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How not to Sell your House

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By sonnypage
April 3, 2008

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I absolutely had to share this one with you, it's a classic :-)

Most everyone on METAR knows by now that my wife and I are Realtors and associate brokers who practice real estate north of Atlanta. Today my wife showed property to out of town buyers. The lockbox records our Realtor information, including our email address, when we enter a home. Inevitably, we will receive an email from the listing agent asking for "feedback". Are our buyers interested in the home? What can be done to improve the marketability of the home? This is my wife's response to a listing agent after one of today's showings.

Hi Stephanie

My clients really liked this one on line- however, when we pulled up today at our pre-arranged time- the dog was loose in the front yard & barking and growling. I would not have gotten out of the car but my client (the husband) was okay with it and a neighbor guy across the cul-de-sac came over to reassure us and shoo the dog to the side yard.

The house has great curb appeal and a nice lot. However, it was not show ready at all- clothes everywhere, dishes in the sink, beds unmade. The house has great potential and a nice floor plan- but a lot of "deferred" maintenance. It needs to be cleaned and the garbage swept out, etc.

Folks, I would say that this listing agent has her hands full. It's a tough market; if you are planning on selling, let me give you four ideas that I think will help.

1. Potential buyers must be convinced your home is reasonably and fairly priced. How do you do that? We are recommending our sellers have their home appraised prior to listing by an independent appraiser. Now it's not just the sellers and their agent pricing the home, but rather an independent appraiser with no skin in the game. In this situation, an appraiser has absolutely no incentive to appraise high. In fact, in the current environment, we are finding that appraisers are being ultra cautious. This appraisal should be left on your dining room table with your other marketing material for potential buyers to examine.

2. Have your home pre-inspected. Once you are under contract, your buyer will order an inspection anyway. Why not get out in front and do it yourself and correct any defects? This also should be on display for potential buyers to reassure them your home is in move in condition.

3. You must "stage" your home. As soon as you put your home on the market, it is no longer your home. Now it is merely another commodity you are trying to sell for the best price possible in a very competitive market. Get rid of the clutter; just as importantly, it must be ready to show at all times on no notice. If that means getting up fifteen minutes early every morning then so be it. Your potential buyers are not interested in examining your breakfast remains in the sink.

4. Consider boarding "Fang", at least during the most likely to be shown weekends. Better yet, send him to your in laws for an extended visit. No one is going to buy your home because they just love your adorable pets. Far more likely, buyers with allergies will not even step through the door. It's a potential problem, deal with it.

Hope that helps, make it a great weekend.