A few months ago we made a popular 2 part blog series all about the myths of home buying. Well, we think it’s about time we bust a few myths about home selling too! Let’s dive right in.
Myth #1: The Zestimate is Accurate
I think I can speak for every REALTOR® when I say that this is our all time favorite. It is all too common for an agent to be at a listing appointment and the seller feels their home is worth more, so they say “well Zillow says my home is worth X”. We always want to say “And when did Zillow come look at your home?” If you think about it, Zillow can only estimate the value of your home based on algorithms it has in place due to recent home sales, active listings, etc. It cannot take into account the aesthetic or functional upgrades you may have installed (or sometimes more importantly, the lack of recent upgrades) on the inside or outside of your home. It cannot take into account every feature that may be a huge selling point in certain markets due to lack of inventory, or in some cases there may be a feature that is a big deterrent as well. Remember, an online home value estimate is not an appraisal, you can read more about this myth hereon NAR’s site.
Myth #2: You Will Save Money by Selling ‘For Sale By Owner’
A lot of sellers think that they will save money is they sell FSBO. FSBOs accounted for 7% of home sales in 2017, and the typical FSBO home sold for $200k compared to $265,500 according to the National Association Of Realtors. A professional REALTOR® will help you determine the appropriate list price for your home by performing a comparative market analysis so you do not price it too high or more importantly, too low. If it is priced too high you risk no showings and never selling, and if it is priced too low you cheat yourself out of extra proceeds. If you list FSBO, odds are you still have to pay a commission to the buyer’s agent that brings you a buyer, and hiring an agent to protect you and handle the seller side of things is well worth the extra commission owed. On average you will still receive more in your sale even with this. There are also some hurdles FSBOs do not think about, such as having to arrange and be present for every showing, answer any and all showings requests and questions about the home, and the #1 reported difficulty was that FSBOs had trouble understanding and filling out the correct paperwork to protect themselves. The contract itself can be daunting but there is more- there are seller disclosures, addendums based on property type or repairs agreed to, etc.
Myth #3: Professional Photos And Staging Are Not Important
A LOT of home buying is psychological – buyers like to see how nice a home can look! We have all seen homes with unprofessional photos that later get relisted with professional ones (and sometimes even include staging) – and guess what? They generally sell much faster. The photos are what get the buyer interested in the first place when they are searching online, there are a lot of homes for sale and you need yours to stand out. Those photos are what get the buyer through the door to your home! Once they are there, they can take “emotional possession” of the property during the showing to see how it feels to “live” in the space. A professional photographer can enhance lighting, colors, angles, and remove clutter to give your home the utmost appeal – and it isn’t even that expensive, just a few hundred in most cases! Some photographers even specialize in video and aerial drone footage too (let’s say you have an amazing yard or neighborhood that you want to show off). Staging the home with a few pieces of nice furniture, wall accents, table settings, even linens on beds and folded towels in bathrooms can do wonders for the home as well. This makes the house feel more like a “home” with a persona feel – which is important to most buyers. There are plenty of professional staging companies you can rent furniture or accents from if you do not have any!
Myth #4: Price Is The Only Important Part of An Offer
When sellers get an offer they get excited about the offer price, and rightfully so. But it is important to consider the other terms of the offer as well, especially if you are one of those lucky sellers to receive multiple offers and need to choose the best one to suit your needs. Highest is not always the best! Other terms like closing date, deposit amount, financing, inspection period, closing cost assistance requests, etc are all very important to consider. You want to choose an offer with strong financing terms (loan type, % down, a solid preapproval letter) so you can have assurance that the deal will make it through to closing. During the inspection period of an “As-Is” contract, buyers get the chance to inspect the home and decide whether or not they want to proceed with the purchase – so a shorter inspection period is always good for sellers if things do go south. That way their home is off the market for the shortest amount of time before going back on. If a buyer is requesting closing cost assistance, that figure will deduct from your final net proceeds from the sale as well. And a bigger deposit gives the buyer more skin in the game. It is best to thoroughly review all terms of an offer with your agent prior to acceptance to make sure which one truly is the “best”, not just the “highest”.
Myth #5: If You Are Selling, Don’t Bother To Make Improvements
A lot of buyers want to purchase a home ready to go without needing any repairs or modernized updates. If it does need repairs or updates, buyers are very likely to offer less money for it since they would need to put the work and money in themselves. Just switching out old dirty carpet for a new one or putting a fresh coat of paint on can do wonders for a home. Colors are important too – perhaps go for a neutral, more widely accepted carpet or paint color instead of something too bright or unique. Say you have a broken toilet or torn screens on your porch, fixing that toilet and rescreening will help your home look better to a potential buyer that doesn’t want to deal with repairs – and it’s not that expensive! Even with the cost of a minor upgrade or repair, it will help you get more for your home overall and can lead to quicker, higher priced offers.