Top 4 Ways Not To Sell Your Home

Posted on August 27, 2012 | by Denny Oh

Everyday, I look on the MLS to see what new listings there are, what’s come back on the market, price changes, etc.  I also set up custom searches for my clients (and myself) to notify them (and me) of new listings that might fit their needs.  You’d be surprised at how often I see agents (and sellers) doing a terrible job at getting their home sold.  If you’re thinking about selling, please read this before you pick an agent and before you list the property.

1. Terrible, or No PIctures

If your agent posts a new listing with no pictures, only a few pictures, or really bad pictures, you’ve immediately lost 92% of the potential buyers for your home (ok…I made up that statistic, but I’m pretty sure it’s accurate).  You see, when an agent is looking for homes to show their clients, they enter the the number of bedrooms, square footage, price, location, etc.  and then a list of homes come up – depending on the client/market, there can easily be 50-150 listings that come up.  From there, your agent has to filter through them one by one to further qualify them and see if they’ll work for you (this is why it pays to have an agent who knows the market – they can filter through things much faster/better and not waste your time).

If there are no/few/bad pictures, this typically means there’s something wrong with the property and/or there are tenants who aren’t very cooperative.  Either way, it’s not a good thing.  Most agents will skip right over these and move on to the next listing.  People are very visual and want to see pictures.  Make sure your agent gets PROFESSIONAL pictures taken…not cheap pictures on their iPhone or anything else.  It’s worth the money.

Here are a few examples of what I mean….

A picture of the floor.  $785,000 list price

A picture of the view and wet window.  $745,000-849,000 list price.  

A picture of the pool/palm trees.  $699,000 list price.

View of the pool and city.  $2,150,000 list price.

View of the living room/floor/view.  $2,495,000 list price.

And here are a few pictures I had taken for some of MY LISTINGS:

View of the kitchen.  $799,000 list price.

View of the living room.  $425,000 list price.

View of the bar in a building.  $165,000 list price.

View of the…view.  $4,250/mo rental.

Use a professional photographer.  

2. Don’t Show your Home

Too often, people list their homes but don’t allow people to see it.  Sometimes it’s because there are tenants who won’t allow it, sometimes there are repairs being made, sometimes the owners won’t show it.  Whatever the reason, it’s usually better to wait to list the home unti you can actually show it to interest buyers.  I know this is shocking, but people who want to buy something, usually want to see it.  So in order to maximize interest and offers, get the house ready for showings, get some great pictures and then list it.  Or, just list it and say “shown with accepted offer only” and see how that goes.  And if you’re going to lease out your house, make sure you address the possibility of selling it in the lease.  Spell it out CLEARLY and it will save you (and your agent) a lot of stress down the line.

3. Don’t Return Phone Calls, Emails or Text Messages

Having been a realtor for over 8 eight years, I know agents can get busy.  There are days where I don’t eat lunch until 4pm and I have 200 new emails.  It happens.  I get it.  However, in my opinion, there’s almost never a reason why an agent shouldn’t respond to someone by the next day.  A simple “I saw your email and I’ll respond as soon as I can,” or “I’ll get back to you” will prevent the agent(s) from sending you more email, more texts and leaving you more voicemails.  Clients hate not getting updates, so we as agents try to get them updates.  Simple, right?

You’d be amazed at how many real estate agents won’t call you back.  Some agents’ voicemails are constantly full so you can’t even leave a message, while others are only “accessible” via 800 numbers and a series of key options.  No response = no showings = no buyers = no sale.  When you interview realtors to list your house, see how long it takes for them to get back to you.  Will they call you back on the weekends?  At night?  Only beween the hours of 10am-11am and 4pm-5pm (to better assist you)?

4. Overprice It.

If you really don’t want to sell your home, then overprice it.  Don’t look at the comps and don’t listen to your realtor.  Just list it for whatever you want to list it at and tell everyone that you “don’t need to sell it.”   I understand that all it takes is one buyer and someone may fall in love with your house and pay top dollar, but depending on the market, it’s probably not very likely.  So if you truly don’t need to sell and you can find an agent who’s happy to take an overpriced listing, then go for it.  It’ll help everyone else sell their homes.

But if you decide that you’d rather sell your home, try being objective and try to entertain the notion that not everyone might like your custom paint/tile/stone/landscaping, or whatever else as much as you do (crazy right?!).  I’m not saying you need to give the home away, but the closer your pricing reflects the pulse of the market, the more offers you’re likely to get.  We’ve all seen Million Dollar Listing and we all know what happens when you have an over priced listing…buyers make fun of seller, seller get mad at their agent, agent begs seller to lower the price, seller lowers the price….home sells.  Easy, right?

Other Stuff

Selling your house is a big deal.  Make sure you work with someone who knows what they’re doing and will represent you well.  Having someone who is respected/liked in the agent community will also help…no one wants to work with an agent who’s incompetent, a jerk, or difficult to get a hold of.  You’ll also want to clean up and put some of your personal belongings away – personal photos, tooth brushes, sponges and all the little nicknacks you’ve collected over the years can make your home look cluttered and can distract the buyer from seeing the home as their own.  Another thing your agent should do, is provide you with an estimated net sheet.  This will give you a pretty good idea of what the sale will cost you and what you’ll end up with (or what you’ll have to bring to the table) when all is said and done.

Obviously there’s a lot more that goes into selling a home, but those are just a few.  If you have any questions about buying or selling real estate in San Diego, please contact Denny Oh at 858-243-2092 or [email protected].


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