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How to Overcome 10 Common Obstacles to Home Sales

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In today’s market, it may seem like a home for sale is a slam dunk. But that’s not always the case and it is not always the home’s price that can hinder a sale. Here are some of the more common — and not so common — obstacles and the solutions real estate agents can use to overcome them.

  1. Diamond in the Rough — or Just Rough?

Obstacle: The current seller may feel the home’s interior may be charming and quirky, but to potential buyers it may just look unkempt, sad and like too much trouble to update. Appliances that are on their last legs, walls, floors and windowsills that have been damaged from water, smoking or other means may also present deterrents to buyers.

Solution: Work with the client to do some updating or at the very least, heavy-duty cleaning and maintenance. Staging can also often help showcase the property in a new light.

  1. Title Issues

Obstacle: With so many financial institutions selling and then reselling mortgages, it can sometimes be a hassle to figure out if there is a clear title for the property or if there are outstanding liens or judgements.

Solution: It’s imperative to have your client work with a real estate attorney or title company do a title search.  The expense will be well worth it.

  1. Home Inspection Red Flags

Obstacle: Undetected structural issues or hidden damage, such as water damage or termite infestations, can cause potential sales to fall through. A home inspection may also uncover other costly issues such as mold, radon or lead-based paint.

Although some states do require a septic system to pass an inspection before a home sale, some do not.

Solution: Always encourage buyers to do a home inspection. Choosing not to do so, especially with an aging home, can be a very costly mistake further down the line.

For sellers, work with them to resolve any problems that buyers want resolved as soon as possible. As a real estate agent, this is where your network of other trusted professionals will come in handy.

  1. Too Dark

Obstacle: The owner might feel their home is calm with soft lighting. Potential buyers might feel they need a flashlight to navigate through the premises.

Solution: Encourage your seller to remove heavy drapes and clean the windows. Branches near windows and doorways should be cleared away to let natural light in. Updated fixtures with control switches for the lighting will also help.  

  1. Eww, What Is That Smell?  

Obstacle: The seller may have gotten so used to a smell in the home; they don’t even notice it anymore.

Solution: You need to have a frank conversation with your client and then make a plan to take action. A thorough professional cleaning or removing and replacing things like carpets and furniture may be required.

  1. Property Has a Stigmatized Label

Obstacle: Past events, such as a crime, fire or death, might result in the property being labeled “stigmatized”, causing it to lose some of its value. Even a claim of the property being inhabited by “ghostly visitors” can scare off some buyers.

Solution: In a tight market, buyers may be able to overcome their uneasiness, especially if the home is priced right. Fresh updates inside and out, as well as creative staging, can also help to give the home a new vibe.    

  1. An Environmentally Undesirable Location

Obstacle: The home is close to a contaminated site or environmental hazard.  Or it could be a cemetery, major industrial area, sewer plant, airport or train station that is causing hesitation in would-be buyers.

Solution: This is trickier but here education and knowledge are key. The more information that is provided to buyers, the better they can make an informed decision. Again, some buyers may be swayed by a price that works for them and thus overlook other issues.   

  1. The Neighbors!

Obstacle: A nearby home that is an odd or striking color, has a messy yard or is known for elaborate parties or holiday decorations may scare away some buyers.

Solution: Talk to as many neighbors as possible so you can relay accurate information back to your clients about how the property in question affects the neighborhood overall.

In a tight market, the buyer might be able to overlook certain conditions in other homes so that they can get the house of their dreams. Remind them they can always install a fence or a hedge!

  1. Seller Self-Sabotage

Obstacle: The seller may have a sentimental connection to the home, causing them to subconsciously sabotage any sale.

Solution: Sit with the seller and in a kind way, ask them to tell you why they want to sell the house. Ask what they think the pros and cons will be. Listen carefully and watch their non-verbal cues. Tell them you understand and respect what they are saying. If it seems like they do want to sell, but are just having a tough time, remind them yes, the physical home itself is important but the memories are more so. Let them know just as they enjoyed their home, they are now offering another family the chance to do so. Acknowledge their feelings but stress that they will soon have a new adventure and make many new, wonderful memories.

  1. Uninspired Marketing

Obstacle: As a real estate agent, you have marketed the property, but you are not getting much interest.

Solution: Have you incorporated various methods, such as digital, social media and traditional mailers? Photos or videos that do not highlight the property to its best advantage or conversely, show it in a false light, will turn off buyers. An incomplete or inaccurate property description will also annoy buyers.

You may need to get expert help in improving your overall marketing efforts to really create a plan that gets results.

Interested in learning more ways to be a great real estate agent who can overcome any challenge and be the trusted professional your clients need? We’ve got you! Visit buffiniandcompany.com/bc for a free Business Consultation and we’ll help you get started on creating a business that will help you win the rest of the year and beyond.

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