Why Homes Get Stuck On The Market | Bay Area Housing Market

Homes are not sold for small reasons: either happy reasons: new baby,  new job, retirement, wedding, or unhappy reasons: divorce, a death in the family.  Whether good or bad, it is always big and has a lot of drama.

When you make plans to sell your house, you count on receiving proceeds of sale within a certain time frame.  When the sale is not going the way it was initially planned, and the house is getting stuck on the market, it creates a problem.  The question is how to make sure that this will not happened to your sale?

Number One – House should “feel good”

According to Barbara Corcoran, after entering a house for the first time, it takes only 8 seconds for the buyers to decide whether they are interested in your home.  Let’s see what you can do to win buyers during this 8-second checkup:

One of the biggest considerations when making decision about a purchase of main residence is definitely a feel, an emotion.  “Main residence” in human terms means “home’.  And home should feel like home: pleasant, inviting, for some people prestigious and modern, for others cozy and private.   We all are different, and our homes are different.  You, as a homeowner, know the qualities of your home better than anyone, so present your home in a way that will showcase its individuality and style.

Number Two:   Light

Today’s buyers want the house to look light and bright.  If your house lacks natural light, install additional lighting fixtures, LEDs, recess lights, buy bright light bulbs.  You may even consider installing skylights.  And keep the curtains and blinds open.

Number Three:  Create Comfortable and Inviting Atmosphere

It is a good idea to create a nice and positive environment in the house that will appeal to all senses of the new visitors: in the cold winter day - a smell of freshly brewed coffee or aroma of baking cookies, cold refreshing lemonade during hot summer open houses.

Number Four – Staging:

Tasteful professional staging performed by a talented designed is invaluable for buyers’ perception of the house.  During those crucial first 8 seconds in the house, buyers don’t realize that the curtains match the couch pillows, or the big mirror strategically placed on the wall reflects the beautiful garden from any angle.  They “just love it” because it “feels good”.

Staging is more than just nice furniture and accessories. There are special formulas embedded in the staging techniques for helping buyers appreciate the house.  

Imagine you are walking in a kitchen.  It has very few accessories, then in the farthest corner, on the counter you note a big bright ceramic rooster.  And your first thought is: “wow” – this is a BIG kitchen.

Another surprising thing about staging: it is more important to stage small rooms or spaces than the large ones.  The thing is that we tend to underestimate room sizes.  This is why small rooms staged as functional bedrooms or offices will help buyers create realistic picture and suggest future use of the room.

Number Five:  Move-In Condition

Most buyers in today’s world have huge work and family demands.   They all hope that the new house will improve their lifestyle and will bring solutions to their existing problems.  A house in a move-in condition is certainly would be an ideal.

With all this being said, we often hear from the sellers – “I don’t need to do anything before sale because the new owners will change everything anyway.”  In most cases, this is a true statement, however being able to move in and live in the house for a few years while preparing for the future improvements is one thing.  A completely different scenario is when new buyers get themselves in an immediate remodeling project without preparation which creates for them a lot of stress and expenses.  This, without doubts, will be reflected in their offer price for the house.  And to you, dear seller, it will cost a substantial amount of money.

Talk to your realtor about possible upgrades and improvements.  In some cases, it might be just a fresh coat of paint.  In other cases, it could be a new kitchen or bathroom upgrades.  

In order to help sellers finance preparation for sale, we even offer interest-free loans.  Call us and we’ll be glad to share details.

Number Six:  Property Inspections

It is common in our area to provide the future byers with a full disclosure packet.  Among others, it includes information about physical condition of the house and its maintenance history.  Let’s talk about property inspections.  Legally sellers are not obligated to run inspections before putting the house for sale, however there are many components in your house, and when you are selling it, you need to make sure that all of them function properly.  The inspections do exactly this.   

Some sellers decide to avoid upfront inspection costs and let buyers run their own inspections. This might not be the wisest decision.  You basically allow buyer to get a better knowledge of the condition of your house than yourself.  If any hidden problem will surface, it will be a surprise for you and potentially become a big disadvantage in negotiations.

Number Seven:  Marketing

Strong marketing is hugely important for successful sale.  You still need to reach as many potential buyers as possible and put information of the house in front of their eyes.   And the goal is to catch buyers’ interest to the level when they want to come and see the house in person.   Today our marketing toolbox consists of sophisticated combination of multiple high-tech and low-tech channels, which is a big separate discussion on its own.

Number Eight: Pricing

How to price the house? Price it too low and expect a lot of attention and multiple offers?  Or price too high to leave some room for negotiations?  Or maybe price at the level you will be willing to accept? 

The correct answer: it depends.  It depends on many factors.  Overall, pricing of the house – is an interesting combination of logic and intuition, analysis and gut feel, art and science.

And the last message for the sellers:  Whether you sell a contemporary, executive style house or a smaller grandma’s cozy place, when represented well, it will attract the right people and make them buy your house.

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