11 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home in South Florida
During the first quarter of the year, the real estate market is in full steam in great part due to our flawless weather. It's the time of the year when "snowbirds" migrate south to escape the snow and this year has been extremely busy due to the recent tax code changes and the "polar vortex".
So, if you want to sell your home or condo, it is important to make sure you are doing the "right" things, to ensure success.
Below, you'll find the top eleven reasons homes don't sell and how to avoid making those mistakes.
1. Limiting Accessibility for Showings
If you have general restrictions on showings, many times a buyer will just "move on" if they are not able to see your house/condo and will not try to schedule their showing at a different time. We use a technology called ShowingTime that streamlines the showing scheduling and feedback after showing process.
The answer: When possible, allow showings of your home/condo, when buyers want to see it.
When talking to buyers, they often tell us, they get frustrated when searching online, and see either bad, or very few photos of a property they might be interested in. With nearly all buyers beginning their home search online, if you have bad or few photos, they can skip right over your listing. When it comes to marketing we use tools like: High resolution professional photography, property websites, drone photos, floorplans and video to capture the attention of potential buyers.
The answer: Make sure you are marketing your home/condo with professional photos and video.
3. Photo Order
Another important thing to note with photos is the order in which they appear on your listing. The average buyer looks at the first three photos, before deciding to see additional photos, or to just move on to the next property listing. So, if your first three photos don't do enough to pique prospective buyers' interest, you've lost them!
The answer: Use professional photography to highlight the best three to five rooms/features. Many times, these are interior photos of the Kitchen and Master bathrooms. There is an adage in real estate that "Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses", so make sure yours are looking amazing!
4. Price Bands
Buyers start their search on the internet and search price bands. What is a price band? It can also be known as a price range. Nearly all real estate websites have a search method that allows you to search properties between X and X price. With those search fields, most of the time they are pre-populated with even numbers, or buyers are just conditioned to search even numbers. Meaning, they might search between $500,000 and $599,000. Why is this important? If in the last example, you priced your home at $499,000, you'd miss the buyer that was looking in the price band of $500,000 to $599,000.
The answer: Proper price band placement is important when determining a list price for your property, You can miss a whole group of buyers by missing a price band by only one dollar!
Consult with us to find out exactly which price band you need to be in and how the higher you go in price, price bands widen.
5. Not Properly Staging Before Photos/Video
When we meet the photographers at a listing, it is very common for us to move furniture or remove things from the camera view. We put items away that perspective buyers don't want to see in photos. Remember, these photos are really your first impression, to hopefully get a buyer to make a visit to your home, and them make an offer.
The answer: Minimalism is key.
6. Hiring a Family Member or Friend To Sell
Sometimes this can be a great thing, if your family member or friend is an experienced, full time, professional Realtor. However, if you know are only having them represent you, to do them a favor, you usually aren't doing yourself any favors. Realtors that work full time at their profession bring a different skill set to representing you more than someone only handles one or two transactions a year.
The answer: Choose your Realtor by asking them about their experience, their years in the business, and most importantly, how they plan on marketing your home or condo.
7. Hiring a "Limited Service" Broker
There are some real estate agents that will charge a nominal fee, to get you set up with a listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This type of broker usually has one to two prices, for the services they offer. But with those services, it typically will cover just putting the listing in the MLS. As a home seller, you are then responsible (usually) for your own photographs, description, and any additional marketing on your house. This can save you some money if you are great at marketing to your target home buyer audience, versed in real estate contracts, an expert negotiator, and generally are comfortable representing yourself in the sale of your house. However, if you fall short on any of those last qualities, you will most likely leave money on the table (if the house/condo ends up selling).
The answer: Hire a professional Realtor, to represent you, market for you, negotiate for you, and handle the myriad of details involved in selling (and closing) one of your most important assets.
8. Looking at a Home through "Seller's Eyes" not "Buyer's Eyes"
When you are living in your house, there is a certain way you live in it, that might not be the best way to have the house/condo shown to prospective buyers. For example, you might have knives, a mixer, coffee maker, cutting board, and/or a toaster oven sitting on the Kitchen counter. You probably use a lot of those items daily, while living in your home. However a buyer wants to feel like there is a lot of counter space in their Kitchen, to prepare their own meals. By you having all of that on the counters, it can be hard for them to picture how much counter space is there.
The answer: Have your Realtor walk through the house with you as a prospective buyer. Have them point out items that might make it hard for them to picture themselves living in your house. Make a list of those items and correct them.
9. Selling For Sale By Owner
Sometimes sellers decide to test the market by attempting to sell FSBO. There are websites that cater to this and allow you to list your house for a small fee. By doing this and maybe putting up a sign in the yard or holding an open house, you are limiting the exposure of your house. You aren't putting your house in front of a huge pool of buyers; buyers represented by professional Realtors.
The answer: Talk to a professional Realtor before trying to sell on your own. They are experts in marketing, negotiations, pricing, and all the small details that go into successfully selling and closing homes. They do all this daily, so are far more qualified.
10. Your Home is Outdated
Unless you are trying to appeal to investor buyers, this can be one of the most common reasons we see homes not selling. Years ago, buyers were willing to put some money and "sweat equity" into a home they purchased. But now nearly every buyer we represent or that we talk to on the search for home, want to be able to buy their new home and move right in. They don't want to have to remove wallpaper after moving in. They don't want to have to replace/update appliances.
The answer: You have two options here. Either update your home/condo, to appeal to a wider range of buyers OR discount your asking price to allow a new buyer to make the updates.
11. The Price is too High
This is a common reason that homes/condos fail to sell. Often when we meet with clients that are wanting to sell, they tell me "let's start at this higher price and if it doesn't sell, we'll drop the price." This can be a huge mistake. If you are priced too high, you can turn off buyers that think you are priced too high and they don't want to insult you with a lower offer.
The answer: Talk to a professional Realtor about pricing and all the aspects involved with it. You'll want to discuss comparable sales in your area, updates or no updates to your home, and absorption rates.