When you put your house on the market it’s easy to find lots of advice for all the things you can do to increase your chances of a quick and lucrative sale. I find that often missing from those lists are a few things you should NOT do that can actually harm your home’s attractiveness to potential buyers. With more than 30 years of helping people buy and sell homes in the Arlington, Virginia area I’ve seen just about everything, so I rounded up these 6 common mistakes to help future home-sellers (and buyers) when it’s time to put their house on the market.
#1: Overpricing: Ask too much and your property won’t sell. Working with an experienced Realtor is an invaluable resource for deciding on a fair price that offers the best of both worlds to both buyer and seller. Comparing similar properties nearby and experience with the local area are both necessary parts of deciding on the right asking price.
#2 Getting in the Way: While you want to be helpful and able to answer questions quickly, there is such a thing as being too present, especially when potential buyers are touring the home. For open houses and scheduled showings, it’s best for you, your family and even your pets to vacate the home. Buyers need to feel at home, able to ask questions or make comments without worrying you’ll overhear them, and be comfortable imagining themselves as the new owners. If you stick around it creates an awkward situation that could cost you the sale. Let your Realtor handle showing the house, and enjoy a cup of coffee or a walk to the local park while they are there.
#3 Dirty, Cluttered Homes: A little mess never hurt anyone, but it can definitely harm the home-selling process. While your house is on the market make it a priority to keep it clean, neat and uncluttered. A dirty, messy, or even smelly home will leave a bad impression right from the start. If your home is cluttered with too much furniture, kid’s toys, or rampant tchotchke collections, it can make the home seem smaller and less welcoming.
#4 Too Much Empty Space: A totally empty home also puts some obstacles in your way to a quick sale. If you’ve already moved out, ask your agent to recommend a staging service that can turn those empty rooms into a warm, inviting space. Staging a house with furniture and decor gives buyers a better idea of the space and potential of each room, allowing them to picture themselves living there.
#5 Too Much Personality: When buyers tour your home for sale, you want them to be able to picture themselves living there. Family portraits, personal décor, and lots of personal items such as trophies and certificates everywhere you look can get in the way of that. Remove a good percentage of your personal décor throughout the home so that buyers can have an easier time imagining themselves living there.
#6 Choosing the Wrong Realtor: Choosing the right real estate professional is simply the most important decision you will make when selling your home. You want to work with someone who is experienced in the industry and the local community. An experienced Realtor will help you every step of the way from setting the asking price to advice on staging to getting the word out to prospective buyers in the best way possible. They will also be your voice in sharing the value of your home and highlighting key attributes that make it more likely to attract offers that will benefit your bottom line.
While this list is full of tips for what NOT to do, I hope you can also see between the lines for what CAN be done to support a great home selling experience. If you are interested in selling or buying a home in the Arlington, Virginia area please give me a call. I’m here to help!