Everybody Wants to Rule the World of Real Estate! (Why Sellers Need to Be Serious About Updating their Homes)!

89 percent of today's buyers are searching for properties on line before hitting the streets with an agent. Does your property pass the "three second" test? Let's see!

Each day real estate professionals are called in by homeowners for a selling consultation.  Stepping through the front door we are often confronted with a home in need of updating.  We offer them our suggestions and explain what they need to do to get their home market ready and sold in the least amount of time for the most amount of money.  

Time and time again we are faced with the same challenge-the client would like to list the home first and see what happens and then if absolutely necessary tackle the updates! We are the professionals.  We know exactly what is going to happen and the type of feedback we will receive from both agents and consumers who tour the home. Understanding how crucial the first few weeks of the home's market time is inundating for most sellers. Getting homeowners/sellers to understand this concept of updating prior to listing their home is often quite challenging. This inevitably impacts on our ability to effectively market their home. Let's explore why.

Most buyers are searching for properties on line.  In fact, over 89% of potential buyers are searching on line for the perfect property.  And why not?  They sit at their computers and peruse all of the homes in their ideal settings from the comfort of their living rooms. These buyers are computer savvy and already know what it is they are looking for in a home.  Smart agents will have clear, crisp pictures of their listings with a beautiful virtual tour.  Within seconds after a potential buyer clicks on the home's interior this knowledgable buyers are able to tell if a property is something that they would like to look at or not.  In most cases, if they see dated wallpaper in one or more areas of the home they won't complete the tour of the rest of photos but proceed onto the next property! Now the home displaying dated wallpaper (in the buyer's eyes) now has a "stigma" attached to it.  Even if there is no activity for the first several weeks on the market and the seller finally decides to make changes most buyers won't read beyond the address to see the new updates when your home comes up again. 

Competition is fierce right now and first impressions are everything!  Whether a buyer is walking through your property or viewing your home on-line, you have approximately three seconds to capture their attention.  That‘s right-THREE seconds! One M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I, two M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I, three M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I! Even during physical showings I have worked with buyers who didn't want to walk further than the front entrance because they had made up their minds right then and there in the sellers' front entry that they didn't want to see any more of the house!

As sellers you need to become serious about getting your homes sold and then pay attention to your agent's advice.  If an agent walked through your front door for the listing appointment with cut off jeans, a wrinkled shirt and crocs you would form an opinion of him or her right on the spot!  That agent may be one of the best in the business but because they didn't make a good first impression they could hardly be taken seriously.  The same is true for your home.  You don't present your home for sale in the market in the same condition that you would live it everyday.  They are entirely two different concepts.

Okay, let's just say that you as a seller don't have the funds to make drastic improvements in your home.  Well help is here now!  Paint is one of the most economical fixes you can do to update your space.  Sure some elbow grease is needed to remove the wallpaper, but adding a fresh coat of paint (today's neutrals are not just whites and beige) can make a big impact. Resale shops like Habitat for Humanity ReStores throughout the United States carry unopened gallons of paint in a wide variety of colors for as low as $3 per gallon can (prices do vary).  Does your home still have touches of the 80s?  Slipcovers are a great way to update furniture.  Add a few throw pillows and you've changed the look!
Bottom line is this: ladies, would you leave the house with BIG hair and shoulder pads looking like a flashback of Madonna? Men do you still have that 80s look gong on with sunglasses and big, poofed out hair? (Mullets anyone?)!  I rest my case.

Looks are important but so is pricing. And the subject of pricing makes for yet another blog post in the very near future that's if I ever get the song, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" out of my head!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sheila Raddatz April 04, 2012 at 02:59 PM
So true, Linda! We just had our home appraised. It was built in 2003 and the bank appraisal said over and over again how the house has not been updated and he listed us at average, with all our upgrades, that is a tough pill to swallow. In this market, people don't want average.
Linda Kemp April 04, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Hi Sheila. Thanks for sharing. First, the fact that your home was constructed in 2003 tells me that any updates you chose to include are more recent than most. That said, however, this is a buyers market. There is a plethora of inventory out there for buyers to choose from and that includes builders' inventory (which they have drastically reduced for a quick sale), foreclosure and short sale properties, and relocation properties. One added note on foreclosure and short sale properties--these properties are not always distressed or in need of updating. This is a misconception as consumers make the wrong assumption regarding their condition. My advice to everyone who is looking to sell--make sure that you price your property according to current market value (not slightly above but in alignment with what has sold and is selling). If you are selling and buying another property then you will certainly make up for the difference on the buying side. This is not the time to put your home on the market just to wait and see what happens! Real estate professionals know exactly what will happen! One more thing to keep in mind if you are looking to sell. If you are adamant about overpricing your home and it does and go under contract, remember that the property needs to appraise out in order for the buyers to get their loan approved. That is of course, unless you have a cash buyer and sometimes cash buyers will often negotiate the price down. Choose your action plan wisely.
Neal Paskvan April 07, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Indeed Home Appraisals continue to be an Issue. Here is a link to a post of mine from darn near a year ago. http://darienillinoishomesforsale.blogspot.com/2011/05/fact-is-you-may-need-to-sell-your-house.html
Linda Kemp April 07, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Hi Neal. Thanks so much for your insight. It is so important for Realtors to educate the public on all aspects of selling their homes. So many agents sell their souls for a listing. Our job as a real estate professional is to supply clients with essential information so that they can make the best possible decision in getting to their next level of growth. Thanks Neal for sharing your blog and information that vital to the real estate climate of today.


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