4 common behavioural mistakes that can make your agent go crazy
and turn off potential buyers
For most of us it is very difficult to see a situation or an object through somebody else’s eyes. This is especially the case for something you are so familiar with as your own home, even a holiday home. Living in it every day, even only during your holidays, developing your own routines and habits, decorating it to your own taste, which some of us do more consciously than others, all these undeniably put your stamp on your house or apartment.
Things you have grown so familiar with and which are so natural to you however, may seem rather odd or even shocking to other people. Naturally it is pointless to discuss about taste and colour, but when it comes to getting a good price for your property, the only taste that counts, is the one of the buyer.
This may come as a shock, but however much effort you have put in trimming and decorating your property, is of no importance to 99% of the buyers. The only thing they need when visiting your property is to be able to image themselves living in it. That is all the more difficult when your house or apartment is loaded with many of your personal belongings, decorated with extravagant colours or when the atmosphere is pregnant with the very emphatic presence of the owner him- or herself…
So let us see how to avoid this, how to make it easy for a buyer to see through it and be attracted to your property and, ultimately, how to motivate him to make a good offer.
These four things seriously affect an agent’s (and thus your) chances for a successful sale at the best price and in the shortest amount of time.
Failing to keep the home clean
This may sound logical, but you could not imagine what a real estate agent may encounter when trying to prepare a property for a visit.
Of course it is not easy to keep things clean and tidy when you are using your holiday home or when friends or holiday tenants are occupying it.
But when you have to wade through tons of sand from the beach at the door, followed by an obstacle course of slippers and drying towels, the dogs drool covered ball on the couch and kids’ toys everywhere, as a buyer it would be difficult to see yourself living here.
When you put your property for sale, it is good to have a plan to have it ready for a showing on short notice. If you think ahead you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress, by determining a spot where you can quickly evacuate the clutter out of a visitor’s view. Naturally it also helps to be “buyer aware” at all times, in the first place by avoiding clutter and dust piling up.
Never forget it is all about ensuring a potential buyer a positive experience.
Holding an exhibition of your personal paraphernalia for potential buyers
Although that fan you bought in Sevilla, that vase you brought from Kreta or the cartoon drawing from your spouse you got at Montmartre in Paris and all those family photos may bear special memories for you and, in the best case, even may be decorative, too much of this personal stuff will muddle a potential buyer’s look on your property.
Therefore it is highly recommendable to decide, before the first visits, which items you do not absolutely need before moving and store them in a place out of view. The purpose is not to strip your house or apartment completely, but to allow your potential buyers to imagine their personal stuff in your living space.
Insisting your property is unique
Of course it is unique. To you… No doubt it is loaded with memories of precious moments, joy, laughter, maybe also sadness, melancholy. You know every nook and corner and you probably have torn down that separation wall to enlarge your living room, built an extra patio or even had installed the kitchen of your dreams. Be aware, that what makes these alterations so special to you, may be exactly what the buyer finds less attractive about the property. Buyers have been known to rip out a recent and perfectly good kitchen, because it was too rustic or too modern to their taste.
This should be of no importance to you, as long as the buyer is prepared to pay the right price for your property.
If you are emotionally strongly attached to your house or apartment, you will be all the more convinced it is unique and more valuable than similar properties and you may be tempted to let the asking price reflect this.
If you find yourself resisting your agent’s advice on pricing, you may not be ready to part with your second home yet.
What determines the objective value of your property is all about the present market conditions and offer and demand. It has nothing to do with emotions.
Keep in mind that an overpriced home, even in a strong market, will ultimately sell for less than a property that is priced ambitiously, but correctly from the start.
Sticking around during a buyer’s visit
There is a perfectly good reason why real estate agents do not want you hanging around when they show your property to a potential buyer. You may be utterly friendly, agreeable and hospitable, but your mere presence might make potential buyers uncomfortable, even without you noticing it.
A potential buyer needs to be able to go around in your house or apartment and imagine how it would be to live here with their loved ones, without being inhibited by the observant eye of the present owner.
It is up to your accompanying estate agent to watch over your candidate buyers and to make sure they respect your personal belongings.
The worst nightmare of an agent is a seller starting to interfere in the showing. A good agent will have detected the buyer’s needs and wishes before the visit and can highlight what makes your property stand out to this respect. This may be totally be different from what the seller thinks is important and an interfering seller can deflect the buyer’s attention from what really matters to him or her and ultimately torpedo the agent’s efforts to get an offer.
The best way to avoid this is to leave the stage to your agent. He will tell you afterwards how the visit went and, if he did not get an offer yet, what the chances are on a successful outcome.
Once you have decided to sell your home, always remember the goal you and your agent have set: to sell your property at the best possible price in a reasonable period of time, personal attachment and emotions aside…