By Alan May
1. Your photos are unimpressive. The vast majority of homebuyers start their search for a home on the Internet, which means your house had better look great in print. Not just nice, but downright fabulous. Today we are considering Internet views as a “virtual showing.” If your house gets past that, then a buyer just might make an appointment to see it in person. This is considered your second showing. Today’s buyers are expecting good quality photos – and lots of them. One shot from the street won’t cut it anymore. They also expect a virtual tour and maybe even a floor plan, if applicable.
2. It’s overpriced. Your clients have to view their own property as objectively as possible. Have them look at the home like a buyer. If necessary, take them out to view other homes that are priced comparably. Given the other options on the market – and yes, they do have to include short sales and foreclosures on the list because potential buyers certainly are – would they buy their own home over the others on the market? If the answer is “no,” then you either have to update the listing to meet or beat the competition, or lower the price to adjust for it. If your client can’t afford to sell for the price that you know it will sell for, your client may want to consider just removing it from the market.
3. It shows poorly. This could be blamed on almost anything, from the barky dog to the smell of the diaper pail. Maybe the carpeting is a bit worn, or the woodwork shows a lot of wear. All of which don’t show up on the Internet, but once a buyer gets inside the house you don’t want it to be reminiscent of a cat-urine smell on a 95-degree day in New Orleans!
4. You’re invisible. Today’s buyer starts on the the Internet, almost exclusively. Have you just plopped the property on the MLS and started praying? Is the listing on all Web sites that potential buyers are searching – Trulia, Zillow, Craig’s List, Google Base, etc.? If not, it should be.
5. Your listing is tired and stale on the market. Okay, the home was overpriced when it first came on the market two years ago. But since then, the price has been reduced almost monthly – constantly chasing the market down. Now, the home is truly priced where it should be, but the listing is tired and stale. Everyone looking for your type of property in your area has already seen it, sometimes twice, and they remember that there was “something” about it that they didn’t like. But, what they don’t remember is what they didn’t like was the price. It might be time to take the listing off market, let it cool off for three to six months and bring it back fresh in the spring. Yes, your client might have six months worth of holding-costs, but they will more than make up for it in the purchase price. By the way, avoid the temptation to bring the house back on at a higher price than when it left the market. Don’t do it!
6. The house won’t appraise. The house looks great, you’ve finally gotten someone to bring you a bid on your slightly over-priced, but beautiful pied-a-terre. However, the bank appraiser says it’s worth $20,000 less than what the buyer has agreed to pay. Heavy sigh – bite the bullet and negotiate with them. If you have to drop the price $20,000 to make it work, chances are, anybody else trying to buy your listing will run into the same problem.
Alan May is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker, and has been selling residential real estate in Evanston and on the North Shore for almost 10 years. May is consistently in the top 10 percent of his office, and the top 10 percent of agents nationwide. He can be reached at 847.425.3779.