It’s no secret that home sellers are under a lot of stress. It’s a tougher market, home prices have fallen a lot, and many are trying to get as much money as possible to recoup their investment. As Realtors, we understand and we’re on your side. But sometimes, sellers do things that make it harder to sell a home for what it’s worth.
Here are five things sellers do that make their real estate agents cross their fingers, and hope for the best.
1. Sellers who think their property is unique and therefore worth more money. A seller’s home is special to them; they’ve put a lot of heart, soul, and money into fixing it up. It may be where they started a family or built a lifetime of memories. Most agents get that, but buyers will not.
When a seller believes their home is unique, however, they also believe it’s worth more and can remain attached an asking price that’s too high, despite the advice of their agent. If it’s priced too high, a home will sit on the market for months. Unfortunately, nine out of 10 times, the seller will end up selling for less money than they would have gotten if the home was priced appropriately from the start. Remember, the first two weeks of marketing time are the very best to attract a buyer. Being overpriced at the start may not be the best strategy.
Also, when a seller expects that wealthy person is going to fall in love with their home and pay way over market value, they are fooling themselves. There is usually a reason why a buyer is well-healed and it probably isn’t because they are quick to pay over market value for anything.
2. The seller doesn’t clean up the home. Sellers: It’s important to pick up the home before a showing. Potential buyers touring a home probably won’t appreciate stepping on a child’s toy or fail to see the charm of a dog’s discarded tennis ball. Buyers want to feel that a home is clean and well maintained. If it’s not, they’ll likely move on to the next.
3. Sellers who want to be present during an open house. There’s a reason why real estate agents don’t want sellers hanging around when potential buyers arrive. While a seller may be perfectly friendly and agreeable, they can alienate buyers or make them feel uncomfortable without even knowing it. It makes it difficult for the agent to get a feel for how the buyers feel about the property, as they are wary of making comments when the homeowner is present.
4. Sellers who hold out for extra money at the last minute. Say a buyer made an offer that was $20,000 less than what the seller wants. The listing agent and the buyer’s agent have gone back and forth with a series of counter offers. The seller is only about $4,000 from their dream price but they insist on trying to squeeze another $2,000 out of the buyer.
During the inspection or closing, the buyer may find a reason to ask for that $2,000 or more back in credits anyway. In demanding more money, the seller may have created bad will, as well as stressed those involved in the purchase. When it comes down to it, extracting that last $2,000 may actually cost the seller more at the end of the transaction.
5. Sellers who don’t clean the home before turning over the keys. Sellers should imagine themselves as the future buyer. Would they want to walk into their new home and find 12 cans of old paint in the garage? Or an old piece of furniture that the seller didn’t want to be bothered with removing? Leave your home as you would like it left if you were the buyer. They’ll appreciate it and so will the agent. And besides, it’s good karma.