If you’re looking for real estate advice online, it can seem like a form of Ouroboros, with article after article simply regurgitating the same tired old tips you’ve seen everywhere else. What’s worse, a fair amount of the advice floating around is misguided or just plain wrong.
“Don’t waste money on staging!”
“Just use your iPhone for listing photos!”
We scoured the Internet for the most common home selling tips and tricks people shouldn’t fall for and then we turned to some of the top real estate agents around the country for their insight and suggestions.
Should You Sell Your Home in the Summer?
The Myth: With longer light hours people will be out more often and with kids out of school, parents will be more likely to move. Therefore, selling in summer is your best shot at a competitive market with qualified buyers.
The Truth: Summer is tough. Lawns can die and the rest of the yard can quickly fall into disrepair – especially if you’re trying to sell a home and move at the same time. What’s more, the market typically dips as temperatures spike.
Mike Cirillo, one of the top selling agents in Philadelphia, explains that summer brings in a lot of unqualified buyers and window shoppers. In the summer, “a lot more unqualified buyers (perhaps out on a lazy Sunday drive) are in the market,” Cirillo says. “In winter if someone’s out looking at properties in 30-degree weather with snow and ice in the dark, they’re usually a more serious buyer.”
In reality, you should sell when you’re ready to sell, regardless of season. “Properties priced properly will sell any time of the year,” says Bradford Page, the 4th best seller’s agent in Savannah, GA.
Is it Okay to Use Your Smartphone’s HD Camera for Staging Pictures?
The Myth: A number of apps can help your smartphone take great listing photos. There’s no need to hire a professional photographer when you can get high quality images using just your smartphone.
The Truth:While smartphone cameras have evolved to take great pictures, there’s still no substitute for a professional photographer. Lighting, angles, and flow are all important elements of real estate photography, and not easy to master with a smartphone.
Hiring a professional photographer is worth it.
Gone are the days of home photos printed on flyers and people viewing listings on the Internet greatly appreciate high quality images. “Your first showing is online now days,” says Tony Baroni, one of the fastest selling agents in the Tampa, Florida area. Baroni also utilizes drone photography in all of his listings and 3D photos for bigger homes.
Will Hosting an Open House Sell it Quickly?
The Myth: Hosting an open house is a surefire way to unload a home quickly. By lowering the barrier to viewing the home, you can get more potential buyers in the door. What’s more, buyers seeing a packed open house can give you an advantage in negotiations and motivate them to make an offer quickly.
“I would guess we’ve done 500 open houses in my career,” Baroni says. “Generally we’ve only sold one house via an open house in my 12-years doing this.”
The rising popularity of the Internet as a tool for home shopping has made open houses a thing of the past. 360-degree images and video walkthroughs make open houses available 24/7.
Does it Help If I Stage a Home Empty?
The Myth: Selling a home as move-in ready can entice buyers to move quickly; they know they won’t have to wait on a previous owner to move out and clean the home. Better still, buyers can visualize themselves living in a home much easier without other people’s things in the way.
The Truth: While we thankfully don’t see this advice very often, it’s definitely appealing to some agents. Why wouldn’t you want to save time, money, and headache by skipping a home’s staging?
“A lot of times what people do when they remove furniture, it starts to reveal blemishes,” Cirillo explains. “The carpets will look older from where couches used to be, if you had pictures, a lot of the paint will show where they used to hang.” Some buyers may also be turned off if they can’t imagine where their furniture might fit into a room.
Baroni states that in his experience, staged homes sell faster and for more than vacant listings. “The cost usually has a return on it – if you spend $3,000 [on staging], you’re going to net $7,000 in my market.”
Should Your Listing Agent be at Showings?
The Myth: Having a listing agent available for buyers can help secure a sale. With an agent on hand to answer questions and assuage concerns, you’re giving your home a better chance to sell.
The Truth: Buyers don’t appreciate having a listing agent around when they’re touring a home. “Buyers feel comfortable with whoever their buyer’s agent is and they feel uncomfortable when someone they don’t know is there during their showing, whether it be a seller or realtor,” Baroni claims.
Instead of appreciating the accommodating listing agent, most buyers feel they are being hard sold and are more likely to leave a showing with a bad taste in their mouth. Further, by requiring a listing agent be present at every showing, you seriously limit the number of possible showings.
Take It With A Grain of Salt
To be fair, most of the oft-repeated real estate advice is right on the nose: curb appeal sells homes; technology sells homes; knowing a neighborhood and your clients well sells homes. However, don’t grow too trusting – blind adherence to any of the myths on this list can cost you money, time, and possibly even the sale.