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10 Ways To Kill The Sale Of Your House Or Condo

Feb 10, 2008
Buyers of single family homes or condominiums have a lot to choose from these days in a market flush with properties. Anything buyers perceive as a negative can become a reason to pass on your offering. If you're going to list your house or condo, be aware that one or more of the following can cause a potential sale to quickly die before it has a chance.

#1 Pricing your home higher than the average of similar sold properties in the area is an invitation for your house to languish on the market for months to come. Decide if you can afford that. Add up your current mortgage payment, heat, electric, water, sewer, garbage pick-up, taxes, insurance and ongoing maintenance costs against the list price you've set and how long it may take to get it. At the very least, try your wishful price for no more than a couple of weeks. If no one shows interest, make a significant reduction in price that's more in line with, or even less than, other neighborhood sales.

#2 Too many restrictions on the days and times you will allow showings can make it too difficult for busy buyers to arrange a time around your convoluted schedule. They'll go where it's easy to get an appointment.

#3 Dirty, smelly homes can turn people off in a heart beat. Put effort into preparing your house or condo for showing. Many buyers today are looking for the listing that's considered move-in ready. It's got to be clean, with no strong odors. Roofs should not have leaks, windows and screens should function properly. Appliances should all be in working order, including the heat and air conditioning units.

#4 Refusal to use a lock-box can significantly limit the numbers of visits. Buyers and their agents want to maximize the time they have to look and it's much easier to get access to homes with a lock-box arrangement. Don't be afraid that a lock-box situation will result in missing or damaged items. A buyer's real estate agent is the only one who can access the lock-box (besides the owner) and they will take great pains to ensure your home and possessions are safe during a showing.

#5 Insisting on hanging out at your house or condo, following the buyers from room to room while it's being shown, makes buyers uneasy. They'll spend less time inside and quickly move on to the next one. Sometimes sellers feel they must be present to answer any questions a prospective buyer may have. If a buyer is not accompanied by a real estate agent you will, of course, not want to leave your home while they look around. However, if an agent is also present there is no reason to stick around and it can even be detrimental to the sale. Give buyers plenty of time to look around, feel comfortable, and begin to visualize themselves living in the home. If they have any further questions, their agent can contact you later.

#6 Specifying rooms or areas of the house or condo that are locked, or off limits during a showing, can raise a red flag that something serious is wrong. If you have valuables in the room you're locking, store or remove them to another location. A barking dog behind a closed door is also scary to buyers.

#7 Being slow to respond to time limits set forth in a purchase offer can cause frustration and sets a bad tone for the rest of the process. A buyer may have a couple of good properties in mind so it's wise to make your decision within the designated time. Once all parties have signed off, the offer becomes a legal contract. A seller should also make every effort to respond in a timely fashion to any further questions a buyer may have. If one seller responds more quickly than another, it can be the difference of which listing the buyer makes an offer on.

#8 Being unwilling or unreasonable in negotiations can be an immediate deal breaker. Give consideration to buyer requests and then counter-offer, if possible, so that both parties can be satisfied. Be sure to make it clear in the marketing of your house if there are any items that are not part of the sale. That might be the washer or dryer, the chandelier over the dining table, the kids play swings, the ornate mirror hanging in the entry hall, the wine rack on the wall in the kitchen, the shelving in the den. Just be advised that the more items eliminated from the sale, the less a buyer may be interested.

#9 Requesting an unusually long time to close the deal and move out can be a problem for a buyer needing to find a place to live within a limited period of time. Consider ways that you could accommodate the needs of a buyer to close quickly, before you put your house or condo on the market. Typical closings come approximately 30 days after a contract is agreed upon. However, in the case where there is a cash deal the buyer may want to move in sooner than that. If you can't be flexible, the buyer will be forced to look elsewhere.

#10 Hiding or withholding important facts about the house or condo, i.e. attempting to paint over the signs of a recent roof leak, putting a rug over a severely damaged wood floor, unresolved survey disputes, covering up evidence of live termite damage, liens against the property, etc. can result in charges of fraud and initiate litigation. Be up front about any significant problems and work to get them resolved. If it's an issue of needed repairs or replacement, negotiation between willing parties can often produce a workable solution.

Copyright (C) 2008 by Susan Bicksler, all rights reserved.
About the Author
As a professional real estate sales associate, property investor, and past condominium association president, Susan Bicksler gained experience and insight into the world of sellers and buyers. For tips and the inside scoop visit Condo Info Live today for a special offer.
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