Once an owner decides to sell their house, they want it to happen FAST.
However, most people know that selling a house quickly depends on a lot of different factors.
When I was a kid growing up in Canada, I watched as the land around an old stone pioneer cabin in my neighborhood was dug out until the cabin seemed to be sitting on a peak. Over the course of the summer, I would drive by and see steel plates and plywood bolted to the exterior of the stone walls. Huge steel beams were placed under the cabin. I thought this whole thing was ridiculous and bizarre. There was so much land around it, so why all the fuss? What were those people doing? Towards the fall, I saw it lifted by crane and placed on a massive truck. Then it was gone. The following spring, construction on a new highway intersection began.
I had my answers. There was something so special about that old house to justify all the work and expense to move it. Progress, this time in the form of off-ramps, could not be halted. Truth be told, I have never seen another cabin like it. It had a steep metal roof that flared out at the bottom and would have put any Olympic sky jump to shame. I regret not having taken any picture of it while it was there.
So what does this little trip down memory lane have to do with you not being able to sell your house?
No One Wants To Live In Your Neighborhood
Unlike that little cabin, you probably can’t change where your house is. Most people have heard of that old cliché:
“Location, location, location!”
The neighborhood may have been ideal back when you bought the house, but take off the rose colored glasses for a moment and look around you at what the neighborhood is NOW.
- Has your neighborhood become the unwilling recipient of a new highway, bridge, factory, toxic waste dump or other undesirable feature?
- Has it become a battle zone, gang territory, or meth lab Mecca?
- Has local industry pulled out, Wal-Mart cancelled construction of its new store, and are families moving away – turning your neighborhood into a future ghost town?
- Did it suffer during the last financial crisis –like Detroit – and has not seen an up-swing, yet?
If you even paused at any of these, you may be looking at a difficult – but not impossible – sale. Assuming that your house is in impeccable condition, it is always possible to sell if you lower your expectations for price.
Everything That Goes Around, Comes Around
Do you love Mid Century Modern and Atomic design? I do! I think it was a cool period in time when home architecture dramatically changed thanks to people like Frank Lloyd Wright. Scientific discoveries and the atomic age actually influenced interior design style!
But do you love it so much that you kept the original kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures??? That could be trouble for your sale – especially if all your neighbors have upgraded to modern gourmet kitchens and spa-like baths!
You can always gut the place and renovate with a modern design and state of the art features. But before you sign with that contractor, make sure that the cost of any work will be less than the added value to your property! You DO NOT want to spend $20000 or $30000 on a new kitchen if you will only be able to raise your asking price $10000 or $15000 in comparison to your neighbors renovated house!!! Do your homework!
Let Me Show You ALL The Great Features…
Many house owners still love their property when they put it up for sale. They want to share their enthusiasm with potential buyers. Sadly, they have the mistaken idea that buyers welcome or will benefit from their knowledge and experience. Buyers want to look around without being bothered or feeling stalked. To make their decision, they need to be able to speak candidly amongst family members and their agent.
Think of how you feel when you go shopping and a clerk immediately jumps on you before you even had a chance to look at the item. You probably resented it, right? So if you don’t like the experience for a pair of jeans you will probably throw out next year, why would you ever do it to someone interested in buying YOUR HOUSE?!
What if you inadvertently put them completely off buying your house? “Oh, and you will barely hear the neighbors’ dogs barking all night if you run the pool pump on full…”
Let them ask questions through their agent, or contact you later. If you are selling by yourself, direct them through the house WITHOUT commentary, or better: just say where rooms are (bath down the hall on the left with bedrooms on the right…), and let them look while you unobtrusively sit and read a book/magazine (as far away as possible – like your deck/balcony).
No Curb Appeal
If you aren’t even getting visits, then you may have an issue with your exterior. Is the structure in great (not “good”) shape? Roof? Foundation? Siding/brick/stone/stucco? Is everything you planted dead or dying –or overgrown to the point no one dares go to your door?
For more information on this subject, I encourage you to read some of my earlier posts, including:
A lot of sellers make the mistake of thinking that people will “see the potential” of a house. While this may be true for some buyers, in this competitive market, buyers have many options for “turn key” “move-in ready” properties. Just as you should show your house at its best, it is equally important not to be doing renovations while your house is up for sale.
Doing work on your house while buyers may be visiting might:
- Make you look as though you didn’t maintain the property
- Make them think you are desperate to sell
- Open you to legal action if someone is injured on stray materials or tools while viewing
- Remind them of how much work they will have to do if they buy
- At the very least, they don’t like your choices and move on
Even if your house is priced a little lower, most buyers don’t want to buy to renovate. Get work done before opening your house to buyers!
Most people have heard about de-cluttering, de-personalizing and deep cleaning a house before putting it up for sale. If you are getting visits, but no offers, take another look at the condition of our home. If it wasn’t your house, would you buy it? How does it compare to homes in interior design magazines? Take a critical look at the amount of stuff that is distracting your buyers from making you an offer.
You may also wish to look at the article on cleaning a house up for sale just below this one, which offers a cleaning check list:
Check It Once, Check It Twice. Make Sure EVERYTHING Is Nice!
Check It Once, Check It Twice. Make Sure EVERYTHING Is Nice!
Pants Are On Fire!
While many listings use code words to describe a house – such as “cozy” meaning “small” or “easy access to freeway” meaning “on a noisy road” – it is not a good idea to lie about your property. If that “pond” is really stagnant flood water, or “charm” means that everything needs to be redone, you may be doing yourself more harm than good by being creative with your description.
Buyers may resent your colorful description if it wastes their time. If they think you are lying, they will not trust you and wonder what else you are trying to hide or cover up.
Be diplomatic, but be honest.
Price To Move
After reading these different possibilities for problems, you might find that none of the situations apply to you. If your house has been on the market a while and you have not had an offer, you may have priced the house too high. Tour other properties in your area and do a critical comparison between theirs and yours. Do you like your neighbors’ house better than your own? Is it priced…lower?
You may have found your issue right there.
If a house is priced properly, no matter how bad the condition, IT WILL SELL!
Perhaps after your review of your house you come to the decision that it would be best to sell FAST, then this can do this in one of two ways. It is possible to renovate, landscape, de-clutter and clean to put your refurbished house on the open market and hope the right buyer comes along quickly. The house can also be sold privately “as is” to resolve your situation immediately.
Next week we will take a look at Hot Housing Trends for 2015.
So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here!
And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can
Turn Your House To $OLD!
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