By Whitney Coy
There’s one thing more scary than buying a house, and that’s selling a house.
There is so much pressure to list your house and sell it quickly — and for a great price — that you probably find yourself turning to those who’ve been there before for advice.
But here’s the problem: The housing market changes on a dime, meaning whatever worked for them might not necessarily work for you. In fact, it may backfire, big-time! Here are some of the most outdated words of wisdom you might hear that you may be better off ignoring.
Wait for spring to sell your home
Odds are you’ve heard that the best time to sell your house is in the spring, because that’s when the buyers are out and about. But it also means you’ll be competing against a slew of sellers.
Listing in the spring means you are positioning yourself to compete with several other homes. So as a seller in the spring, you have to price and market your home flawlessly to show buyers that your home is more desirable than the house next door. Because buyers have more choice in the spring market, they’re more likely to negotiate a lower price.
In fact, it can be advisable to list in the summer and winter, when there’s less competition.
Price your home high
Not too long ago, it was a seller’s market — meaning competition was so fierce between buyers that you could still almost guarantee a sale if you priced your home over market value. However, that’s not the way it works these days.
We are seeing homes on the market last longer and listings become stale one after another. In today’s market, you need to be realistic about what is selling for what dollar per square foot and adjust, because the market decides what it’s willing to pay for a home.
And if you think you’re going to start it at a higher price just to test the market, you should think again.
Testing the market with an above-market price means your home will not fly off the shelf, and the longer it’s on the shelf the more potential buyers wonder what’s wrong with it. This may results in more carrying costs for you and dramatic price reductions later.
Leave room to negotiate
Another reason sellers were pricing high was to leave room for buyers who were eager to negotiate, but experts say today’s buyers won’t play that game.
With supply higher than it was a few years ago, if you’re not priced at market, or at least very close, you’re not going to get that many people in the door to begin with. Price your property to sell.
Sell your home as is
As recently as just a few years ago, sellers were often told not to invest too much into remodeling, as buyers would want to customize themselves. Why worry about it when they’re going to do it anyway, right? Well, not only has the market changed, but so have the buyers.
“With many millennials entering the housing market, one of their biggest desires is to have a turn-key home, meaning they don’t want to have to make changes or repairs, such as modernizing appliances and amenities — essentially the home is move-in ready,” explains Nick Giovacchini, head of client services at AlphaFlow. “Not updating an older home could leave sellers at a disadvantage, especially if other homeowners have updated their homes before selling, even if the unimproved home is priced at a discount compared to more updated homes in the area.”
Even though home prices are going down, the buyers that remain are willing to pay a premium for homes that look the part, so put in some elbow grease before you put up that “For Sale” sign.
Amateur photos of your house are fine
If you’ve ever sold a home before, you probably remember the real estate agent coming in and snapping a few quick photos of your home to place with your listing. Heck, you may have even taken the photos yourself. We’re sorry to say that’s just not going to fly this time around.
How your property looks online will have a direct impact on the number of buyers who will be interested in purchasing your home. Hiring a professional photographer and adding drone pictures are an increased cost to a seller, but well worth the investment.
In fact, it may be a good idea to take it even further. The benchmark has become getting professional photos taken of the property, creating high-quality videos for your property that allow buyers to see different perspectives inside and outside the home, as well as 3D tours of the home that allow buyers to navigate though the home at will and in any direction they choose.
So much for just snapping a few pics with your smartphone.