepare their homes quickly to make the best impression possible. Spending $1,500 on carpet might make you $5,000 at closing time. Get an objective point of view from your realtor who can provide you with a detailed list of things you can do to make your home more salable and explain the most important things a buyer looks for in a home. Also, ask your realtor for suggestions that might help you decide how much and where to make improvements to attract buyers attention.

7. Buying Another Home First.

Buying a new home before you sell the old one is a real financial gamble. Buying first can be risky because once you sign a contract with a seller, you are locked into paying a certain price no matter what you end up selling your home for. If your home sells for less than you anticipate (a real possibility), do you have the additional cash you’ll need to close the sale on the new house? And what if your current home doesn’t sell before you close escrow on the new house? If your down payment is coming from the equity in your present home, you might have to apply for a bridge loan in order to close escrow on the new home. Having more than one house payment can make it difficult to qualify for the loan on your new home.

8. Overpricing Your Home.

The value of your home is not determined by what you would like to get for it, what you paid for it, what you owe on it, or how much money you put into it. And it is not determined by your real estate agent or the appraiser. The value of your home is determined only by what a buyer is willing to pay for it in today’s market by comparing your home to others that have recently sold or are for sale. Make sure that your real estate agent prepares a competitive market analysis (CMA) and a comparative sales analysis (CSA) for you to help you price your home realistically. And, if your home doesn’t sell after a predetermined period of time, consider reducing the price. (*Best)

9. Limiting the home’s accessibility.

Buyers want to view a home when they want to view it. If your home is on the MLS, use a lockbox so the house can be shown when you’re not around. If your home is not on the MLS, give a spare key to your realtor so that the realtor can show your home. Above all, be flexible. “You never know, that showing you turned down could have been the one that sold your house”.

10. Failing to Consider Offering Special Terms.

Offering special incentives can make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Paying for an interest rate buy down, carrying back a second mortgage, or paying for a portion of the buyer’s closing costs all assist buyers financially.

11. Not Requiring the Buyer to be Pre-qualified.

One of the most common reasons real estate transactions fall apart is finding out 30 days into the deal that the buyer can’t qualify for a mortgage loan. When you get an offer on your property, the only way to control the situation is to stipulate in the contract that the buyer be pre-qualified or better, pre-approved by a lender.

12. Making the Sale of Your Home Contingent on Finding Another House.

Sellers don’t like contingent offers (where a clause is included in the contract stating that the purchase of one home is subject to the sale of another) and neither do buyers. One sure way to keep buyers away is to insist that it be sold contingent on you finding a new home. Instead, include a clause in the contract that allows you to live in the property until you find your next house. You rent the property back from the buyers and pay them a prorated, per diem cost. This way, you eliminate your risk and the buyers know the deal is firm.

13. Forgetting about health and safety issues

Be upfront and disclose to your Realtor any problems with the property. The problems are going to be discovered anyway. A decade ago, health and safety issues were rarely a part of the typical real estate transaction. Today, however, it’s common for inspections relating to health, safety, and even environmental concerns to be a part of most sales contracts. Moreover, in many states, the seller must disclosure to the buyer any knowledge of existing property problems. In many cases, these issues have been or can be factored into the home’s listing price.

14. Forgetting what you would want to see if you were the buyer of your home

Remember that although people can be different in personality, they tend to be the same when it comes to expectations at someone else’s expense. In other words, a prospective buyer would probably like to see a perfect home from top to bottom, inside and out, when it comes to your home. They want information on the neighborhood, crime rates, schools, shopping centers and transportation services.

15. Timing Problems.

In a fast market, sellers who sell before they’ve found something to buy may find themselves out on
the street, looking for an interim rental. While that solution means the hassle and expense of packing and moving twice, it beats owning two properties, and making monthly payments on two mortgages (and a possible bridge loan as well). While it’s not always possible for the timing to work out, you’ve got a better chance at buying and selling at the same time if you begin working both ends of the spectrum at once. When you interview prospective agents, look for new neighborhoods in which you might be happy. When you list your home, start working with an agent to find a new property. When you accept an offer, make an offer. With any luck, you’ll close on your new home on the same day as you close on your old one.

16. Not Making Your Last Mortgage Payment Before Closing.

Does your cash from closing seem less than you anticipated? If you didn’t pay your last mortgage bill, figuring you’d close on the property before it was due, that could be the cause of the discrepancy. Some sellers don’t realize they still have to make every mortgage payment on time even if they’ve signed a contract to sell their home. All of the closing numbers are predicated on your mortgage being paid up to date.