The Top 5 Reasons Homes Don't Sell and How to Avoid Making Those Mistakes
As we go on through the third quarter of the year, historically in the Bay Area and Central Valley, the real estate market starts to pick up. Usually, the weather gets a little better and the excitement of school starting really kicks serious buyers into gear. So, if you want to sell your home or condo, it is important to make sure you are doing the "right" things, to ensure you sell your home quickly before winter starts.
Below, you'll find the top five reasons homes don't sell and how to avoid making those mistakes.
1. Limiting Accessibility for Showings - Sometimes when I meet with seller clients, they tell me "we want to only show our home on the weekends" or "our child naps between 1 and 3, so we don't want any showings during that time." While there can be extenuating circumstances that don't allow showings, if you have general restrictions on showings, many times a buyer will just "move on" if they can't see your house/condo, and not try to schedule their showing during a different time. For us, it's important that we don't lose that showing.
The answer: When possible, allow showings of your home/condo when buyers want to see it. We can set you up with an electronic lockbox, that can only be accessed by Realtors holding a special key. We also use a technology called Showing Suite, that streamlines the showing scheduling. This way you can ensure that you don't lose out on a showing and can schedule it around a time that works for both you and the buyer. How Showing Suite works is that a Realtor calls (or schedules on our website), a showing request. Showing Suite then contacts the seller to ensure that the day/time the Realtor has requested is "okay" with the seller. If the seller approves the showing request, Showing Suite notifies the Realtor to let him or her know that the showing has been approved.
Also, with Showing Suite, we can actually block out specific times that a seller doesn't want showings. So, we can restrict showings to "no showings after 8 p.m." or "no showings before 7 a.m." Restrictions like these are pretty easy to set up and also relatively commonly accepted. However, restrictions in the middle of the day or only allowing showings specific days of the week can really hamper your ability to accomplish your end goal of selling your home/condo.
2. Photos/Video - When talking to buyers, they tell me often, they get frustrated when searching online, and see either really 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.
iPhone or automatic camera photos aren't going to cut it here! When it comes to marketing one of your most expensive assets, professional Realtors are using tools like professional photography, twilight photography, drone photos/video, and 3D videos.
The answer: Whether you hire a professional Realtor, make sure you are marketing your home/condo with professional photos, drone shots, 3D Videos and area videos.
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 capture prospective buyers' interest, you've lost them!
The answer: Use professional photography to highlight the best three to five features of your home. Many times these are interior photos of the Kitchen and Master bathrooms. There is an old adage in real estate that "Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses", so make sure yours look amazing!
If it isn't your Kitchen or bathrooms that are the best parts of your house/condo, you better find some other feature/room, to "WOW" prospective buyers.
4. Price Bands - Years ago, when a buyer was searching for a new home/condo, they would visit a Realtor's office and look through a big book of paper property listings. They would say "I don't want to spend above X", where X was their maximum price. Now, 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 Y 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 $300,000 and $325,000.
Why is this important? If in the last example, you priced your home at $299,999, you'd miss the buyer that was looking in the price band of $300,000 to $325,000.
The answer: Proper price band placement is REALLY important when determining a list price for your property because you can miss a whole group of buyers, by missing a price band, by only one dollar! Consult with your Realtor to find out exactly which price band you need to be in and how the higher you go in price, price bands widen. (Price bands in the million-dollar range aren't $25,000. They could be $50,000 to $100,000, depending on the area.)
5. Not Properly Staging Before Photos/Video - When I meet my photographer at a listing for him to photograph, it is very common for us to move furniture or "hide" things from the camera view. We put items away that prospective 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 make an offer. So, if you have things that should be hidden from buyers, make sure you do that before photos. Easy examples of this could be items like toothbrushes in the bathroom, soap/shampoo/razors in the shower, dog bowls, personal photos, or valuables.
The answer: Take the time to put away anything you think might "turn off" prospective buyers or that you don't want them to see.