Marketing can be a tricky business in selling a home. Certain strategies that sound good on the surface can actually impede the process and cause a home to languish on the market. Here are five bad I've come across over the years, and why they don't work.
My listing agent must be present at each showing.
This sounds great. After all, who knows the house better than the one who wrote the advertising for it and has seen every nook and cranny? But requiring your Realtor to be present every time another agent brings a client will actually REDUCE the number of showing you have. Why? Because your listing agent has more to do than wait for the phone to ring to show your home. And if he has an appointment with his own buyers for a $2 million home showing in Tuxedo Park, he won't be showing a $400,000 high ranch in New City at the same time.
We want an open house every weekend.
Open houses are very effective tools for Realtors. They bring them a lot of prospective buyers who may not be working with another Realtor and are thus valuable potential clients! But do open houses sell homes? They used to when the industry didn't have web sites, online visual tours and digital photography. But times have changed. Buyers who have access to real estate web sites (and they all do) don't need to spend their Sundays attending a seemingly endless series of open houses. They make a short list of homes they find online and call their real estate agent to see them.
Any money I spend on improvements to my house I'll get back when I sell.
Believe it or not, in a study reported in Forbes Magazine comparing the costs of various improvements and their return on investment when selling, only one actually brought more money than it cost: replacing a fiberglass front door with a steel one. If the home has a seriously dated kitchen or bathroom, needs floors or windows or other capital improvements to sell, they have to be done. But putting in a $25,000 kitchen, adding a sun-room or a state of the art home office just doesn't pay.
I'm waiting for the market to peak before I sell.
Don’t obsess with trying to time the market and figure out when is the best time to sell. Trying to anticipate the housing market is impossible. The best time to buy is when selling meets your needs and your situation. Real estate is cyclical, it goes up, it goes down and it goes back up again. So, if you try to wait for the perfect time, you’re probably going to miss out.
I know what my house is worth and I'm not giving it away!
Sellers may well think they know what their property is worth, but a seasoned Realtor knows for sure. Often owners' ideas are clouded by extraneous facts that no longer apply. If a similar house down the street sold for "X" dollars a few years ago, it's nearly certain that the current values in the neighborhood are not the same. Realtors have some very useful tools to determine pricing - current comparative price studies, knowledge of the area and the market, and computer programs which have been developed and adopted industry-wide. If a house isn't getting offers even though it's getting showings, something is most likely wrong with the price.