The Power of Feedback
Selling a house isn't an exact science. Just ask the homeowner who's tried unsuccessfully for the last six months to sell his property.
Fortunately, there are steps sellers can take to move their homes as quickly as possible: They can price their homes properly; clear the clutter from their living rooms, bathrooms and dens; apply a fresh coat of paint to dingy walls; and spruce up the landscaping in their front and back yards.
They can also develop a thick skin, something they'll need to heed the advice their real estate agent and potential buyers provide them during the selling process.
Homeowners are often the worst judge of their own residences. After living in a house for several years, they barely notice the cracks in the walls, the kitchen wallpaper that went out of style after the '70s or the fact that the oversized couch and love seat in their front room makes the room seem tiny and cramped. Fortunately, real estate agents and potential buyers who tour their homes are excellent judges. They see every flaw.
That's why a seller's real estate agent will call his or her fellow Realtors after they've been through that seller's property. The conversations they have with these agents give them a better idea of both the positives and negatives of their clients' homes. Armed with this information, agents can then work with their clients on shoring up their homes' negatives while accentuating their positive features.
Some homeowners resent these critiques. This is a natural reaction. Homes reflect the personal styles and tastes of their owners. It's never pleasant to hear others criticize these tastes. But homeowners would do well to remember that this feedback, however negative it might seem, is actually beneficial. Homeowners that listen to it, and act on it, can sell their homes more quickly.
Interpreting agent and buyer feedback can sometimes be challenging. Here, then, are some examples of what buyers and agents mean when they tell sellers certain things about their homes.
- When buyers say they thought a home was too small, it means that they've seen larger homes in the area for the same price.
- When buyers say they liked a house but bought another, it means they've found other area houses that were better values.
- When buyers say they didn't like a carpet, it means that sellers should replace it immediately. Odds are it's either out of style, worn or a non-neutral color.
- When buyers say they thought a yard was too small or a street too busy, it means they found other homes with larger yards on quieter streets in the same price range.
- Often buyers will say they liked a house but that they bought a new house instead. This isn't unusual. Buyers will generally pay 10 to 15 percent more for a new house than they will for an existing home of comparable size, style and quality.
The point of all this is clear: Feedback is crucial to selling a home quickly. Homeowners need to know what buyers think of their properties, no matter how painful it might be to hear.