I’ve had a few calls recently from owners who have a house that hasn’t sold. They are casting round on the internet for ideas, find my website and then call me.
I think at times like this it’s important to understand the big picture and what’s going on from the perspective of each interested party: home owner, buyer and agent.
I used to be a business coach and to help people gain perspective I would ask them to sit in different chairs and take on the perspective of another person (e.g. their boss or a co-worker). Let’s give that a go here…
Home Owner “ I don’t know what else to do. I listed 6 months ago. My friends have always said they love my house. My agent said I didn’t need to do anything to it before selling – just the usual de-clutter and clean. They wanted me to list quickly. The first couple of open houses were exciting. I’d clean and clean and buy fresh flowers. The cat stayed with my Mum. Time went by. My enthusiasm started to wane. The kids stopped being unnaturally tidy. Some weeks no one came to the open house. I’ve dropped my price twice and my agent wants me to drop again and keep spending money on marketing. But this is my hard won equity. I probably should do something about the kitchen but I don’t want to spend any more money on this house. I’m over it. Maybe I should have accepted that low offer in the first week”
Buyer: “I’m busy. I don’t have the time, skills or energy to do much to a house when I buy it. I’m looking for something that is maintenance free and that I can move straight into and personalise in my own time. I want all the mod cons – a great kitchen, updated bathrooms and a walk in pantry and separate laundry are on my wish list too. I want to be proud to show my family and friends the property I’ve bought. I want to get that ‘feeling’ when I walk into a house. The feeling that I could live happily there. That it’s ME. I’ll keep looking until I find the one.”
Agent: “I’m a salesperson. I get excited by new listings and the possibility of a sale. Bring me your property and I will sell it. If I don’t sell it immediately I will recommend reducing the price and continuing the marketing until it does sell. All houses sell eventually if the price is right. I tell my vendors that they don’t need to do too much to prepare their house to sell. Just a de-clutter and clean. Let’s get this house on the market. Actually I should have told the owners to upgrade the kitchen and tone down their love of purple but I didn’t know how to broach the subject. Houses that don’t sell are frustrating. All those open houses where no one turns up. I start sending a colleague to these viewings so I can concentrate on the new listings.”
Now you have a better idea of these (admittedly generalised) perspectives you will be asking yourself: What now?
A good first step is to read the following two articles
1. A US News and World report asked housing experts why houses don’t sell for their “7 reasons your house isn’t selling” report. 3 of the 7 reasons are presentation related. Click here to read the findings
2. Realestate.com wrote a great blog titled “7 things to do if your property doesn’t sell” 2 of the suggestions concern property presentation and objective advice from property experts. Click here for the article
Ask a home stager. I don’t pretend that home staging is the only answer to selling your property. But it is part of the answer. A home stager is an objective 3rd party who prepares properties to sell for a living. They can tell you what’s working and what’s not working and suggest changes that deliver a return on investment. For example new carpets, a fresh coat of paint, a yard makeover or buying/hiring new bedlinen and towels vs ripping out the kitchen! A consultation costs a couple of hundred dollars vs a price reduction of 1,000′s of dollars. Importantly they can re-energise and re-focus a buyer to give it ‘one last push’ to get their house sold.
I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If your house isn’t selling and you’d like some objective help and advice then give me a call on 0432 994056 or contact me through my website
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