Three Big Tips for First-Time Home Sellers
Nearly all sellers have trouble selling their home. This is the place that they’ve raised their children, enjoyed holiday gatherings, and brought their own design vision to reality. In addition, numerous laws and practices have changed since they purchased the home.
As a broker, I find that most sellers are unfamiliar with buyer demands. My recommendations to neutralize strong colors, repair items that never bothered the seller or their family, or make specific upgrades are met with resistance. It’s understandable; if these weren’t issues for the last 5, 10, or even 20+ years, why should they matter today?
Unfortunately, too many buyers subsist on an unrealistic diet of HGTV and insist that everything be move-in ready. In addition, repair skills have fallen by the wayside; the average homeowner today has no idea how to make common repairs that were common knowledge not too long ago. Sellers have a choice; they can recognize, adapt, and financially benefit from the HGTV generation or they can lose time while leaving money on the table.
Here are five suggestions to sell your home for as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time.
1. Declutter. Decluttering is difficult enough for sellers who have lived somewhere for just five years. Decluttering will feel insurmountable for sellers who have lived somewhere their whole adult life. I recommend keeping it simple; don’t think of the entire house, just do one room at a time. There’s absolutely no need to overwhelm yourself by looking at the entire house every day!
2. Be patient. Not only does decluttering take a long time, but sometimes it can take a long time to sell the house. Don’t just ask your broker for the average number of days (DOM) to sell in your market and in your price band. Ask them for the average cumulative number of days (CDOM) to sell. CDOM considers all days through all agents that tried to sell the home. DOM only considers the number of days that the Realtor who sold the property encountered.
A client once asked me the number of days they thought it would take to sell some vacant land. They were shocked when I estimated 1.5 years. The client stated that an earlier agent quoted around 150 days. I explained that the other agent ignored CDOM and only glanced at DOM. The client and I reviewed the market together and verified that land sales in that area averaged 1.5 years, although agents who finally sell properties do it in the last 5 months of that 1.5 years.
3. Be ready for changes. Sellers often expect things to be the same as when they bought the property; same forms, same market conditions, same strength or weakness of buyers. This is definitely not the case. The HUD form was phased out within the last few years, market conditions are much different than they were previously, and the buyer pool and their knowledge base is different. Whether real estate or otherwise, absolutely nothing is the same today as it was 5, 10, or 20+ years ago. Sellers cannot expect anything to be the same.
Above all, Sellers need to have a competent professional on their side. They need an honest agent to help them see areas to be repaired and updated, including parts of the home that should be decluttered. They need a competent agent who understands the importance of accurate days on market. And they need a professional to guide them through a changed regulatory environment and a new market.
If you need an agent who will do all of those things honestly and competently, please give me a call or send an email. My name is Mike and I am a Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Brookfield in Waukesha County, WI. You can reach me online here, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (414) 207-2938. It’s always my pleasure to help!