5 Things That'll Ruin Your Chances Of Selling Your Home

By Tim Parker | August 13, 2012 AAA

You aren't concerned about the macroeconomic environment and how it affects the housing market, and you don't care about the happenings of Europe. You just want to sell your home and maximize your chances of selling quickly for close to your asking price. The problem may have nothing to do with the economy, but instead with what you're doing, or not doing, to catch the eye of potential buyers. Are you making any of these mistakes?

No Pictures
The best thing you can do for your listing is to include pictures, a lot of pictures. It's OK to post too many pictures, providing they show off your home in a way that will catch a buyer's eye. If you have a higher-quality phone, that will work fine. If you don't, ask somebody for help. Look at other people's listings and see what kinds of pictures catch your eye and take similar pictures for your home. Take a lot of pictures, but place the best shots at the beginning of the picture album on the listing site.

No Curb Appeal
If you're like many potential buyers, you scour the Internet for listings that fit your criteria and then get in your car and drive by the home. If it looks nice from the outside, you schedule a showing. Your beautifully remodeled kitchen will only ever be seen in a picture if your home doesn't have curb appeal. Trim the trees, fertilize the lawn, replace aging exterior lights and put some work into the landscaping. You have to impress them with the outside before they can fall in love with the inside.

Bad Text
The text that goes with your listing is vitally important, and a little bit of creativity is appropriate. Like any type of writing, stay away from cliché and outlandish claims. How do you know that your home is "the best home on the market." Is your home really "the perfect home for your family" if you've never met the reader? You can confidently say that the neighborhood is well-suited for young children, you've remodeled the kitchen and bathrooms, and the home has quick access to two major highways. Your text space is limited so make it count.

Price Too Low
Everybody knows that pricing a home too high won't produce an offer, but what about pricing too low? Once you price it, it's difficult to raise it back up because it may attract a stream of bargain hunters that are unqualified buyers. One unqualified buyer could take your home off the market for weeks or longer. Unqualified buyers can result in it taking longer to sell your home than if you priced it at market price.

You're Home for the Showing
There's nothing more awkward than walking into somebody's home with your agent only to find the homeowner is still there. You can't speak openly to your agent and, most important, when the owners are there with their dog and children you can't picture the home as your own. When a showing is scheduled, clean your house and take the family out to lunch. If you come back and you see the car in the driveway, run some errands. Don't let the potential buyer see you until the closing.

The Bottom Line
You can't control the economy, the housing market or the quality of your neighbors, but there are parts of the listing you can control. For a home to sell in a challenged housing market, make your home look as polished as possible and don't make the above mistakes.

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