7 Ways To Sabotage Your Listing

It’s now January. The holidays are over. Your home has been on the market for a few weeks now, but activity has been very slow. You chalk up the lack of interest to the holiday season. Everyone was out shopping and spending time with family. No one was focused on buying in December, right?

Perhaps. But we are nearly a week into the new year. And still…nothing.

If your home has been on the market for several weeks, it may be because you've been inadvertently sabotaging your listing all along.

If your home has been on the market for several weeks, it may be because you’ve been inadvertently sabotaging your listing all along.

You’re not selling your house to you. You’re selling it to others. Which brings us to this tough-to-swallow revelation: You may be sabotaging your own listing.

Maybe you need better photos on the MLS. Maybe you need a fancy video of your home. Maybe you need one more postcard mailed out to the neighbors to tell them, once again, that your house is for sale. One more postcard that might end up in the trash for most, but not before they see your Realtor’s shiny smile on it within a split second of it falling into their trash bin.

Don’t worry, your Realtor is in touch with you at least once a week, right? You can bring up these marketing concerns and get it all hashed out this week. I mean, it’s got to be your agent’s marketing. Your house is amazing.

And you’re probably right. Your house IS amazing. For you.

But let’s be real here. Have you ever gone to someone else’s house and think, “What the heck were these guys thinking by painting their walls THIS color?” Or how about this one: “What is that strange smell?”

Don’t be shy. We’ve all thought the same. And it’s okay, because we all are entitled to our own opinions.

You’re not selling your house to you. You’re selling it to others. Which brings us to this tough-to-swallow revelation: You may be sabotaging your own listing.

One benefit of helping homebuyers is that I can see first-hand how they react to different homes during our home searches. These reactions are important to note — straight from the trenches — for my sellers. Remember, you ultimately want to find a great buyer that will stick to your agreed-upon sales price and close escrow with you on time and satisfied with their purchase.

Here are 7 ways that you may be sabotaging your listing:

1) Showing schedule is not flexible.

Buyers really want to see your home before they make an offer. Limit their ability to see your home, and you’ll get fewer showings. Fewer showings mean less offers, which means less potential buyers to choose from, if any. You can have some restrictions, but only allowing showings from 6:00pm to 7:00pm on Wednesdays and then expecting multiple offers and top dollar is not very reasonable. Work it out with your Realtor, and be open to being inconvenienced a bit with showings. I know, it’s a big sacrifice. But it could cost you thousands of dollars and more headaches if you don’t try to accommodate.

Using a Supra lockbox will allow your Realtor to monitor all showings by agents who access your home through this lockbox.

Using a Supra iBox will allow your Realtor to monitor all showings by agents who access your home through this lockbox.

2) Lack of home staging.

Whether you go with a professional home stager or do it yourself, staging your home to appeal to the masses is important if you’re trying to reach a higher price point. Note the key phrase here is “appeal to the masses.” Some good paint, flooring, and furniture changes can go a very, very long way.

3) Not addressing significant repairs.

You can have a beautiful-looking home in appearance, but if there are hidden repairs or issues with your home, your buyer will eventually find out through the home inspection. If you choose not to address these items, you may have to adjust your price expectations accordingly. Otherwise, your buyer may ultimately decide to walk away while you’re in the middle of moving out. Not cool.

4) Doing bad repairs.

Duct tape may have saved MacGyver in most instances, but it probably won’t work for you. If you do end up doing repairs, or if there are some that you did in the past that were not up to code, consider getting a licensed contractor or specialist to do these repairs correctly — up front and before your buyer does their own home inspection. What you don’t want is your buyer seeing all these “quick fixes” around the house and wonder if the entire house is going to fall apart on them someday. Yes, buyers can be that dramatic. Try to avoid that situation.

5) Dirty house.

Think clean like a luxury hotel. That’s what you should aspire to when cleaning your home for showings. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service just prior to the first showing of your home. Then, maintain it.

6) Bad smells.

You may not be able to notice the smell of your adorable pets in your home, or that fish smell that permeates from your kitchen most days. But others might. And if we’re trying to appeal to the masses and get top dollar, the smell of your house has to match that. Buyers fall in love with a home using multiple senses, and their sense of smell is a key one. Do your best — it’s not always easy to change the smells in your home, but it’s something to consider and address if you can.

Baking soda can help absorb some less desirable smells (and is a great cleaning agent, too).

Baking soda can help absorb some less desirable smells (and is a great cleaning agent, too).

7) Not disclosing important info about your home.

This is especially important to do up front with your Realtor. Don’t hide important things about your home. If your roof leaked a few years ago and you never repaired it properly, chances are that your buyer will find out while you’re still in escrow. It may cause your buyer to not want your house anymore when you’re waist-deep into your escrow. If you’ve owned your home for 40 years and can’t remember all the repairs that have been done over the years, take the time and do your best to build that list. You don’t want your buyer to think, “What else is the seller hiding?” and back out of the deal when you just put a deposit down on a new home for yourself.

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