More than half of today’s home sellers are selling a home for the first time, according to Zillow’s Consumer Housing Trends Report for 2018.
That’s a whole lot of home sellers who may not understand the pitfalls that await them because they either don’t understand the process or have bought into myths they read on the internet.
If you hope to sell your home during your preferred timeline and for the most money possible, you need to:
- Fully understand the selling process, from the paperwork to marketing methods
- Choose the right real estate agent
- Divorce yourself from your emotions
- Don’t buy into the myths you’ll hear from others
You would be surprised how many first-time and even some repeat home sellers harbor certain myths. Let’s bust some of those right now.
1. Zillow’s “Zestimates” are accurate
Zillow.com, an online real estate aggregator, turns 13 years old this year. From the beginning, consumers have misunderstood the site’s limitations when it comes to home valuation.
In fact, too many buyers and sellers rely on the company’s “Zestimates” when deciding what a home is worth. Check out my video here about why “Zestimates” are so inaccurate! As annoying as Zillow is, it’s a website that can’t be ignored because you know buyers WILL look at it. If you’ve looked at your own home’s “Zestimate” and you see errors in the data that Zillow is reporting, here’s a video on how you can correct the information and hopefully guide Zillow to a more accurate “Zestimate” of your home before potential buyers get all bent out of shape about it.
Zillow doesn’t employ an army of real estate agents who go through each home on the market, which is what is required to help pinpoint a home’s current market value.
Nor is Zillow able to seek out, via the MLS, valid and relevant comparables of each home, another requirement when determining market value.
Instead, it relies on an algorhythm – an automated valuation tool that uses public records and information from “users.”
Far from exact, Zillow’s “Zestimates” are frequently way off the mark. In fact, in 2016, former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold his Seattle, Washington home for 40 percent less than its Zestimate.
That particular Zestimate was off by $700,000
The discrepancy illustrates perfectly why a home must be evaluated in person to come up with an appropriate market value.
The belief that “Zestimates” are accurate is a myth.
2. Real estate agents are all alike
This is the myth that leads real estate consumers to choose the first agent they speak with, a very common practice according to studies performed by the National Association of Realtors.
In an age when consumers over-research even which toothpaste to buy, this is amazing.
All licensed real estate agents attend real estate classes in which they are taught them the legal aspects of selling real property. That’s it.
They doesn’t teach the agents how to effectively sell a home. They don’t teach agent’s marketing techniques.
So, while an agent will walk away from those classes with an understanding of riparian rights, he or she may be clueless as to how to actually sell a home.
The differences among agents is astounding when you look into it. Some feel that a sign and a lockbox will do the trick. Others do a bit more. Then, there are listing agents who’ve studied and used various marketing methods and, through trial and error, have found one that is proven and effective.
The home seller is paying the same fee for the lazy or novice agent as he or she would for the powerhouse agent who brings out all the marketing goodies to help get the best price, quickest turn around, and least hassle for the seller.
Not choosing the latter is like paying for a loaded SUV and driving away with a back lot special.
Take your time when interviewing listing agents — we are definitely not all alike. I have a video about choosing a real estate agent, too! Take a peek here.
3. Buyers will be able to “visualize” the potential in your home
Many sellers get used to the condition of their own home, and settle into the train of thought, “If it was good enough for me, it will be good enough for them, too.” Just because you grew blind to the stains on your carpet or the dirty paint, doesn’t mean buyers will ignore those things. In fact, buyers are LOOKING for reasons to justify a lower bid on your home…if they don’t just cross your house off their list entirely. Making some home improvements is a smart move on your part, but don’t go crazy. You need to know what your expected return on investment (ROI) will be, and what the general expectation is for homes in your neighborhood. Take a look at my video here about home improvements to increase you home’s value.
What about appliances?
If you plan on including your appliances in the sale of your home, and they need replacing, do so before the home goes on the market.
A recent survey of housing trends finds that nearly half of homebuyers find energy efficiency a desirable feature. Efficiency-rated windows are popular as well as energy-efficient appliances.
These features are strong selling points. So much so that 75 percent of millennial homebuyers place “updated appliances” at the top of their list of “must-haves,” according to a Bank of America survey.
5. I don’t need to clean and/or stage the garage
While you will hear a lot about how bathrooms and kitchens “sell homes,” it’s a myth to think there the only stars of the show! It’s the garage that nearly half of homebuyers say is their hot button, according to research from Zolo.com
And, believe it or not, 10 percent more women than men name a garage among their must-haves in their new home.
Garages are extremely important to millennia homebuyers as well, according to that Bank of America survey, with 65 percent of them valuing a garage over an extra bedroom.
Yet far too many home sellers use the garage for their excess “stuff” when preparing the home for the market.
It makes more sense to shove all that junk into the spare bedroom
In reality, the wisest choice is to rent a storage unit. The name of the game in staging your house is to create the perception that you have loads of space and storage.
I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the home selling process. Reach out to me anytime.