Here’s an article from the Today show called “The 10 Mistakes Home Sellers Make“.
Here are my comments on this list of mistakes.
1. Open Houses
Open Houses are a great way for Realtors to get Sales leads, that’s why they do Open Houses. But, the leads Realtors get are usually NOT from people that are interested in buying the Open House. A Top Producer will not do an Open House unless they need leads. They might do the first one to meet the neighbors in case someone else is looking to list their home. After that, they’ll get someone in the office that’s looking for leads to sit on future Open Houses. Open Houses are also something a Listing Agent will do when the Seller isn’t happy that their home hasn’t sold to show the Seller they are “doing something”.
If you want to leave your home for 5 hours a weekend day so you can have strangers walk through your home, do as many Open Houses as the Listing Agent will do. Who knows, that one person that walks in may be interested in your home but the odds are against you. If you have gone to Open Houses yourself, chances are that the Realtor didn’t even ask your name and let you walk around the home yourself. Maybe you were lucky and the agent was talking on their phone the entire time you were there! Just make sure you don’t leave anything small laying around. Also, lock up your medications as this is becoming an item that more and more people find missing after an Open House.
2. I agree with this one. Make your home EASY TO SHOW. A Call/Lockbox option is the one most Realtors like.
3. Don’t hang around during an Open House OR when someone comes to view your home.
4. I haven’t seen someone say “price is firm” in a MLS listing so I think people around here already figured it out that this is something you don’t do.
5. Yes, consider every offer. If you have an offer on the table, your Realtor should work it to see if it can turn into something you are ok with.
6. The first offer is always a relief but you should count on your Realtor to give you advice if the offer is a good one.
7. I’d go one step further on this one. I’d get a home inspection before you list your home. Then you know everything that a Buyer could come back to you to renegotiate after the initial price has been agreed upon. The report can be used by a good Realtor during the initial price negotiation and easily get back the money you paid for the inspection (and probably a lot more).
8. Yes, you want Buyers to imagine your home as theirs. I don’t believe that artwork is a major problem (unless there is tons) but personal photos is something I would remove. I watch people when I’ve taken them to look at a home and the majority of them will stop and look at the personal photos. You want them to be focused on viewing your home to purchase, not looking at your family history!
9. Yes, the more light, the better. As for light bulbs, the energy saving fluorescent bulbs are great but some take a long time to get bright. If someone comes to view your home and the lights aren’t already on, these bulbs may save you a few cents on electricity but they may also hurt a showing. I’d switch out to the ole’ incandescent bulbs, especially in the main rooms.
10. I love pets but do agree that showing a home that has pets is a negative for most Buyers. I know that there are some things you just can’t avoid so just try to make the best of it and put away as much pet-related items as possible when you have a showing.