1. It Was Priced Too High
Being priced above market value is the number one reason why homes don’t sell. So how do you know when a price is too high? A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) will give you the answer. It’s based on homes comparable to yours that have recently sold and those currently on the market. Agents, appraisers and, most importantly, buyers are going to use a CMA to evaluate your home’s value. The point here is that the value of your home is not based on what you or your agent want to get for it. It’s based on homes that have already sold, and that’s determined by your former neighbors and their buyers. Nothing else.
Some home sellers attempt to test the market by listing their house too high, thinking if they get their above-market price, they’ll take it to the bank. The problem is, this strategy can backfire. Agents and buyers will label your home as overpriced and you as unrealistic. Worse, buyers and agents will step back after your home has been put on the market to see if anyone buys it. When no one does, these buyers and their agents believe feel validated: the home was over-priced. Now, if you’re lucky, one or two buyers will come back to drive down your price with low-ball offers. But it’s too late for the rest of the pack. They’ve moved on to the other homes that have just come on the market. Your house is suddenly yesterday’s news. Before you decide to sell your home, be sure of your motivation. If you want to sell it, then price it to sell. Testing the waters will only frustrate and inconvenience you.
By pricing your home at–or slightly below–the prevailing market value, you gain the following advantages by getting multiple buyers upfront:
- A bidding war might erupt, driving the final sales price up, sometimes higher than the asking price.
- You get to choose the best buyer for your escrow based on terms.
- A buyer who knows they bought your home while it was “hot” is more likely to do everything in their power to seal the deal and close escrow.
For a FREE Comparative Market Analysis of your home, call me at 310-402-6000.
2. The Agent’s Marketing Plan Is The Same As Everyone Else’s
The tendency is for homeowners to assume that all agents market homes the same–especially those working for the same brokerage. I frequently hear from potential home sellers, “I’m already meeting with Smith Real Estate Company.” Or, “We’re working with someone from Smith Realty (yet they can’t remember their agent’s name). Or worse, “Our friend has a real estate license; we’re giving him/her a try.” The important thing to remember is that all agents are NOT alike, even within the same brokerage house. If that were true, then a broker should be able to sell all of their homes listed. Yes, companies give their agents boiler-plate methods of how to market a home, but it’s up to the individual agent to master and create custom marketing plans that can sell a home. Become familiar with your agents’ marketing techniques and qualifications. Just because an agent sold a home down the street from you does not mean they are the best agent for your home. The difference in representation and the way an agent markets your home can either make–or cost–you a lot of money.
3. The Home Didn’t Show Well
First impressions are everything in selling a home and the burden for having your home show at its very best is up to you, the homeowner. But I can help by counseling you how to get your home ready to show and we can consider staging a home. This involves bringing in an expert who may rearrange furniture, household objects, or even bring in furnishings of their own. The crucial element here is to remember that the way we live in a home and the way we sell a home are two totally different things.
The work involved in maintaining a showroom appearance is another reason why pricing a home at market value helps. Keeping your home looking its best day after day, packing all the household members into a car to be absent when it’s shown–all this takes a lot of work. Therefore, getting your home sold quickly is just plain easier and financially beneficial (See Reason 1, above: It Was Priced Too High).
4. Buyers and Agents Couldn’t View Your Home
Putting yourself in the mindset of a buyer is important if you want to sell your home quickly. Remember that buyers want to see your home now. Not tomorrow evening, or two days from now and only after 7:00 p.m. After all, they may be on the verge of making a decision. Agents frequently tell sellers during their listing presentation that they will be showing the home personally. This sounds great in theory, however, in reality, it doesn’t work. If an agent has more than one listing, (you would hope they do, otherwise they are not active in listing and selling homes) and they have a request to show two or more homes at the same time in the day, which home gets shown? The highest-priced home? The one with the most commission? Or the one that’s most convenient to show? Now, also consider the likeliness that the agent has other duties in their schedule. For example, showing homes to a buyer. Being at an inspection. Meeting with another client. The point is clear: an agent can’t personally show your home every time. This is why I have assistants who can show your home when I personally can’t.
But back to getting into the minds of your buyers. Asking a buyer to reschedule seeing your home because it’s inconvenient for you is like shooting yourself in the foot. Buyers have a limited amount of time to see properties in any given week. Now, if a buyer goes out to see 2-8 homes in a day (not including yours) and they see one they love, what’s the likeliness that their agent will say, “Before you buy this home, I need you to see one that’s impossible to show.” I can guarantee you this isn’t going to happen. Why? A buyer loves a home (not yours, because they could not get in to see it) and they can only buy one. The agent has a buyer ready to buy. Why would they want to confuse a buyer to a point of “Analysis Paralysis?” Most likely the agent’s plan will be, go ahead and make an offer on the other home and if unsuccessful, they’ll come back to yours. Maybe. Homeowners can console themselves by thinking they can always get another buyer. But what if those buyers who really wanted to see your home had money burning a hole in their pocket and would have paid the most amount of money for your home, only if they had the chance to see it? This happens all the time. I often hear from clients that they can’t believe how many showings they’ve had since they listed with me. That’s because if a listing agent has several requests for showings on a particular house, and only able to make a couple of them because of their conflicting schedule (and have convinced their sellers that they will be there for all showings), how often do you think the seller gets an update call from the agent that week saying, “We had several requests to show your home this week, however, I was only able to show it twice because of my conflicting schedule.” I have created the most effective system on how to show a home and will be happy to explain this easy process.
5. The Agent Communicates Too Little or Too Much
It’s crucial that I have a clear understanding of your wishes and that I communicate to the brokerage community and buyers all the information about your home. I know, because I sometimes represent buyers. It’s frustrating when I request information from listing agents, only to have them refer me back to the owners to give me the information I need. Time and time again, I’ve seen buyers lose interest in a home because of the lack of knowledge and communication of information from a listing agent. Worse is a listing agent giving me incorrect information that prevents a sale, makes it tedious and difficult in negotiations, or leads buyers to eventually start a lawsuit against sellers and their agent for withholding crucial information. On the flip side is a listing agent who shares too much information. This can sometimes be just as bad as sharing too little. In short, poor communication can cost a you thousands of dollars or leading to your home not selling at all. Select your agent based on excellent communication skills.
6. Buyer or Sellers Were Inflexible on the Terms of the Deal
Sometimes, the terms of a deal can prevent a home sale. There needs to be a reasonable give-and-take on both sides. Sometimes it has to do with timing. Let’s say that a buyer needs to close in 30 days, but the seller can’t, or won’t, move out for 60 days. The simple solution is to close the deal and have the sellers rent back for 30 days. But occasionally, this creates an issue that both buyer and seller can’t or won’t resolve and the deal falls through, forcing both buyers and sellers to start all over again. Flexibility is the key. Sometimes, very small issues blow up into larger ones, canceling deals. I’ve heard of $5,000,000 transactions being cancelled where sellers and buyers couldn’t agree if the extra refrigerator in the garage should stay or go with the seller. As ridiculous as this sounds, it happens. My role is to keep everyone calm and negotiate around all the obstacles that can keep your home from closing escrow. Your role as a seller is to remain flexible and open minded in negotiations and not to get stuck on the minor issues.