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Preparing Your Home For Sale
03.11.2020

19 Seller Mistakes When Preparing Your Home For Sale

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When Preparing Your Home For Sale, it’s crucial for you to know the common (and not so common) mistakes that sellers make that often cost them money. Below is a detailed- but not exhaustive- list of seller mistakes as they prepare their home for the market.

 

1. Trying to “time” the market

This approach is not only frustrating, it’s also flawed. Read on here to see what you should do instead.

 

2. Not educating yourself on the condition of market

Market knowledge is crucial. When selling your home you need:

    • Up-to-the-minute stats on what has sold in the past 45-60 days.
    • Details about how they compared to your home.
    • The number of days they took to sell.
    • An understanding of what competition is on the market now and the current absorption rate.

Have an expert interpret these findings for you to understand how each detail will affect your selling decisions. Market knowledge is key to getting the most for your home in the shortest time.

 

3. Pricing your home too high

Often the Achilles heel for sellers, pricing your home too high is very tempting. This mistake deserves a post of its own. You can find it here.

 

4. Not investing in your home before you sell

When you decide the time is right to sell, it’s important to view your home as an investment. For most people, real estate is their largest asset. Choosing to put your home on the market “as is” with little or no preparation is likely leaving THOUSANDS of (possibly) tax-free dollars on the table. Although every situation is different, we’ve put together a list of tips for every room in the house. You can find it here.

 

5. Not completing necessary repairs

Buyers are “visual” shoppers, and those looking at homes that need work are looking for a deal. If it’s within your means, it’s wise to complete needed repairs before listing. It will help sell your home faster, for more money, and with fewer headaches.

 

6. Not knowing which repairs you should (and shouldn’t) do

Completing repairs doesn’t always mean taking on an extensive project, it can mean completing minor projects you’ve already started. Since renovations take time and money, It’s wise to get professional advice on which projects you should, and shouldn’t complete. We would be happy to do a walk-through of your home to give you our thoughts. For an excellent place to start, click here.

 

7. Not determining your penalty for breaking your mortgage prior to selling

This should be one of the first phone calls you make when you are thinking about selling. Check in with your lender – especially if it’s still early in the mortgage term. Ask them what penalties would apply if you were to break your mortgage. Since penalties can cost thousands of dollars, they will be an important part of your financial calculations. If the penalty is high, ask whether you have the option to port your loan to a new home.

 

8. Not decluttering and staging

Decluttering involves removing excess furniture and knickknacks. It’s one of the first, and most important, tasks when getting your home ready for the market. Buyers prefer open, spacious rooms, over cramped, cluttered spaces. Buyers cannot see the potential when we don’t remove clutter. When they leave, all they remember is how much “stuff” was in the house, not the home itself. Clutter will show up in all the pictures and marketing materials, and may even turn buyers off before they see it in person. Next is staging. Staging involves placing furniture and decor items attractively to create a feeling. Effective staging will highlight your home’s true potential and make a buyer WANT it. Staging costs money, but in most cases, it’s definitely worth it.

 

9. Not painting because the buyers will change it, anyway

We hear this objection often, but freshly painted homes are far more attractive to buyers and sell for more money. When we live in our homes, we often use colours WE like. Our colours may not be everyone’s “cup of tea,” though. Many buyers dread painting after the brutal process of moving. A home that’s freshly painted in neutral tones offers a tremendous advantage. Buyers know they can move in and worry about accenting the home to their taste later.

 

10. Not deep-cleaning the house before showing it

Cleanliness often registers in a buyer’s mind as a measure of how well maintained the home has been. Even a house that looks like an outdated “time-capsule” will impress potential buyers if it is spotless and pristine. Walls, windows, baseboards, floors, interior cupboards, nooks, crannies – the cleaner they are, the better the chances that buyers will perceive a higher value. This applies to the state of the exterior of the home, too. It is well worth your time to neaten up flower beds and power wash walls, decks, walkways, and driveways.

 

11. Not de-personalizing your home

Stagers say this all the time, but it bears repeating: Make it easy for buyers to see themselves at home in the space. This can be difficult if the decor is overly personalized. Think beyond family pictures, too.  Put away treasured religious items, personal mementos, children’s artwork, trophies, and collections. Paint all the walls a neutral colour and remove any mismatched or strictly sentimental pieces of furniture. Buyers want to feel like they have entered their new home. They are looking for a space where they can imagine a fresh start, not one where they are invaders into the personal sanctuary of the current owners.

 

12. Thinking spring is always the best time to sell

Do you remember the spring of 2017? If you were a home buyer or seller, you may never forget it. The market was HOT and it was set to be a busy season. That spring would be different, though. The government took preventative measures to cool what they felt was an overheated market. They implemented a “stress test” that shook the real estate market for the rest of 2017. Things did cool off, and quickly. The lesson is this: If the market is good, now is the best time to sell. Yes, spring markets traditionally perform well. But we can’t know for sure what next spring will be like. Spring of 2020 confirmed this truth with the unwelcome arrival of COVID-19. The entire globe has suffered from a pandemic – the effects of which are far more than simply economic. The real estate market, as you might expect, had not been quieter in the past 100 years. Thankfully, the market has recovered, but many sellers got caught in the middle and sold for less.

 

13. Not getting a pre-inspection

We believe pre-inspections are a great idea for a couple of reasons.

  1.  If the market is more balanced and buyers can have a home inspection of their own, a pre-inspection will alert you to many of the issues beforehand. Correcting them before your home goes on the market will prevent the buyer from asking for a price reduction after they discover a defect, or even from walking away from the deal.
  2. In a strong sellers’ market like we’re having, a pre-inspection encourages more buyers to submit firm offers for more money, since they are more comfortable with the condition of the home.

 

14. Not trusting your Realtor

This point assumes that you’ve picked your Realtor wisely. If you’ve decided to work with the Brandow Group, you’re in good hands 🙂 As a home seller, maybe this is your first time selling, and all your friends and family have lots of unsolicited advice to offer. Unfortunately, that advice, although well-intentioned, may be based on false or outdated information. You need information that reflects the pulse of the current market. An example of this could be proper pricing. Most people instinctively think that pricing higher is better so that you can negotiate down to a fair price. The current market, however, has shown that listing below market value, even just a little, allows buyers to bid for the home and is the best way to get top dollar. A seasoned, busy Realtor will know exactly what is and isn’t working in the field.

 

15. Not taking time to get a clear understanding of the costs associated with selling your home

When it comes to selling a home, most people tend to focus on commission. Although this is one of the larger expenses (or investments) to consider, there are others. Not having a clear picture could cause issues at the last minute, and no one wants that! Check out what we wrote about closing costs here.

 

16. Not leaving yourself enough time to prepare your home for the market.

A common saying is: “If it weren’t for the last second, nothing would get done.” It’s true, some people thrive under pressure, but for most people, that’s just stressful! This can be especially true with preparing your home for the market. We see it often: Despite the fact that plans to sell started many months prior, homeowners wait till just days before photo and video day to start prepping. Our suggestion is to do this: Once you’ve decided to move, determine what needs to be done and get started! We’ve created a downloadable PDF that can help you with this. We’d also be happy to visit in person to let you know what you should (and shouldn’t) focus on. You’ll thank yourself later!

 

17. Focusing on what other homes list for instead of what they sell for.

When listing your home, you need a complete (and clear) picture of what’s really happening in the market. You need a plan of action that will work best for your situation – one that will get you the best results. In our current market, listing slightly (or even well below) market value can yield incredible results. You might look at someone using this method in your area and think it’s a bad idea. Before coming to that conclusion- see what it sells for. Some properties in this market sell for less money than they should have by listing too high and missing out on prospective buyers that are shopping below their budget.  Read more about why properties are getting listed at low prices here.

 

18. Not understanding what you’re signing.

This market is moving at breakneck speeds, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. The danger in this is signing paperwork that you don’t understand. Click here to learn more about this!

 

19. Not focusing attention on the exterior of the home and landscaping.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

This statement is accurate in real estate. If your home does not have great curb appeal, it does not mean it will not sell, it simply means you may not get as much as you could by focusing some attention on the exterior. These do not need to be expensive upgrades. Depending on the time of year, it can mean some fresh paint, stain, flowers, and mulch. Enhancing your home’s curb appeal can have a tremendous impact on how much a buyer will pay for it.

 

 

Other Articles In This Series To Help Sellers:

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