Any agent can sell the beautiful home that is priced right.
I’m not suggesting that having an agent isn’t important for beautiful homes. There is a lot more to selling a home than just finding the buyer.
A top notch real estate agent will help you:
- set the right price
- present the home so it looks as good as possible
- negotiate a contract that takes into consideration all of the terms, not just the price
- deal with situations that arise related to the loan approval, appraisal, survey and title
- understand what are repairs you really should do, and which repairs it’s ok to say no when the buyer asks
Plus a dozen other things that come up between listing a home and when the deal closes.
Hard to Sell Homes:
It is even more important to choose the right agent if your home has a challenge that will turn off a lot of buyers.
In a market where about 25% of all homes that are listed FAIL to sell at all, there isn’t a guarantee that putting your home on the market means you will sell it.
4 Things that Keep Homes from Selling:
When a home is listed but fails to sell, usually at least one of these 4 things is to blame.
- Pricing the house too high – buyers look at a lot of homes and quickly get a sense of what homes are worth. They also have agents who will confirm that a home is priced appropriately before they make an offer by looking at nearby homes that sold in the last year. If a home is priced much more than 10% from what the buyer thinks it is worth, they will rarely make an offer.
- Poor presentation – sellers need to remember that living in a house and selling a house aren’t the same thing. When your house is on the market, every time you walk out the door the dishes need to be done, beds should be made and everything should be clean. Dog poo in the yard should be picked up and the litter box needs to smell clean. Furniture often needs to be rearranged and excess belongings need to be packed away. And don’t forget to set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature. You want people to dawdle, not rush out because it is more frigid inside than it is outside.
- Access isn’t easy – whenever possible, sellers need to let buyers come see the house when they want to see it. Saying no to a showing might mean they never see it at all. Or if they do come back, they immediately think that the seller will be inflexible during negotiations. The worst thing, however, is when sellers are home during the showing. Buyers will not feel comfortable when sellers are home (even if they go sit outside). They won’t spend the time talking about where they would put grandma’s hutch or the wall they want to take down. If they don’t have those conversations while standing in the house, they won’t buy it.
- Deal breakers – many homes have something about them that will eliminate the majority of buyers. It might be the outdated kitchen, wallpaper, a lot that isn’t very usable or backs to a busy street. When a home has a deal breaker for a large percentage of buyers, it’s even more important that the house is priced to reflect that challenge, has great presentation and easy access.
What About Marketing?
While I’m a big believer that quality marketing is very important, we see homes with terrible photos sell all of the time. If the house is great and it is priced right, it will sell.
However, it might not sell as fast, and that almost always means a lower sale price. In a hot seller’s market with limited inventory, the best homes that have great marketing often have multiple offers which drive up the sale price. Poor marketing means that buyers will trickle in one at a time and it’s unlikely a bidding war will occur.
The agent who doesn’t put an emphasis on marketing also is more likely to run into the other problems I mentioned earlier. They are less likely to be problem solvers who look for ways to deal with the challenges that come up in a contract…which can often lead to a deal falling apart.
Feedback is Critical with Hard to Sell Homes:
While there are homes that sell as soon as they hit the market, most do not.
The feedback provided by buyers who have seen the home but opted NOT to make an offer is critical in understanding if changes need to be made.
When the majority of buyers seeing the house say the house is overpriced or say it just is average, it’s time to talk about a price drop. When 10 people come through the home and give it a 3 star rating, the odds are you probably won’t find someone who thinks it’s a 5 star and will make an offer.
But feedback is more than just finding out if buyers think the house is overpriced. It’s important to know what they like and what they don’t. If they don’t like the size of the kitchen, there isn’t anything you can do to change that. But if they don’t like the red jacuzzi tub, you can have it painted.
As soon as this tub was refinished in a neutral off-white, all objections about the bathroom stopped and we had an offer quickly.
I also want to know if the buyers are local or relocating. Relocating buyers aren’t usually prepared to take on updating. They don’t know any local contractors and they have enough on their plate just finding softball leagues for the kids and finding new friends.
I want to know if my listing is at the top, middle or bottom of their price range. Buyers rarely buy something at the bottom of their price range. They do buy homes at the top of their price range, but only when the house is so much better than what they could get if they spent a little less.
Knowing more about the buyer helps you decide how much weight to place on the feedback. If I know that the buyer is relocating and I’m selling a home that needs a lot of work, I’m less concerned with negative feedback than if that buyer was local.
What Questions Do I Ask Buyers Who See My Listings?
Most agents use default feedback forms with questions that don’t drill down to the information needed to use the feedback constructively.
I have created a custom feedback questionnaire which gives me the information I need so I can understand who is seeing my listings and if changes need to be made in the price or home presentation. While every buyer agent doesn’t answer every question, patterns in the responses can tell us a lot.
Here is the feedback on one of my current listings:
I also ask open ended questions:
- What would you consider the home’s best features?
- What would you consider the home’s features that need the most improvement?
- What do you think the home will sell for?
Hire Me to Sell Your St. Louis Home:
I specialize in selling homes regardless of whether they will be the hot listing to hit the market or if they have a challenge that makes it much harder to sell.
I have a track record of successfully selling challenging homes. I’ve sold homes in flood zones, homes without basements and homes that need a lot of updates.
In the last 3 years, I have sold 92% of the homes I was hired to sell. Not a single client fired me and then hired an agent who was able to get the house sold. Compare that to only 75% of the listed homes selling in the overall market, and you have a much better chance of success if you hire me. Especially with a challenging home.
If you are thinking of selling a home, give me a call at 314-265-8073 and let’s talk about your options.
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