Getting a Massachusetts home sold today is a lot more difficult than it used to be. The fact of the matter is that there are far fewer buyers that can qualify to buy a home today. We all know that lending practices have tightened, and rightfully so. Millions of people have lost their homes either via a short sale or foreclosure and can no longer think about being a homeowner.
When the housing supply exceeds the demand, it creates an environment that home sellers really need to be conscious of. When there is an imbalance in the market between the number of buyers and sellers, the process of selling a home becomes far more competitive. The most important factor in getting any home to sell is to make sure the home is priced properly. Without the correct list price, you will be in an uphill battle to sell your home.
Besides a proper list price and a well-coordinated marketing campaign, another top consideration is to make a good first impression on the buyer. Most buyers today have the option and will take advantage of looking at lots of homes. As a seller, you want to make sure your home stands out from the competition, and I don’t mean in a bad way! Here is some simple advice on what NOT to do when selling your home:
Wet Basements and Leaky Roofs
One of the biggest obstacles any Massachusetts home seller faces is the threat of water in their home. There is nothing that will turn off a home buyer more than dealing with a water problem. Any buyer that has ever dealt with a water issue will certainly cross your home off the list no matter how nice it is. The thought of water penetration scares even the most hardened buyer. My advice is simple. Make sure you get it corrected before the home ever hits the market. Don’t wait for the home inspection to take place and have the inspector inform the buyer that the home takes on water. If the water is entering the basement invest in a sump pump and a dehumidifier when it is an older home. If the property is younger and the basement has the potential to be finished, you are going to want to make certain that it is bone dry. This could include getting a B-Dry system if necessary. If you don’t correct the problem you will be rendering the lower level useless to a buyer.
Think you want to hide your water issue from the buyer? Think again! This is a Massachusetts property disclosure issue that you could easily get sued on. Always disclose what you know, especially if you do not intend to fix the issue.
Your Home Stinks
Strong odors in a home are clear turn-offs to buyers. Whether the smell is from smoking--which, by the way, you are probably so accustomed to, you don’t even notice--or to pet odors, you want to make sure they are gone by the time the for sale sign hits the lawn. Another common pitfall occurs from strong cooking odors. While you may not find the odors offensive, you are not buying your home – someone else is! Sometimes getting rid of such smells as smoke, pet odors, mildew, and others can be difficult. If you find that standard household cleaning items do not do the job, we would recommend getting an ozone machine. A powerful ozone machine can do wonders for removing home odors.
Let the Light in
Buyers are attracted to clean bright homes where there is an abundance of natural light. One of the easiest things to do is to make sure all the blinds in curtains are drawn in your home. I can not tell you how many homes I go into that are not staged properly. Letting the light into all the rooms in your home is one of the most cost-efficient home-selling tips. Due to the positioning of some homes, there will be rooms that will be dark whether or not the curtains are drawn. In this instance, you want to make sure you have some lights that are on timers during the day. While natural sunlight is preferred a few well-placed lamps are better than nothing!
Outdated Decor and Too Much Stuff
Most home sellers incorrectly assume that every buyer should be able to see beyond the orange shag carpets, yellow toilets, and checkerboard dining room wallpaper. Sorry folks, they don’t. Most buyers do not have that sense of vision. Even if you find one that does, you can be sure they will be discounting their offer to remedy the problem.
Making these kinds of improvements to a home can go a long way in assisting the saleability. Replacing carpets, painting, and removing wallpaper are simple and inexpensive fixes. If you just have too much “stuff” that has accumulated in your home over the years, you may want to think about storing some of it in the garage or basement if you have the room. If not, you should give serious consideration to renting either a POD or storage facility. To really make your home stand out from the crowd, you could always consider hiring a professional stager. Lastly, your stuffed moose head on the wall and the flashing neon bar sign are only impressive to you.
Don’t Hang Around the Home
This is Real Estate 101. Many sellers are extremely proud of their homes. There is certainly nothing wrong with that but you don’t want it to get in the way of your sale. It is rare that a buyer is going to want a guided tour of your home. This is the Realtor's job. Your home is going to sell itself. If the buyer is emotionally connected to your home, you have nothing to worry about.
Unfortunately, your pride and the tour are not what will be the deciding factor if they decide to purchase. More often than not, the buyer and their agent are not going to feel comfortable if you remain in the home. The same holds true for sellers who believe accompanied showings help sell homes. They do not!