Top Home Selling Tips and Advice


Top Real Estate Sales Advice

Top Home Selling TipsAfter being in the Real Estate business for the last twenty-seven years, I have been involved in all types of markets. I have been through boom times and recently some of the most difficult times you could ever imagine.

With these experiences, I have continued to learn what makes a home sell for the most money, in the shortest period, with the least amount of headaches.

When I interview with a potential seller client, I like to share what works and what doesn’t. I am also candid even if it is not what the homeowner wants to hear. A “yes” man will never be a great Realtor. Keeping this in mind, here are the top home selling tips for Real Estate.

Overpricing A home

Pricing a home properlyThe best piece of home selling advice I can ever give any client is to price the home correctly coming out of the gate.

Overpricing a home is one of the hardest things to overcome. In fact, I tell people all the time that the price you set for a home is 80% of the marketing. What do you mean by that Bill? If you set the wrong price, all of your other efforts to sell the home will be meaningless.

The best online marketing, fantastic photography, beautiful brochures and fancy video tours aren’t going to mean squat if you help sell the competition by overpricing YOUR home.  One of the sure fire ways to prevent your home from selling is to list it at a price that the market will not bear.  Most people don’t like to overpay for any kind of purchase, never mind one as large as a home.

Selling a property can become an emotionally charged event.  Many people think of their homes as an extension of who they are and their life time memories.  Our homes are places where some of the most important events and memories in our lives occur. From holiday gatherings, birthday parties, the baby’s first steps, to simple things like family meals. These are all extraordinary things to many of us.

When selling a home, however, you need to take the emotion out of it and think of it strictly as a business transaction. Trust me I know this can be hard to do!

Keep in mind that market value is determined by what a motivated and qualified buyer is willing to pay for your home, not simply what you feel it should be worth. Carefully looking at comparable sales data is very important. The last thing you want as a seller is to let “the days on market” become inflated. I can tell you with certainty every buyer will ask their Realtor how long has the home been on the market. Buyer’s do this because they want to know how much they can negotiate.

A home that has been on the market for a long time is inviting lower offers. Over the years I have met numerous sellers that have explained they want to try a higher price because they have all the time in the world to sell. Folks this is totally incorrect thinking. In Real Estate time is your enemy NOT your friend. The longer it takes to sell your home the fewer dollars you will be putting in your pocket. Without question the number one home selling tip that any Realtor should be giving to their client is to price the home correctly from day one!

Neglecting Necessary Home Repairs

Top Real Estate TipsIn a challenging Real Estate market otherwise known as a “buyers market”, the condition of a home becomes critical. In a tough Real Estate environment the homes that need work of the ones that take a beating at the negotiating table. Buyer’s today are spoiled.

They do not want to lift a finger. Buyers to move into their home and that’s it. They look for turn-key properties where the owner has taken pride in their home. Buyer’s today have plenty of choices, and they know it!

If you put yourself in the customer’s shoes for a moment, it would probably be easy enough to see why they won’t settle for a home they need to invest a significant amount of time and money into when they can go down the street and find something else without these headaches.

If you have a substantial amount of issues be prepared for a second round of negotiations after the buyer does a home inspection. In a buyers market a home inspection is often used as an opportunity to renegotiate the deal. This makes it imperative to ensure you are keeping up with your property in order to get top dollar. Right or wrong a buyer is going to try to maximize the best deal they can get. When you have not prepared for the home inspection the door has been left open for a buyer to seek to get more from you.

Neglecting To Stage and Prepare For Sale

Massachusetts home stagingThere are times where some folks just don’t have the money to make repairs for some major items. This is where the appeal and showing condition of the rest of the home become critical.

First and foremost the home should be cleared off all clutter and unnecessary items. The term “de-cluttering a home” is one that is often used in Real Estate circles. If you have no where to put the items in the home to maximize the appearance I would suggest either putting them in storage or getting a temporary solution such as PODS. PODS are the containers that allow you to store items right on your property in a compact container.

Making sure your home shows well is an absolute necessity in a competitive market. For some excellent tips see Massachusetts home staging.  If you don’t have the time or the inclination, you may want to hire a professional home stager to take care of actually putting your home in showplace condition. A professional stager can make a run of the mill home and turn it into something special. If you have your mind set on getting your property spruced up yourself here are 21 additional great home staging tips to get you started.

One of the things that will bring the biggest bang for your buck if needed is painting. First impressions in home sales are critical. Since painting is relatively inexpensive, I would consider this one of the top home selling tips for changing a homes appearance. A fresh coat of paint on walls and wood work can dramatically improve homes feel.

You will want to stay as neutral as possible with your color selections. Light earth tones work really well when selling a home.  Keep in mind you want your home to appeal to the masses! Don’t get caught up in selecting colors that appeal to you. Remember you are making selections based on selling. Often times sellers forget this and make choices based on their taste, not would appeal to the most people. This is the reason you will see many of the national home builders hiring professional decorators to assist with the design and staging details.

One last tip is to eliminate any odd decor items that may appeal to your unique sense of style, but which may appear strange to buyers.

Getting Hung Up On The Small Stuff

Home Selling AdviceTop home selling tip # 4 is not to lose site of the goal of selling your home! There are times in my career where sellers get worked up over some of the most little issues. It could be the buyer has just rubbed them the wrong way, and because of this, they lose focus. A few times over the years I have seen sellers almost blow an entire deal over $500.

When you are selling your home, you need to keep the big picture in mind rather than allowing yourself to get hung up on something small. For example, is it worth blowing the sale over a cheap repair?

  • Turning A Business Issue Into An Emotional Issue

As previously mentioned, a home sale is just a business transaction, although it can often be difficult to make this distinction when you have so much of yourself and your finances invested into your home.  On some occasions over the years, I have had clients who didn’t like the people buying their home.

I have had to gently remind them that they will not have to deal with the buyer for very long and will soon be moving on with their lives.  Don’t let your emotions prevent you from getting your home sold.  If you don’t like the buyers, does it matter as long as the terms are in your favor? Keep the big picture in mind and get to the closing table!

Trying To Sell For Sale By Owner

Massachusetts For sale by ownerNationally, over 80% of all homes listed “for sale by owner” end up failing to sell and then end up listing with an agent.  Clearly, this is a very poor success rate which gets even worse in tougher times. There are a host of reasons why so many Massachusetts Real Estate for sale by owners fail. These include improper price, lack of marketing and accessibility to the home among others.

To be sure, there can be exceptions, such as when you are in a great area with high visibility such as a main road.

If you do decide to “go it alone”, keep in mind that you are responsible for screening everyone that sees the house, and for being available during the day for showings. When selling for sale by owner you will also need to make sure the buyer is qualified. It is highly advisable that you understand the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and pre-approval letter. There is a very big difference between these two mortgage terms. When selling a home it is advisable that you make sure the buyer has been pre-approved for a loan. A pre-qualification letter does very little to prove the buyer has the ability to procure a mortgage for your home. This is a home selling tip you do not want to overlook!  These are all details that a Real Estate agent can and will handle for you.

Choosing The Wrong Realtor

Home Selling Tip - Pick a Great RealtorOther than over pricing your home the next biggest mistake that many consumers make is picking the WRONG Realtor to represent their best interest. The problem is that many people think all Realtors do the same things to sell homes. This could not be further from the truth! Trust me there are some great agents and others that are clueless.

If you choose the wrong Realtor to list your home, it is a difficult mistake to overcome during the sales process.  If the agent has pushy or argumentative personality, run the other way! Above all else choose and honest and ethical real estate agent.

Some Realtors will mislead you by giving you an inflated value for your home to get you to list the home with them. They then brow beat you for price reductions for the remainder of the contract until the home sells.

Primarily, you want someone who is friendly, loyal, honest, and who has your best needs in mind. Having someone who knows market values inside and out is crucial. The Realtor you hire should be making sure you understand what homes you are competing with and which homes have recently sold.

Lastly, an agent with excellent marketing skills is worth their weight in gold. Make sure the Realtor you choose knows how to market your home online This should be a critical piece of the agent selection process. Asking great Real Estate interview questions of the Realtor can go a long way in selecting a real pro! Real Estate agents are a dime a dozen. Since there are so many it is easy to make the wrong selection. Do your home work like you would selecting any other contractor.

Selling At The Wrong Time

Selling home wrong time of yearSelling with bad timing can happen in a few different ways:

  • You decide to sell your home but have nowhere to go to.
  •  You put your home on the market immediately before you have to move.
  • You decide to sell at the wrong time of year.

If you don’t have a clue where you are going to buy next, it is probably not the greatest idea to put your home on the market, unless you just cannot afford your home anymore. The inevitable outcome of listing too soon is that you will get an offer from someone who wants to move into the home right away. You will then be forced to either reject the offer or move to temporary housing. The flip side of this is finding a home you love and then not being in a position to buy because you don’t have your home sold.

It’s never too early to contact a Realtor and ask when you should list with your particular needs and timing. We sometimes have clients who spend too much time getting their homes ready to sell, and they end up missing the big selling window in our market.  Don’t spend an inordinate amount of time preparing your home for sale and end up missing the primary selling season. Here in Massachusetts, the best time to sell a home is in the Spring.

Not Giving Buyers Access or Having Accompanied Showings

Accompanied Real Estate ShowingsHome buyers should not be made to work around your ideal schedule. If it is a reasonable time of day LET THEM LOOK.  Even if things are in disarray, LET THEM LOOK.  Even if the buyer’s agent doesn’t give you any notice, LET THEM LOOK. Every showing you miss is a lost opportunity that you many NEVER get back. I can’t even count how many times over the years where a seller refused a showing and a buyer never made it back to the house because they found something else before doing so!

Although we like Realtors to call for showings the day before they happen (or at least several hours ahead of time), there are times when a buyer will spot a sign or see something online and want to see it right away.  Sometimes this is the home they end up buying.  Keep that in mind when you have your home listed.

Make showing your home as easy as possible. DO NOT require accompanied Real Estate showings. Realtors do not sell homes. Homes sell themselves! A home purchase is an emotional transaction – NOT a sales pitch. Click the link to see why buyers do not need or want a listing agent present at the showing. Not having a listing agent present for the showings is one of the top home selling tips that many homeowners don’t realize.

You should also vacate the home. At the very least go for a walk so the buyer can feel comfortable speaking to their agent in private.  Buyers never feel at ease when you are in the home hovering around them.  Let them look on their terms, not yours.  If you are concerned about valuables, lock them up somewhere. Most importantly a lock box is highly advisable! Don’t make a Realtor NOT want to show your home.

Buying The Wrong Home In The First Place

Ugly ShackThis is where a good buyer’s agent is necessary for a customer to make a smart decision. After all, at some point, you will be probably be selling the home.

While you are certainly able to think on your own, an excellent buyer’s agent will advise you against buying something that is not a wise investment. Things, like being near a hazardous waste site or close to a loud highway, might not be right decisions. When it comes time to sell, you will be glad you listened.

Following all these top home selling tips will significantly increase your chances for a smooth and effortless home sale. Best of luck!

Additional Top Home Selling Tips Worth Reading:

Use these additional top home selling tips and advice to get your home sold quickly and for top dollar. If you follow the advice given you will almost guarantee yourself a stress-free real estate transaction.

About the author: The above Real Estate information on top home selling tips was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 29+ years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

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  1. Susan says

    I totally agree with you Bill – pricing the property properly is the key, secondly I would say getting or having the house “show ready” inside and out.

    • admin says

      Susan there is no doubt that many home sellers will do all of the top home selling tips but pricing the home properly and then will be trying to find some other excuse as to why it hasn’t sold.

  2. says

    Hi Bill, great blog and I love how you mention that it is a business transaction. If the seller can accept that it probably eliminates a lot of the other issues that come up with regards to repairs etc. Love the new blog!

    • admin says

      Thanks Jarred! Sometimes it is hard to for home owners to separate themselves emotionally but this one of the best selling tips. More often than not emotions get in the way of sound decisions.

  3. says

    Great information. Also, you touched an important point of the buyer having a buyer representative. It is always advisable to have a good Realtor working for you as a buyer’s representative. Realtors can give you insight into a property because they know the neighborhoods and have access to comparative market analysis reports.

  4. says

    Hi Bill – These are great points and all very well-explained. The one that I think is not mentioned frequently enough is buying the wrong home in the first place. When I work with buyers, I want them to understand that one of the things they should consider is how easy it will be resell the home down the road if they choose to. Things like funky layouts, low ceilings, obvious hazards, location, etc. all determine how easy or difficult it will be to sell it. It’s a home but it’s also an investment.

    • admin says

      Peggy you and I are definitely on the same page! One of the things I have never worried about is where my next pay check is coming from. I have actually talked clients out of purchasing a property. Most Realtors would not do that as it is taking money out of their pocket. A home certainly should be looked at as an investment as you never know when you may have to sell.

  5. says

    Hi Bill-Thank you so much for writing this article. As we are speaking-I’m printing copies of it and will have include it as part of my listing package and buyers package. It’s just so much more creditable coming from another expert.

  6. says

    Well said, Bill! Thinking like an investor when making their purchase, especially having a good balance of the functional and esthetic needs; along with the financial ability to buy — makes for many years of happy home ownership along with better results at the time to sell.

  7. Colleen calzone says

    I agree with the pricing issues 100%. We hired an agent she brought us comps. We sat and listened and thought being educated on pricing to sell. To find out the hard way we had over priced. The comp. range we selected we thought and advised was low. The marketing from the start was a mess, from one house picture to sloppy pictures and sloppy video. I began doing my homework, and started guestioned everything. We corrected the pictures, but then to see on some sites the old and new were put together. The agent never felt there was a problem with anything. We have switched realtors and the price is we’re it should be. But, the house has been on the market now for 70 plus days. We have not received one offer, just lowered the price again. We have decided one more open house then were done. The biggest lesson we have learned , if sounds to good it usually is! Don’t get in over your heads decorating ( waiste of money). Price it right and go a little lower. Paint, clean and clean some more, replace out dated items. Interview realtors and then check them out on the Internet. Selling a home today has become a science. Educate yourself and sell your home correctly. The market is changing everyday, what your house was worth last month can actually change today. Good luck!!

    • says

      Colleen sorry to hear about your home sale troubles. This happens quite a bit when folks do not do their home work and interview multiple agents. There have been so many times in my career where I am the second or third Realtor coming in to finally get the job done for the seller.

  8. says

    That tip that stuck out to me was “Not Giving Buyers Access or Having Accompanied Showings”. Just yesterday, I phone a seller to schedule a 5pm showing after my client got off work. The seller felt it was to late to show and would not allow us. I wasn’t sure if I was more shocked that now 5pm was late or I couldn’t show the home.

  9. says

    That is a comprehensive list that I need to share with sellers out here in California. I especially agree with comment on how people allow their emotions get too involved in the business transaction of selling a home. I’ve experienced this first hand when I sold my home where we had so many memories with the kids growing up and great neighbors in the cul-de-sac.

    • says

      Brad I would appreciate you sharing the article! In my experience there are a lot of folks that become emotional in Real Estate transactions. This is where a good Realtor can come in and be a calming influence.

    • says

      Terri what some sellers don’t understand is that every showing that is turned away can become a lost opportunity. Most of the time the seller thinks that if they refuse a showing the buyer will just come back another day. Not so fast!! On numerous occasions over the years I have seen buyers put offers on other properties and never make it back to the home that did not let them in.

  10. says

    I agree Bill, that seller should may every opportunity available for buyers to be able to view their property and that it should be done with them not being there. Seller hanging around is one of the greatest impediment to a home selling.

  11. says

    Excellent blog with some great information! #4 is something we see a lot in this business. There have been many times we have had to direct people away from the small stuff and back to the task at hand. I am aware of one deal that ended up in court over a light switch! Granted it was a special WW11 commemorate light switch but it certainly was not worth the time and money it took to close the deal. Sometimes I think the seller is just experiencing some separation anxiety and on some level is finding it difficult to let go of their home and all the memories associated with it.

    On another note: In Florida it is particularly important to stage the outdoor spaces of your home. If patios, screen rooms, yards and pool areas are clean and well-kept the buyers will get a good first impression and may even fall in love with your home because of the gorgeous its outdoor spaces. If the yard is overgrown and the weeds are taking over, buyers get the impression that upkeep is going to be overwhelming. It is very difficult to overcome a negative first impression and first thing they see is the front yard!

  12. says

    People want the most they can get out of their home. Truth is, so does the listing agent. Their salary is based on commission. However, overpricing does not mean the agent will get a larger commission. Most likely they will spend time, money and energy in a friutless effort. If the market (determined by what a buyer will pay) is down, it may be the seller would desire to wait until the market increases. Agents that overprice to get/buy a listing is what gives the stigma that real estate agents are bad. A good agent will state the facts and tell a client if the clients expectations may be too high. Overpriced listings just add to the inventory and are of no real value to the market. Yes, timing is everything. If the timing is bad, expect to make less.

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