Don’t: misprice your home
One of the most common reasons a home doesn’t sell is because it’s been priced incorrectly. Your home gets the most attention in the first two weeks on the market, so it’s important to choose the right price from the start. Some sellers get this wrong by thinking that they’ll start high so they have room for price reductions. In reality what happens is they’ll start too high, wait two weeks and then reduce the price but by then all prospective buyers have ruled it out based on their budget. Without an experienced agent to explain this, a seller can very easily commit this common infraction.
Another important note on pricing your home to sell is that you should stick to even numbers, (i.e., list for $350,000 instead of $349,900). The reason being is that when buyers are setting up a search they usually filter by price and a buyer in the $350,000 to $400,000 range certainly isn’t going to search $349,900-$399,900; they search in even numbers. Research has proven this and it shows that homes with even list prices get 50% more traffic.
Do: deep clean
This seems like an obvious step and most sellers get this right but it’s important to know that it’s not just about shiny floors with a lemony fresh scent. A dirty home is a neglected home in the eyes of a buyer. If you skip this step and buyers see your home when it’s dirty, you’ve reduced the perceived value and condition of your home greatly. A common sentiment from buyers when walking through a dirty home goes something like this, “If they can’t even clean up when people are coming to see the house, what else have they neglected to take care of?” There’s nothing wrong with hiring a cleaning service to do a thorough cleaning of your home if you simply do not have the time or energy.
Don’t: fail to disclose material facts
A material fact is a fact that, if known, might have caused a buyer or seller to make a different decision with regards to remaining in contract or to the price paid or received.
This is important because it’s your chance as a seller to explain to a prospective buyer any updates, upgrades, repairs, replacements, alterations, issues, etc., that you’ve experienced in the home while you owned it. You’ll need to rely heavily on your licensed Realtor to guide you through this process but the rule of thumb is, when in doubt, disclose.
Most litigation post-sale stems from disclosure issues and let me tell you, it’s usually in favor of the buyer. So take the time to carefully fill out your disclosure statement and consult with your licensed Realtor with questions.
Paint over walls and your front door with a neutral color for a bright, clean, and new looking home. This by far is the easiest way to completely transform your home, but it’s something that buyers often don’t want to deal with. Increase the move-in readiness and perceived value of your home by hiring a professional to repaint over bold or non-neutral walls. Please note, this step should only be done yourself if you’re a very good painter – a bad paint job is much worse than no paint job at all.
Don’t: skip a pre-inspection
Although not necessary, this step is a way to make the entire home selling process easier and faster for all parties. When a buyer sees that a home has been pre-inspected and issues have already been resolved, they get a sense the sellers have taken great care in maintaining the condition of their home. This kind of buyer confidence bodes very well for the sale price of your home.
Knowing ahead of time what issues you will need to address can give you some time to save up and make those adjustments prior to listing your home. This makes the process less stressful for you and could potentially illuminate an offer with an Inspection Contingency, therefore shortening the time between offer and closing.
Do: make necessary repairs
Some repairs are obvious but others aren’t visible to the naked, untrained eye, so hiring a professional home inspector to conduct a pre-inspection prior to listing your home for sale will pay off in more ways than one. Finding out for yourself what needs repair or replacement will illuminate the shock some sellers feel when they receive an amendment from the buyers with only days to respond. Plus having a pre-inspected home with repairs already done makes for a very marketable and attractive listing to buyers.