The 4 Ways to Kill a Sale.

As a broker, I have the opportunity to sit in many living rooms and tour many homes with homeowners who are interested in selling. Often there is a common thread; they’ve gotten their Zestimate or another online valuation, have watched other homes that have sold in their neighborhood and have concluded that they should be able to sell for just as much if not more money than their neighbor.

At a glance, that should be true as long as the home is in similar condition, similar in size and similar in location. Change any of those variables and it could be worth more, or it could be worth less.

Selling real estate is collaboration between the seller and the selling broker. When the parties work together, the home should sell quickly, without major hassles and for the most money. The seller is responsible to make the home presentable and welcoming, and the agent is responsible for marketing and appropriately responding to all inquiries.

What I’d like to look at today are the 4 ways to kill a sale.

  1. Make the home hard to show- This is by far the number one reason that homes sit on the market for a long time. Realtors like most humans will take the path of least resistance. Our first step with buyers is to establish the home search criteria. We address things like the number of bedrooms, the square footage of the house, schools, size of lot, pricing etc. Then we enter that info into our local MLS (multiple listing service), and we get a list of homes that fit those parameters.  We glance at the showing instructions and the first homes on the tour are the vacant ones, second are occupied homes with lockboxes, third are appointment only homes, and last are tenant occupied homes which require a 24 hour notice. As you can imagine, most buyers find a home from one of the first two groups and may never see your house if you are in group three or four. If you want to maximize your sale opportunities, make the home easy to show. Address security or theft concerns with your agent so you can minimize any risks. If you have an aggressive dog, perhaps he/she should be kenneled during the selling period.
  2. Make the home ugly- The number two reason homes don’t sell is that they are simply in poor condition. Sometimes this is due to lack of maintenance, other times it’s simply housekeeping. You really need to do everything you can to make the home as presentable to home buyers as possible. Although you can’t smell the litter box, everyone else can, AND it’s a huge turnoff. Please keep the counters cleared, the beds made, clothes picked up, garbage emptied and the pets outside. If you really want to get top dollar, repainting the house in nice neutral colors will pay huge dividends.
  3. Overprice the house- The number three reason that homes don’t sell is when they overpriced.In today’s world, anyone can go online and check homes sales in any neighborhood. Between the Zillow’s, AVM’s etc, everybody has become an expert. Overpricing will simply remove your house from the buyers shopping list.  The best way to draw buyers to your home is to prepare it nicely, keep it clean, price it correctly and make it easy to view. That will allow ‘market forces’ to determine the final price. Keep in mind that what you paid or what you owe on the home, doesn’t influence its value today.
  4. Hire the wrong realtor- This could have been number one on the list. Realtors and brokers come in all sizes, shapes and talent levels. Just last week I left three messages for an agent, two for her partner and one for her assistant and didn’t get a call back. I doubt the seller knows that their agent is ignoring potential buyers. On the other hand, I am thrilled that there are hundreds of professional agents who care for their clients and protect them as buyers or sellers. If a transaction is simple, and there are no issues that pop up, the lessor agents can muddle their way through. If it gets complex, and multiple issues arise, the outcome will be determined by the competency of the agents involved. This may be your biggest asset and it should be handled by the most competent person available. You should interview multiple agents and check their references, you will be happier in the end. According to the National Association of Realtors, statistics reveal that experienced full time agents will net you more money, with allot less hassles.

It’s really pretty simple: make your home as presentable as possible, make it easy for realtors to show, price it correctly and hire the best agent you can, and your results will be positive 99% of the time.


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