On a random weekend or two throughout the year, I have been known to scout FSBO (For Sale By Owner) open houses. I do not do this to solicit sellers for their business, I do this because I (like most other neighbors) am curious about the competition in my local market.
As I wander through home after home I witness sellers adept at selling, and sellers who haven't a clue about what it takes to sell a house. Lately, it seems as if I run across more of the latter than the former. As a matter of fact, over the past four weeks, I have witnessed four dire FSBO mistakes on a repeat basis; mistakes that end up costing sellers time, money and possible buyers.
Not being ready on time
As an agent, whenever I spent money to promote an open house I made certain it started on time. Most serious homebuyers have a list of houses they want to see on a weekend and they have a schedule to keep. Most buyers will not wait until you are "ready" to start an open house. In fact, I have heard many a buyer say, "Forget it," when punctuality was lacking at a FSBO open house, moving on to the next and forgetting about that house altogether.
Not having the house clean
Dirty, littered and untidy houses might work if you are making an appearance on the TV show, " Hoarders ", but they don't work in practical home sales. Over the years, I have taken hundreds of buyers through hundreds of open houses and I have completed thousands of private showings. Through it all, one rule remains steadfast: clean houses sell faster and for more money than dirty houses ever will. While this is an elementary piece of advice in my mind, I am always aghast at the level of mess I see on my weekend walkabouts.
Following onlookers around the house
Domineering sellers are an instant turn off. I recall the numerous times I have shown homes when sellers insisted on being present and accompanying my clients and I throughout the house. Generally, these sellers would spend the entire showing babbling like a brook about features, benefits and telling the buyer why he or she should buy their house as if they were a broken record. Unbeknownst to these sellers, this approach backfired over 99.9 percent of the time. Overbearing sellers resulted in my buyers not devoting any attention to the house, oftentimes speeding through the showing because the seller's accompaniment made them uncomfortable. Buyers value their privacy.
Pricing too high and not being negotiable
Overpriced houses are an automatic turn off for me as a Realtor, and they are even more of a turn off for my buyers who have competitive listings sitting in their hot little hands.
Today, most FSBOs I see are overpriced. This is, plain and simply, the number one reason they are difficult to sell. When your price is $30,000-$40,000 above your competition, you are pricing yourself out of the market, regardless of how amazing you believe your home is and despite how good of an open house you throw. In addition, adding words to your listing like, "Firm price, not negotiable," loses buyers left and right, and won't help cram your open house full of bodies who are ready to pay what you want.
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