As we are in the Top 1% of Pinellas County Realtors, we often meet with Sellers interested in listing their homes with us. Sometimes we have to educate our Sellers about what’s really going on in the market. Here are some common unrealistic expectations we hear. If you are selling your St. Petersburg home and this sounds like you – seek the advice of a Top Pinellas County Realtor – and yours will be the next home with a SOLD sign out front!
1. Seller: Everyone loves cats! My 50,000 cat figurines in the living room won’t be a turnoff to potential buyers.
Realtor Reality Check: Have you ever walked through a model home? Notice how everything is usually quite minimal so that the Buyer’s eye can picture their own furniture and belongings in the home? Clean lines – no clutter. That is the goal when selling your home. You are moving, so pack the 50,000 cat figurines and put them in the garage or attic, or even a storage unit.
2. Seller: What do you mean you want me to paint the purple kitchen walls a more neutral color?
Realtor Reality Check: I just saw a $1.5 Million house listed and in the MLS photos the walls in the kitchen were dark purple. Realize, all people are looking at is the purple. If you paint them a neutral color, they will notice those nice stainless appliances and granite countertops.
3. Seller: Can’t we just try pricing it at $50,000 over market value? Maybe that ONE buyer will fall in love with it and pay it!
Realtor Reality Check: I get this one ALL. THE. TIME. It doesn’t work, number one, and number two, realize that I as your Realtor am spending money out of my pocket to market your overpriced home. I only get paid once it sells. So why would I spend my hard earned money when I know it is not going to sell for $50,000 over the real market value? That one buyer is not out there, and the ones who are probably have MLS searches set up at a lower price point where yours should be listed. I’m happy to list a home slightly over where I think it might be with a clause in the listing agreement that if we do not have showings in the first few weeks, we both agree to a price reduction. No showings in the first two weeks statistically means you are at least 10% overpriced. Pricing a home is not an exact science, but by looking at Sold comparable properties in the neighborhood, we can usually get a pretty good idea of where a home will sell.
4. Seller: I want to sell my home completely as-is. No staging, no cleaning, no repairs. They can take it or leave it. I love it, so will they.
Realtor Reality Check: At any one time, your home is in competition with 7 to 12 other homes that a buyer is viewing. In order for yours to stand out and be chosen, it needs to be the best price in the best condition. If one of those other 12 homes is in better condition …it just might win out. Making some simple staging adjustments or packing up knick knacks and cleaning your carpets could go a long way. Listen to your agent.
5. Seller: Ms. Realtor, I won’t agree to a price reduction, you just aren’t marketing it enough. I want a full page color ad in every Sunday paper about my house! Oh and I want open houses every Saturday and Sunday!
Realtor Reality Check: Let’s say you are buying milk. Publix has milk for $2.99 a gallon. Sweetbay has milk for $9.99 a gallon – but Sweetbay has dancing bears on their roof holding signs that say “MILK! Sweetbay! $9.99 a gallon!” and paratroppers falling from the sky holding signs that say “Sweetbay – Milk – $9.99!” Where are you going to buy your milk? Publix, right, because its cheaper? You see, buyers are the same way. They are looking for value. It doesn’t matter how much marketing you do if your product is overpriced (or in poor condition). Buyers want the best home for the least amount of money, just like you want quality milk at a low price. No number of full page ads or open houses (or dancing bears or paratroopers) is going to do the trick. By the way – statistically less than 1% of homes sell to a buyer via seeing it at an open house. Food for thought. And with our comprehensive marketing plan, there’s just no way its not being marketed enough. 🙂
6. Seller: But we did $30,000 in kitchen renovations in 2008, so can’t we increase the price by that much?
Realtor Reality Check: That’s great that you did improvements, but they were for your enjoyment. And yes, they may help with selling the house more quickly if other homes in the area don’t have the same types of updates. But you can not expect to get a 100% return on your investment from 5+ years ago.
7. Seller: My house is so much nicer than Bob’s, my next door neighbor, and HIS house is listed at $250,000, so I should be able to list for $300,000, right?
Realtor Reality Check: Homes that are actively listed on the market don’t matter. Bob could list his house at $250,000 and maybe its market value is really $225,000, so its been sitting with no offers. What matters much more are SOLD comparable properties. Ask your agent to show you what Sally’s house down the street sold for a month ago – this will give you a truer idea of what a buyer may be willing to pay for yours.