In today's real estate market, a small oversight can keep your home from selling, even if you have it priced at the right level. During the recession, tens of thousands of homeowners that wanted to sell put off listing their properties because property values sunk so low. Now, with prices returning to healthier levels, many of those same homeowners are listing, causing a glut of inventory in many markets around the nation. This means that there's more competition for Americans who are looking, Making matters even worse, demand for properties has not recovered to the extent that home values have, so there's less people looking and more homes on the market vying for their attention.
So how do you sell your home quickly under these conditions? Most experts agree that there are five common issues that cause listings to stay on the market longer than they should. Understanding these issues before listing a property can help homeowners avoid them and unload their property as quickly as possible in the market it's located in. Below is a list of these common issues and advice for avoiding or addressing them.
The biggest reason homes don't sell is the price tag. Many homes are simply overpriced and buyers won't even take a look. The best way to avoid this mistake is with research. Look into some comparable homes and check what they're selling for. Consult a local agent and get all the comparable sales for the past year. Consider pricing your home just under the asking price for other homes on the market in your area. Of course, market conditions may be such that you can't sell your home for as much as you paid for it. In that case, you can either wait for conditions to improve before listing your property, or take the loss and hope to make it up on your next home.
Another common mistake homeowners make is in renovations. Updating appliances, paint jobs and other remodeling efforts can increase the amount you will get for your home, but you have to be aware of what people are shopping for. A common mistake is spending thousands of dollars on a swimming pool, then expecting to recoup the costs in the sale. That's because only about 20 percent of home shoppers covet a pool when looking for a home, so the other 80 percent will feel like they're paying too much for a home with a new pool. If you're looking to spruce up your home with some renovations before selling, experts recommend focusing on kitchens and bathrooms.
Another issue to address before trying to sell your home is lighting. Some sellers spend thousands of dollars painting walls, replacing paneling or renovating other factors, but forget to address the lighting in the updated rooms. If a shopper can't see the improvements, they won't have any chance of influencing his decision to buy or not. When showing your home, make sure to turn lights on all over the house, open windows or open curtains so people can see clearly. If needed, switch to higher-wattage bulbs or even replace fixtures to ensure an open, airy and inviting home.
Another mistake many sellers make is leaving too much of their personality evident in their home. Nearly all homes are decked out with art, furniture and other items that make it feel like home to its owner, but shoppers may not have the same tastes or interests. A pool table in the study, for example, is a perfect enhancement for a recent college grad, but an elderly couple may see it and make assumptions about the neighborhood and not want to live there. Most experts agree that the key to a quick sale is making your home as neutral as possible. If your walls are painted exotic colors, paint them an off-white or similar non-threatening color to appeal to the broadest number of shoppers possible.
Finally, cover up your home's weak points before showing it or holding an open house. You won't get a second chance to make a first impression, so leave the bad stuff to be discovered later, if possible. This can include covering an old sofa with a slip cover, using a rug to cover a water stain on a hardwood floor or even using window treatments to hide an unsightly AC unit. These blemishes and faults will be discovered later, when inspections and negotiations happen, so hiding these faults to get a shopper's interest is not considered unethical. Sellers can also increase their chances of selling by highlighting a home's positives. This can include landscaping to increase curb appeal, or decorating your kitchen to make it look more homey. If the home is empty, consider hiring a staging company or renting furniture to stage the home. Even though you're selling the home unfurnished, giving shoppers an idea of how it might look with their stuff increases appeal.