When you’re trying to sell a house, even a small mistake can hurt your chances of selling it.
Especially in a buyer’s market like what we’ve had in the Detroit housing market over the last few years.
Today I’ll be sharing my opinion on some of the more common mistakes I’ve seen sellers make.
Keep in mind that most “investor” buyers don’t care about most of the stuff I’m going to share.
It’s usually the prospects that want to live in it themselves that this stuff tends to bother the most.
Get Rid of the Clutter!
Clutter makes the interior of the house look smaller than it really is.
On top of that, a lot of crap all over the place makes it harder to see what exactly needs to be fixed or updated, too.
And you don’t want to frustrate your prospect; you want things to go as smoothly for them as you can.
Give your house a good spring cleaning.
Yes, even if it’s November.
I know it sounds simple, but like I always say, a big part of the decision to buy a house is based on emotion.
And you want to do everything in your power to increase your chances of that prospective buyer having a positive emotion going through their minds while they’re looking at your house.
So clean the carpet, replace old or dirty light switch covers, throw a fresh coat of paint on the walls that could use it.
Nothing is worse than a house that smells like wet dogs.
Actually there is, and that’s when there’s muddy paw prints all over the floors in the house.
(I’m cringing as I type this.)
Anyways, even if your prospective buyer is an pet lover, clean up behind your pets before showing the house.
Better yet, get the pets out of the house completely, if you can.
You just never know what phobias or allergies a prospect might have.
Believe it or not, there are people that would be scared of your family cat.
And you don’t want a scared prospect trying to view your house.
Respect the First Offer
OK, as an investor, I know it looks like I’m biased on this one, but hear me out.
As a homeowner who’s trying to sell their house, it’s cool to wait around for a higher offer, I understand that.
But just don’t drag me along. That can be taken personally.
The last thing you want is to lose a buyer because they got impatient.
In fact, it’s been found that your first offer is quite often the best and highest offer you’ll get.
And I’m not the only one that feels this way. Google “first bid is usually the highest real estate” (or something like that), and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Get Rid of Personal Stuff
Unless they’re an investor, you want the prospect looking at your house to be able to picture themselves in it.
It may be hard for them to see themselves in your house if you have pictures of your family all over the place and a refrigerator door filled with magnets and your kid’s homework from kindergarten stuck to it.
You want to make a good impression from the first second that prospect sees your house.
That’s why “not” taking care of your landscaping is a big mistake.
Trim the hedges, mow the law, edge the lawn… You know, the basics.
If it’s spring or summertime, plant some flowers… preferably a couple big, potted flowers that sit right next to the entrance.
Those seem to make huge impressions for some reason.
Don’t Overprice the House
If you overprice your house, you’re putting yourself at risk of missing out on a lot of potential buyers.
Yes, some prospects will counter you with a more reasonable offer if your house is overpriced.
But what about the ones that you lose, that don’t even see your house’s listing?
MLS Listings Are Often Filtered by Price
What about the ones that have listings from the MLS filtered by price, and yours was outside of their range by just $5000, and therefore wasn’t on their listings page?
Make sure you get some good reliable and recent comps on houses like yours, so you can get a real idea of what you should set your asking price at.
Better yet, call two or three agents, and get feedback from them on what a good sales price would be.
Not Knowing What’s Wrong With the House
This is huge.
If you’re serious about selling your house, it’s really smart to get an inspection done.
That way, you can know yourself what needs to be done to the house.
Limit Unpleasant Surprises
If you fail to get the inspection done yourself, you can get blindsided by the repairs that the buyer’s inspector finds.
Your buyer’s purchase agreement probably allows them to back out if they don’t like what their inspection reveals.
You could go weeks thinking you have a buyer on the hook, only to suffer the disappointment of being back at square one again.
It’ll Be Used Against You
And on top of that, when a seller doesn’t “really” know what their house is worth, it sets them up for failure from a negotiations standpoint.
I’ve seen plenty of sellers lose their leverage when a buyer reveals something wrong with the house that didn’t know about.
I say that, because the buyer can justifiably use that as a reason to lower their offer.
What other common mistakes do you see people make when they’re trying to sell a house?
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