There are some key components of listing a property for sale that can be hard to hear for many sellers. These are the top 10 sad but true facts about selling real estate.
1. Selling a home is inconvenient
If you mentally prepare for the actuality of preparation, showings, feedback, negotiation, and inspections, your home selling process will be a lot easier to handle. Your life will be interrupted by showings. Your belongings will not be where you've always kept them. Your cleaning schedule will need to be doubled or tripled. Anticipate being inconvenienced regularly during the process of selling your home. Selling "by owner" will multiply this inconvenience times at least one million.
2. Smelly homes sell for less money
Pets, smoking, and cooking spices are the most frequently noticed smells during showings. You may not even know that your home has a distinct odor, but the buyers will notice. The smoke smell is the worst amongst buyers because they will assume that the smoke has absorbed right into the walls, floor coverings, and other surfaces. Leading up to the sale of the home, smoke outside. You may also want to eat bland food to let some of your delicious food preferences become undetectable to sensitive sniffers. As far as your pet, keep them clean and replace any carpeting or fabrics that have been damaged at all by pet accidents. In general, have the entire home professionally cleaned. Have the carpets and other fabrics either professionally cleaned or replaced.
3. Repairs left undone will cost you more money than the repair itself
Repairs that you've been "meaning to get around to" will be a lot less expensive to complete if you do it before you list your home. If a necessary repair becomes evident to a buyer, they will wonder what else could be wrong and assume that the home hasn't been maintained properly. They will pad the actual cost of the repair or ask for a little more of a reduction just to cover anything else that they're concerned will pop up. It will cause unnecessary "feelings" about the sale, and additional negotiations in what would be an otherwise smooth sale. Fix it!
4. Trying to hide a defect will come back to haunt you
Along the same lines as the home repairs, trying to avoid disclosing any information about a known defect is a bad idea. You never want to get a call from an attorney, but especially not while you're living in your beautiful new home after successfully selling your old one for a great price. So you thought you would pretend not to know about that pesky structural issue, well now you're being sued and you're not going to win. Be honest. The truth will set you free!
5. Overpricing your home will help sell your neighbor's home
Buyers who are qualified to buy a home will search the price range up to that amount. For some perfectly qualified buyers, your home won't even appear in their search. For others looking in the higher price range, your home will be compared to others that are bigger, newer, more this, and better that. The buyers in that price range will not submit an offer on the "worst" house in the price range when they can get a better one for the same price. Let's be honest, you wouldn't.
6. Being present at showings will hurt you
Some sellers do their best to arrange to be home during showings. This is a no-no, and will go one of two ways. Either the buyers will provide zero feedback to avoid offending you the homeowner, or they will grill you on why you're moving and other details looking for a reason to offer less money. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in the home, not picture you standing in your underwear cooking breakfast in it. In most cases, you should remain completely anonymous.
7. Cooperation goes a long way
Don't fight the buyer tooth and nail about every detail. They will immediately withdraw to put on their boxing gloves and everyone loses. Figure out what is really important to you and then be prepared to let go of the rest of the nonsense. Ultimately, you want the house to be purchased so you can move on with your wonderful life. A little give and take will typically result in the most desirable outcome.
8. Slow communication jeopardizes home sales
Real estate sales require time-sensitive information exchanges. It is critical for you to have a sense of urgency when contacted by your agent for information, paperwork, or updates. Ignoring requests for answers to questions that a prospective buyer may have, or a delayed return of signatures on contracts can indicate a future difficult transaction and send a buyer packing. Be available, prompt, and act like you actually care about whether or not your home sells.
Sometimes the truth hurts. You have to be able to accept the truth and handle it accordingly. It's nothing personal, it's just business. Now let's get your house sold!