When you are selling your home, it is incredibly frustrating to have days, weeks, and even months go by without a sale. Worst-case — the listing expires without a sale. With increasing average market time to sale, the number of listings expiring each month is on the rise.
Understanding the reasons why listings expire can help you reduce the risk that it will happen to you, and increase the likelihood that your home will sell quickly and for the best price.
The four main reasons a property doesn’t sell are:
Part one of “Why Listings Expire” discusses condition, since it is the number one component a home seller can consider to ensure the salability of their home and the ultimate price they receive.
Condition is critical because it colors the prospective buyer’s perception. Buyers are looking for well-cared-for, move-in-ready properties, so a home in excellent condition can leverage price and lower market time. When priced appropriately, condition can ensure a sale even in a less-than-favorable market.
Several items to address before listing your home are common-sense:
- Clean everything thoroughly. Your home should sparkle. Kitchens and bathrooms should be spotless. De-clutter throughout your home and clear off the counters. Be sure windows are clean and accessible so buyers can see the view.
- Replace worn, damaged or dated floor coverings. The “carpet allowance” is a thing of the past. Today’s home buyers don’t want to have to tackle projects before they move in. In addition, the actual cost of new carpet or flooring is usually much less than the reduction buyers would want off your asking price.
- Remove tired or loud wallpaper. A coat of paint freshens the house and makes it more amenable to anyone’s décor.
- Replace or repair anything that is broken. The home buyer wants a home that works and anything that might hint at problems or a lack of upkeep are red flags. A dripping sink, running toilet, or cracked light fixture send a message that the property hasn’t been cared for.
- Pay attention to curb appeal. First impressions are critical and could even halt a prospective buyer from going inside. Lawn and landscaping should be well-maintained, paths clear and in good repair, front door freshly painted if needed.
A word of caution: not all improvements are created equal. It’s a good idea to consult with your Realtor to identify how best to spend your money on improvements. While many of the items listed above can easily be worth at resale double the amount of money you spend (depending on the home and market conditions), there are some improvements that rarely even pay for themselves. Be careful not to overdo it.
Common mistakes include completely redoing a kitchen, when simply replacing the countertop would have been enough of an update for a sale. Replacing kitchen cabinets or a total update can be expensive and time-consuming, and rarely increases the resale value enough to justify the expense when done solely for the purpose of selling the home. Obviously, broken windows should be fixed or replaced, but don’t replace all of the windows in the house expecting to get back all the money when you sell. The same goes for exterior siding – don’t replace it if the existing siding can be repaired.
Your Realtor can advise you what improvements are worth the money. Many agents have checklists on hand which are available for the asking. Better yet, ask your Realtor to walk through your home and help you prioritize which projects to address and which to leave for a future owner.
Homes in good repair send a message of having been well maintained throughout the seller’s ownership. Many sellers are not willing to go the extra mile to address condition issues, which is good news for those who are. The house in better condition stands out from the competition, increasing the likelihood that it will sell.
Once all condition issues have been resolved, then you can begin to address price.
Copyright © Shawn Buryska