There's not a lot you can do about location, if the buyer wants Saratoga Springs and your house is in Glens Falls; or maybe you're selling a town house and they want a ranch - some things you just can't change. But there are, however, a few factors where as a seller you can make some small changes that will contribute in a big way to make your property more marketable, and, hopefully, lead to the sale of your property for the price that you wanted and in the time you wanted it done by.
So here's my top 5:
#5 - Odors
There's an old saying in real estate: if I can smell it, I can't sell it! Whether that is pet or human odors, or even stale food smells from the night before, or maybe tobacco from your favorite cigar - those smells will put many buyers off! But it's often easily remedied: make sure that soft furnishings and carpets, where odors tend to linger, have been washed or professionally cleaned. They may be things that your own nose has got used to, so a good realtor is going to be candid and tell you whether you have some lingering odors that are getting between you and that all-important sale. Don't be offended and take heed of that advice.
#4 - Unfinished Repairs & Renovations
That door handle that you have never gotten around to fixing, or that half-painted hallway on the second floor. These things can often convey a sense of neglect to a prospective buyer: "if they haven't finished this, what else haven't they done?" Those little touches that might only take a few hours with a can of paint, or a couple of bucks spent at Home Depot to remedy, will start to add up as potential expense in your buyer's mind. So make sure you finish off all those little jobs that you have been putting off and show your home in the best light to suggest the minimum need for repair and maintenance.
#3 - Clutter
Your buyer wants to project their aspirations for how they will make your house their own home, so if you have clutter and belongings in every conceivable space and corner, you are preventing them from doing that. Just a few days, or even hours, spent tidying the property and boxing things up is going to pay dividends in the long term, allowing you to show your home in the best light. Having much of your personal property already boxed and neatly stacked in the basement might also convey to the buyer that you are ready and willing to move when the right offer comes on the table.
#2 - Quirky Decor and Furnishings
Just as too much clutter prevents buyers from seeing themselves in your home, so too does quirky decor and furnishings that might suit your own tastes, but may be a little challenging for the taste of a potential buyer. The canary yellow painted bedroom that was the color your young son wanted - paint it to a more neutral tone now that he's flown the coop and gone to college. Likewise that massive collection of porcelain figurines that fill the spare room, box them up and have them ready to ship out to your new home when the sale finally closes.
#5 - Over-pricing
This has to be the single biggest, and most preventable, reason why your house isn't selling: it's the reason why you aren't getting any offers and the prime reason why there are no showings coming through the door. A good realtor should have done a thorough comparative market analysis at the very beginning and given you some invaluable insight into what the right price is for your property - it should be priced to sell, not to linger unnoticed on the shelf. As a seller you are often emotionally invested in your home - and with good reason - but a professional realtor shouldn't just agree to market your home at a price that is higher than the market will stand, just so they can get your business. A house that is priced right will attract buyers and generate showings that lead to offers; but an unrealistically priced home may just sit on the market and become stale, until a drastic price cut brings it to where it should have been in the beginning. Meanwhile you have been clocking up expenses, coupled with that the ultimate buyer may even pick up the property well below the asking price, because a stale listing implants the belief that there could be something wrong with the property. Over-pricing is the cardinal sin of real estate!
I have a passion for real estate, whether you are selling your own home, or you are looking for your next one - let me be the one who guides you through the process and takes the strain, so you don't feel the pain.