The Four Deadly Sins That Block Offers

Avoiding the Wrath of the Four Deadly SinsIt’s been a crazy early spring sales season in North Texas so far. Inventories are at near record lows and buyers are pouncing on almost every new listing. Many sellers are enjoying multiple offers in a matter of days. That said, there are listings that just will not sell leaving those sellers looking for answers.

There are four deadly sins that block offers and the good news is that sellers can avoid their wrath and get their home sold!

Cleanliness and Odors

There almost nothing worse than walking into a showing only to find the home is a mess, there are some really strong odors, or both. I love to cook but not everybody appreciates the smell of caramelized onions in balsamic vinegar or the smell of the cat’s litter box! Part of selling a home is to create emotion. Taking the time or spending a few hundred dollars to have the home deep cleaned is money well spent.

Clutter and Too Much Furniture

Many of us simply outgrow our homes and we are looking to sell in order to purchase a larger home. When your home is cluttered or has way too much furniture it makes the home look small and dark. Both of these turn off buyers and block offers. Want to know how it is supposed to look? Visit some new home builders model homes and try to do it yourself. Our best advice is to hire a stager. We think it’s so important that we pay for two hours of consultation with one of the best stagers in the area for our listing clients.

Deferred Maintenance

While you may have tolerated that dripping faucet for the past four years, it really sends the wrong message to potential buyers. While most people understand that a home has been lived in, lots of deferred maintenance will have them running for the door. Take some time to lubricate squeaking doors, replace the flapper valves on the running toilet, and repair that dripping faucet. Many of these tasks can be completed by the sellers or a local handyman.

Grossly Overpriced

If you do not feel like dealing with the first three sins, you can make up for it here by correctly pricing the home. Want top dollar? You need to have the home properly prepared, staged, and show-ready. If you don’t want to do these things, you can always reduce the price to offset.

There you go. As sellers you always have a choice. Our advice: avoid the four deadly sins and get your home sold quickly and for top-dollar

Want to work with a Dallas Real Estate team named as Residential Top Producers by D Magazine? Contact us at 214-227-6626.

Tom and Gina Signatures

Photo: Licensed from iStockPhoto

Lots of Showings But No Offers

Staged Home For Sale“I had lots of showings but no offers.” I hear those words time and time again as I talk to sellers with recently expired listings. Most of the time they blame their agent for not generating an offer.

One of the primary roles of a listing agent is to market the property and drive traffic into the home. In my opinion it starts with great photography and getting all the details of the property into the marketing machine.

When I look at many expired listings I see poor or no photos and incomplete or minimal details available online. Most of the time the sellers of those properties are not complaining about a lack of an offer but a lack of showings as well.

Show me a home with lots of showings but no offers and I’ll argue its simply overpriced or not properly prepared. Lowering the price is one way to overcome this issue but it may not be the only way.

Purchasing a home is an emotional decision. While the marketing may be driving traffic in the door, the home may not create the emotion needed to generate an offer. Creating emotion means appealing to the senses–sight, smell, and sound. New home builders model homes are a great example of the ability to create emotion. They appeal to all the senses.

While many sellers may be able to recreate the look of a new home model, many people should consider professional staging. In the Dallas market, the cost is often under $300 for a few hours of a stager’s time. $300 is nothing compared to your first price reduction and can make the difference in getting the property sold.

Locally, the first part of 2012 has seen a return to a seller’s market with less than 3.5 months of inventory of homes under $500k. Homes that are properly prepared, show-ready, and priced correctly are flying off the market.

If you’re on the market and getting lots of showings but no offers, it’s not marketing…

Photo Copyright 2009 The Branch Team

You Got Us To The Door, Now Get Us To The Table

Hey there, Tech Savvy Listing Agents! I’m showing your listings! Your steady flow of clever blog posts helped lure the transferee to our great area, your website had nifty interactive maps, and you displayed attractive photos of the home on 1,000s of websites. Your charts and reports convinced your sellers to price competitively and then to lower the price as we head into fall. And you’ve marketed to the local agents as well…how could I miss your listing popping up on Google in every search? Your unique property websites are impressive. You’ve sent out snazzy e-flyers to all the local agents with each price change. Really great work and you got my client’s attention.

And now, after all your work over so many months, if you get us to the door, will you get us to the table?

I worked with two families this week who are transferring to the area. There are so many houses to choose from that you’d expect sellers would roll out the red carpets.

But we didn’t see many red carpets at the showings. In fact, a lot of houses looked a little sad. Even if the seller is discouraged, it is the listing agent’s job to create a great showing experience every time someone drives up to the house.

As the gardens turn brown, the dead plants should be cut back. At the front entry a few mums and pumpkins look nice and the front porch should be swept of dead leaves.

And please, brush away the spider webs. “We never use the front door” is not an excuse. A buyer comes though the front door.

This time of year the lights should be turned on for a showing, especially on a dreary day. Maybe you could turn on some soft music. Warm cookies are a wonderful way to entice a buyer to stay a little longer and enjoy the home.

The dog needs to be somewhere other than the laundry room. Barking dogs scare little kids and their parents. And a buyer needs to see the laundry room.

If the weather is cold and the house is vacant, someone should come over and turn on the heat. One house I showed yesterday had the air conditioning set at 58 degrees. Perhaps the agent hadn’t been there since summer, which probably explains the bugs. As the weather grows colder, vacant houses here in the Midwest get bugs. Someone needs to vacuum up dead bugs before a showing. Hundreds of dead box elder bugs are not warm and inviting. Dead bugs are creepy to little kids who crunch them under their little sneakers. Teenage girls flounce out and go sit in the car, announcing that they aren’t moving into that house.

Houses for sale need brochures in the house. Yesterday I showed fifteen houses in six subdivisions and only four had multi-page brochures with good photos. A 4,000 square foot house priced at $600,000 deserves a nice brochure.

The showing experience starts when a buyer sees the photos on the internet. Driving up to the house is the start of “show time”. Walking through the door should be a “wow”. A buyer should be reluctant to leave and move onto the next house. A buyer, especially a transferee, wants to collect nice looking materials to remind them of their favorite homes.

So to my colleagues, I ask: after all the work you’ve done, if you get us to the door, will you get us to the table?