Did Your Home Go on the Market Before You Were Ready?

Pile of misc items stored in an unorganized fashion in a room
ShutterstockIf you go on the market with poor listing photos, cluttered rooms, and toys all over the place, you're not ready to sell.
By Brendon DeSimone

Your home is listed for sale but you aren't getting showings, let alone offers. It's been six weeks and even though you've listed your home with an agent and put the sign on the front lawn, you aren't seeing any action on your home. Meanwhile, all you hear is that the real estate market is back. It's now a seller's market and homes are selling quickly with multiple offers. So why isn't your home feeling the love?

To better understand this, it helps to take a step back and look at how you came to the decision to list your home for sale in the first place. In good markets, when a home is priced right and shows well, it should see positive action within four weeks. If not, something's wrong.

A serious, motivated seller doesn't simply list their home on a whim. It's something that happens over the course of time. A life change generally dictates a home sale and, although there are times when life changes happen abruptly, generally you know about them in advance and have time to plan. Deciding to sell your home, whether you've been there two years or 22 years, is a decision not to be taken lightly.

What role did you play?: In these situations, it's easy to blame the real estate agent for not doing enough to market and sell your home. Of course, there are bad agents out there as well as good ones.

But what role might you have played? Were you truly ready to sell? Ask yourself:

  • Did you interview multiple agents prior to signing a listing agreement?
  • Did your agent (or other agents you interviewed) suggest changes or modifications to the home to show it in its best possible light?
  • Did you listen to those suggestions or ignore them?
  • Was the ultimate list price you chose in line with what the agent suggested?
  • Did all the agents you interviewed come in with similar prices?

If you just spoke to one agent, dictated the price and didn't do any work to get the home ready for sale, you're probably not a 'serious' seller. That's OK; it happens to a lot of people. But in the next generation of real estate, going on the market when you're not truly ready to sell and you're not putting your best foot forward will result in a lower selling price on your home.

If you go on the market overpriced, with poor listing photos, cluttered rooms, outlandish paint on the walls, and toys sprawled all over the place, you're not ready to sell. As a result, your home will sit on the market and the days on market, known as DOM, will start ticking for all the buyers in town (and their agents) to see. Everyone will know your home's history. The chances are you'll receive only low offers. And no buyer will take you seriously.

Advice to sellers: Selling can be an emotional and financial decision, and sometimes sellers think they're ready even when they aren't. They go through the motions, but something prevents them from putting their best foot forward. Maybe they have nowhere to go. Or their reason for selling is in response to some personal life situation. Therefore, they resist selling as a way to avoid what's going on in life.

Because so much information about listings, past sales, transaction history and even old photos are online today, you should never list your home on the open market if you're not truly ready to sell. A truly ready-to-go seller will have interviewed multiple agents and had multiple price discussions. They'll have made small alterations to their home to get it "showing ready." They have a plan in place and a place to go once they sell. And they'll have studied the market, learned the comps and understood what is happening locally in real estate.

If you haven't done all of this, it might be best to start now. Instead of going live on the market, take a step back, do your research and wait until you are truly ready. If you're live on the market and it's not going in your favor, take it off the market immediately and go back on only when you're fully ready to sell.

Brendon DeSimone is the author of "Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling," the go-to insider's guide for navigating and better understanding the complex and ever-evolving world of buying and selling a home. Bringing more than a decade of residential real estate experience, DeSimone is a nationally recognized real estate expert and has appeared on top media outlets including ABC's 20/20, Good Morning America, HGTV, FOX News, CNBC & FOX Business. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow or AOL.

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