The 3 immutable laws of home selling

Andres  Piedra
Andres Piedra
Published on August 30, 2017
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When I was stationed at the Defense Language Institute in California, we were learning how to say “the sun rises in the east and sets in the west” in Serbian-Croatian. The instructors asked me to say it in front of the class, so I did. A classmate of mine from Pennsylvania stared at me as if I were the first insane person she’d ever seen. I asked her what was wrong and she said, “That’s dumb. It doesn’t set in the west anymore. We’re not on the east coast anymore!” Guess what? She was wrong, but it was hilarious nonetheless. 

The fact remains, the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west, no matter the coast on which you stand. All people will someday die and, as long as you make a certain amount of money, you’ll always pay taxes. There are some things in life we cannot change, no matter how much we wish otherwise.

Real estate, too, has its immutable laws and there are three very important ones you should pay attention to as you get ready to put your home on the market.

1. Your home in need of repairs WILL NOT be popular, unless you price it at rock bottom

Unless you absolutely cannot afford to fix what’s broken in your home, making repairs is a must. At least if you want to make the most money possible.

Don’t make repairs and your home is like chum in shark-infested waters. The buyers most attracted will be investors, like me, who won’t pay you anywhere near what you hope to make. Have someone like me take an objective look for you, and please listen to what we recommend. You’ve got an emotional interest in the property that may blind you to objectivity, understandably, I do not. 

If the necessary repairs are major, few lenders will loan a buyer the money to purchase the home unless and until the repairs are made. Buyers using a VA loan will especially find it difficult to get a home loan approval. In the case of major repairs, we might be able to find you an investor, or perhaps even purchase the home ourselves, just be prepared for an offer well below the potential market value. There are a lot of options for you, we can help you select the best option for your needs. 

If a home is in need of minor repairs – dripping faucets, ratty carpet, walls in need of patching – the home will lose “perceived” value. Right now, the majority of homebuyers are millennials and a recent National Association of Realtors study finds that these buyers neither have the money nor the desire to make repairs after they purchase a home.

“They want to cook in that kitchen from day one and entertain in the backyard that very weekend,” according to Consumer Report’s Dan DiClerico.

Want to make a profit when you sell your home? Fix anything that needs it. Don’t know how? We do. Contact us so we can help. 

2.Overprice your home and it will stay on the market longer and, trust us, you won’t like the offers you get on it, if you get any.

It’s truly a wakeup-call for many homeowners when they learn that, no, they don’t determine what their homes are worth. Homebuyers do and, ultimately, the lender’s appraiser will.

Homebuyers today are savvy enough to have either researched market values in your neighborhood or had their real estate agent do it for them. A higher-than-market-value price then, isn’t fooling anyone, except you.

Often, a homeowner’s rationale for overpricing is to leave “wiggle room” for negotiations. The problem with this tactic is that buyers who can afford what your home is actually worth won’t even see your listing. Your listing will appear in the MLS adjacent to homes that are larger, newer or better-maintained.

Thus, you’ll have few potential buyers to negotiate with.

Now, suppose someone does offer what you’re asking. What are the chances that the appraiser will come up with an inflated value for your home? Slim to none, actually. So, to keep the buyer, or attract another, you’ll need to lower the price to where it should have been in the beginning.

 

There’s something we call the golden window of opportunity for home sales. It’s the first-two weeks the house is on the market. If the house doesn’t sell within the first two weeks, it may take significantly longer to sell. As such, we recommend our clients price their homes aggressively to generate as much traffic as possible in that golden window. Most of our listings go under contract within two weeks for this very reason. 

 

 

3. Signs don’t sell homes, marketing does

Yes, that’s a nifty for-sale sign in your front yard and, yes, those full-color fliers are attractive. But it takes a lot more to sell a home than an MLS listing, a sign and a lockbox. Sure, it’s easier now, when we’re in a hot sellers’ market, but it won’t always be this easy.

And, even though right now buyers are lining up for certain types of homes, homes in good condition in decent areas, you won’t get top dollar for yours if it isn’t marketed properly.

The internet has changed just about everything when it comes to home sales. The biggest change, however, is that potential buyers can and do begin their home search from the comfort of their homes or offices.

They’ll surf the internet, both real estate brokerage sites and the big real estate aggregators, poring over listings of homes in the areas in which they want to live.

And, while it is your agent’s responsibility to market your home, it’s you who bears the responsibility of giving that agent something to work with.

Ensure that both the exterior and the interior are captivating enough that when potential buyers view photos of the home online, they’re compelled to want to tour it. Think of it like your resume. Your resume should hopefully shine to get you enough attention it warrants you a job interview. The same with marketing amazing photos and data for your home. 

In eye-tracking studies, “We find that the photo is overwhelmingly viewed first,” according to Michael Seiler, founder of the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University in Virginia. We hire professional photographers for our listings, whose work drastically increases the traffic you see for you listing. 

In the age of technology, the basics of readying a home for the market – decluttering, deep cleaning and increasing its curb appeal – are no longer choices, they are necessities. At least if you hope to get the most money possible when the home sells.

Making needed repairs and properly readying your home for the market will increase its perceived value. Pricing it competitively will help it sell quickly. It’s like hitting the trifecta!

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The 3 immutable laws of home selling
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