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.
There are also millions of people that have lost their homes either via a short sale or foreclosure that can no longer think about being a home owner.
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 up hill battle to sell your home. Besides a proper list price and a well coordinated marketing campaign, another top consideration is to make a good 1st 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 high 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 the property is a 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 house hold cleaning items do not do the job, I 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 that 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 of 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 is 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 checker board dining room wall paper. Sorry folks they don’t. Most buyer do not have that sense of vision.
Even if you find one that does you can be sure they will be discounting their offer less than what the actual cost is to remedy the problem. Making these kind of improvements to a home can go a long way in assisting the saleability.Replacing carpets, painting and removing wall papers 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 getting 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. I have also put some tips together about staging a Massachusetts home for sale. 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. Over the years I have met some sellers who are extremely prideful of their place. 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 Realtors 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!
About the author: The above Real Estate information on Massachusetts home buyer turn offs was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.
Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Upton, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, and Douglas.
Bill, you are spot on with this article. Now more than ever, sellers MUST be BRUTALLY honest with themselves and and the REAL state of their homes, especially when it comes to water, smells, clutter, and curb appeal. If sellers think that today’s buyer’s can’t sniff out water, mold, clutter, mess, smells, they need to think again. The smart and successful sellers today are the ones who are cleaning up their act way before going on the market. The BEST Realtors (and the ones who will survive this market) are those who are HONEST with sellers, Nice piece!
Katherine you are right about brutally honesty! There are many Realtors that have a hard time doing that for fear they will not get the listing is they come across as being too critical of a sellers home. It is so important today to have a home looking it’s best. it can easily be the difference between having a sale or not.
I almost always leave David Knox’s videos with them or send them ahead of my listing appointment. “Preparing your home to sell” and “pricing your home to sell”. That usually gets the point across without me saying it.
Hearing the message from someone else is always a powerful tool Nancy. Sometimes it takes hearing it a few times before seller’s realize just how important it is to present their homes well. The competition for homes sales of course is fierce today!
So true in any market. I was recently showing a Charlottesville home and the smell was so bad, I had to go outside.
In today’s market, if your home isn’t “show ready”, you run the risk of losing a buyer as soon as they open the front door. It’s a cliche, but true, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression…make it a lasting one!
No doubt about it Anita! Homes that are not in show ready condition get punished severely today by buyers when it comes time to make an offer if you even make it that far..
Great article. 90% of my last clients walked away from properties which either were dirty, smelled bad, were cluttered, and showed apparent damages/issues without giving the home a chance. As you said the pricing is crucial but also the condition of the home. In our current market buyers are looking for “Turn Key” homes. It pays to do the repairs or get a stager to make the most of your home – prior to listing.
Claudia I could not agree with you more about how difficult it is in today’s market to sell a home that is not in excellent shape. Sometimes it is just a matter of cleaning up the place and sellers do not realize how much of a difference it can make when buyer’s have tons of homes to look at!
Today’s buyers want to move right in, so if sellers refuse to address issues such as a wet basement the home will sit.