The Worst Home-Selling Advice People Actually Believe
You’ve made the monumental decision to sell your house. Congrats! Now brace yourself for the onslaught of “been there, done that, you must do this” advice.
It pours forth from just about everyone who’s ever bought a house, sold a house, or binge-watched three straight seasons of “Love It or List It.”
Let us give you our own little piece of advice: Don’t take everyone’s advice! While friends, family, and the occasional stranger love to wax poetic on how to best sell a home, their 2 cents could end up costing you a bundle.
To make sure you sell your home without a hitch, we’ve compiled these examples of the worst home-selling advice you might hear, and why they could ruin your chances. Beware!
‘Sell your home only in the spring or summer’
Why you might hear this: Spring is the time to get things done! Plus, long recesses in the school calendar and long holiday weekends, leading into summer vacation, mean these two seasons are prime time for buyers to look at homes.
Why it’s bad advice: Not everyone has kids and not everyone observes the Judeo-Christian holidays. So while spring and summer do inspire more activity, in the end people just want the right house.
“Once they find that, they will make the timing work,” says Kathy Braddock, managing director of William Raveis in New York City. The truth is, buyers are “looking 24/7/365 on their phones at home in their bunny slippers late at night.”
‘The market’s slow, so you’re better off waiting until it heats up to sell’
Why you might hear this: You want to sell when the market’s hot, right? So if it’s not, you’re better off hunkering down and waiting it out.
Why it’s bad advice: Everything from natural disasters to rate hikes to election results can turn the market on its ear at any time and greatly affect your home price. “If you need to sell, there is no better time than the present,” says Evelina K. Vatkova, associate partner at Partners Trust in Beverly Hills, CA.
‘Don’t stage or fix anything up—let buyers use their imagination’
Why you might hear this: Hey you’re moving out! Do you really want to paint that stained wall you’ve neglected for three years for someone else to enjoy?
Why it’s bad advice: Let’s get back to reality here—few people can actually imagine anything beyond what’s in front of them. Those buyers with the ability to mentally fix up a joint “usually don’t want to be bothered, or don’t trust their instincts, so they move on,” says New York–based decorator and stager Marie Graham. She likens unprepared homes to bad first dates where the person shows up late and didn’t bother to comb their hair or use antiperspirant. “Buyers want to feel they are valued.”
‘Camera phone photos are just fine for a listing’
Why you might hear this: You got 86 likes on that latest Instagram, right? You can definitely nail a killer picture of your bathroom.
Why it’s bad advice: “Everything rides on listing photos,” says Graham. Think about it—photos are, in essence, your first showing and what will drive traffic. Cellphones just don’t have the range of photo technology to make your home pop. And you, my friend, are (most likely) not a professional photographer.
‘The market is so hot, you don’t need an agent’
Why you might hear this: You’ve seen those signs in people’s yards that read “For Sale By Owner.” Hey, it seems like a good idea! How hard can selling a home be? And you’ll pocket that Realtor® commission fee.
Why it’s bad advice: This can really backfire on sellers—and that’s if they get their house to close at all. While you may indeed be able to snag a buyer, working out the many, many, many details of the actual sale is where things get complicated. Closing means dealing with everything from the bank’s appraisal coming in too low to haggling over inspection items—all of which involve negotiation best gleaned from years of experience.
“In short, the savings don’t amount to anything if you never sell the house,” says Atlanta-based Realtor Bill Golden.
‘You should hire this person I know who’s an agent’
Why you might hear this: Your friend’s mother’s best friend’s daughter heard of a great real estate agent from her dog’s chiropractor. What could go wrong?
Why it’s bad advice: Hiring an agent is like interviewing someone for any other job: You want the right person for your needs, period. Hiring solely on the basis of a relationship is just a lot of baggage; personal relationships can often complicate getting the job done in the best, most profitable way.