How (not) to sell a home

Home for sale

I recently read an interesting article in the Toronto Star (click here to read it) about horror stories of home owners trying to help in the selling process. It included many scenarios of the seller wanting to include certain pictures for the listing that they thought would help sell the property but, in fact they did the opposite. These types of situations happen more often than one would expect because selling a residential property is really selling a person’s home which can be very personal for the owner. This of course is not the correct way to look at it and can only harm the chances of making a good sale.

A home owner should completely distance himself from any emotional attachments to the home because it can lead to all kinds of bad decisions. For one, it can make the asking price way too high compared to the market value and the owner may be insulted when an offer comes in that is significantly lower, even if it reflects a more accurate market price. If the owner has lived in the home for a long time and built some furniture specifically for it, like a wall unit for example, it may only look good to that person. It is sort of like the saying that “some kids have a face that only their mother can love.” These types of owner-built home fixtures and furniture will likely not help sell the home.

When a seller hires a real estate agent, the agent will often give advice on what to change or remove for the listing pictures, as well as, the showings. It is generally solid advice from someone who has experience selling homes and knows what works and what doesn’t. There are also companies and freelancers that specialize in staging a home (meaning preparing it for the sale via interior designing). This does not always have to be expensive and may not even require purchasing new things, but rearranging them in a more sellable way. I can not say that I have much experience with home stagers as I have never used one or know of many people that have. A real estate agent may have advice for that option as well.

It’s always a good idea to clean the entire home before the pictures and showings take place and hiring a cleaning company to do this may be a worth while investment. Steam cleaning the carpets may add to the positive first impression a potential buyer might have when seeing a home, as well as, airing out the home and giving it a nice smell. If I walk in to a home that I am thinking of living in and there is an unpleasant smell, the only thing I’m thinking is “get me the hell out of here”. It will kill a sale on the first breath. Adding to this point, some scents, particularly food related ones may smell good to you, but they will not necessarily smell good to a potential buyer that is of a different background or ethnicity and therefore, avoiding these types of scents and airing the home out from them is a very good idea.

The home selling process can be frustrating but, by taking advice from a good real estate agent and avoiding the things I mentioned, it can be a fairly quick process with a good outcome.