In the market of exasperated and exhausted home sellers, I hear a lot of great stories about why homes are not selling. They usually divide into two categories: the real estate agents not doing their jobs or the sellers are uncooperative.
Either type of story leads to the same place: how are you marketing and showing the home?
There are very few reasons why your home doesn’t sell. There is no mystery here. There are bad agents and uncooperative sellers, and both can change when they realize that this is not brain surgery. There are only two variables: the price and how well the house shows.
First of all, and at the top of the list, be realistic about the price. This is a common sticking point between agents and sellers and almost always the reason for trouble. If you insist on getting more than what the market is willing to give, you are not serious about selling, but wasting time.
You must take into consideration the issues with the location, condition and layout of the home. Don’t ignore it and don’t dance around it. Buyers know what they are looking at.
Also, home sellers sometimes hire the agent who gave the highest price in the presentation, as if this is a bidding war. This creates a situation where agents are often uncomfortable saying what they really think the house will sell for, and inflating the price knowing they will later ask for a price reduction.
Stupid. Don’t do that. Whoever brings you the highest price should be questioned about why this price is the best and how they intend to get it.
Next comes the reality about how well the home shows. Inexperienced agents are often shy (as I was in my early days), about telling homeowners their homes look awful. There are better ways to say it, but a good agent gives you a long to-do list or insists on a staging professional.
If you are serious about selling your home, it should be professionally cleaned, sparkling and smelling perfectly for every single showing. Clutter and personal belongings, (anything but furniture and a few chachkies), will get in the way of the showing.
When buyers come in, they need to see themselves in this home and be excited about it. When you leave your computer on, your mail all over the place, your clothes on door hangers, your wet towel, toothbrush and one dirty dish, buyers feel like they are invading. It’s like walking into a hotel room to find someone else’s stuff. Ech.
A bad agent doesn’t tell you the truth about the house, but instead sugar coats it to the point of misunderstanding. It is not our job to fall in love with your home! It is our job as real estate agents to tell you what you have to do to get the house sold.
Home sellers will mistake good advice for rudeness and agents make a mistake of being shy of saying what needs to be said. Instead of making tough decisions, everyone blames the economy and the weather for a home sitting on the market forever.
If any other home in your area has sold, especially if it was in your price range, their is a market for your home. Just don’t tell me a story about why the economy has not sold the house.
Ruth Lerner is a Senior Sale Associate with Dwell360 a residential real estate firm based in Boston and Newton Massachusetts. Ruth as a part of Dwell360 services the cities and suburbs of metro Boston. Contact Ruth at Ruth@Dwell360.com or 617-807-0471