I'm sure you've read the news. Sales are down. Inventories are up. Interest rates - though they're as low as is conceivable - are not pushing sales. And it's as difficult to sell a house now as it's ever been.
Here are three things you can do TODAY to make sure your home NEVER SELLS.
1. Use a few really horrible photos. Our local listing service (In the Indianapolis area, we call it the BLC) permits listing agents to post up to 24 photos of the properties they have in the system. That seems like it should be a no-brainer, right? How many times have you said that when you’re looking at homes online, they must have lots of photos, and they need to be good ones? I hear it from my Buyer clients all the time. Homes with no photos don’t even get considered, and bad photos may be worse. They may make a decent house appear horrible. I can’t get over how many properties in our BLC either have no photos, bad photos, or only a few photos (good or bad). Why not use 24 good photos? Want to know how some people in my profession do their jobs? Check out the Slideshow I've compiled. I have removed the names and companies to protect the guilty, but you can be sure that this is the kind of work that you might be getting from some of the biggest companies and most recognized names in the local market. They should be paying you to sell your house if this is the best they can provide. (Interesting note, one of these photos was used by the agent to sell THEIR OWN HOUSE. For the love of Pete...)
2. Keep it cluttered and overly-personalized. I get this one all the time. How much stuff do I need to take out, and do I need to neutralize? The answers? Everything except what’s absolutely necessary. And yes. Get rid of your DVD collection, your kid’s Pokemon cards, the 7 pairs of sling-backed pumps that you never wear anyway. Ditch the dust-gathering exercise equipment, the 46 sets of holiday dishes, the sewing machine your grandma gave you, and the pasta maker/juicer/bread maker/foot massager that you used once on Christmas day because your kids gave it to you and you feel guilt about not keeping it. Call PODS or SAM or just get a dumpster. You're trying to sell the place, and keeping it looking like an episode of Hoarders isn't going to get the job done. As far as neutralizing goes, there's a bit of flex here, but a typical house in a subdivision ought to be neutralized and staged to look like a model home in the area. There are stagers and furniture rental places who'll help with all of that. It's their buisiness. If you want to sell for top dollar and in the shortest amount of time, you're going to have to use the experts and invest some time, energy and money so that your agent can then do his or her job. No agent can sell a cluttered, filthy, freak show at the highest price possible. If you want to leave it a pit and painted hot pink from stem to stern, that's your choice. Just be prepared to get kicked in the teeth on your price.
3. Set the price too high "just to see what happens." Really? REALLY?!? We know "what happens." You don't sell your house and you waste your time and your agent's efforts marketing an overpriced house. There's no need to experiment. This isn't Biology class. Prices continue to decline, and if you're priced above the competition, you'll be continually chasing prices downward. Think long and hard before pricing anywhere above the average price for comparable sales for the last 6 months. Remember, a 10-month inventory means that you have a 50:50 chance of selling in 10 months.
Contrary to what some might think, a 10-month inventory does NOT mean that it'll take 10 months to sell the homes which are on the market. There will always be new homes coming on to replace the few which do sell. The bucket's always getting refilled. Price it to sell, not to play around and waste your time and your agent's efforts.
Good luck! I hope this helps.