Why Did My Neighbours House Sell Before Mine?

As I write this blog, we're being told by the media and people 'in the know' that we're moving into a Buyers Market in Saskatoon. What that means is there are more houses for sale than there has been in the last few years. So with this increased competition, how do you sell your home before your neighbour does?

  1. The single most important factor in regards to selling your home is your asking price. If a house is not selling, it's likely because of one or more of the reasons I'm going to outline, but the way to ensure a buyer will overlook every one of them is to adjust the price. If you want to sell your home before your neighbour does, make sure that yours is priced better! I don't mean priced lower necessarily; I mean it needs to be priced closer to the average comparable property that has sold recently. But if you and I each have a house that are identical, side by side, but I priced mine $5000 less than yours; guess who's going to sell theirs first?
  2. The three L's of real estate always apply: Location, location, location. Of course, if your neighbour is also selling, location is irrelevant, but this is the something you always need to consider when comparing your home to others on the market. Are you on a corner of a busy street versus your neighbour who's the second house from the corner? This will likely have an impact on your ability to sell.
  3. Condition. One of the largest factors in consumers' eyes when determining value is the condition of the property and I'm not just talking about updated floors and fresh paint!  As much as we (as Real Estate Agents) try to educate our Buyers and tell them not to make emotional decisions, the truth is that buying a home is an emotional roller coaster. The whole process is unfamiliar and scary. So it's no surprise that when most buyers walk into a home that smells like cat urine or one that has dust bunnies the size of real bunnies, their emotional response is not good. I've heard comments from buyers that say that a house is "overpriced for the condition it's in", when in reality, if it was cleaned properly, it would be priced appropriately. Never underestimate the power of a professional cleaning!
  4. Declutter. This is a fancy buzz word I'm sure you've heard of before. Bottom line, put everything away that you're not using on a daily basis and even some of those things need to be put away, as well. Extra furniture that make a room feel smaller, counter top appliances, children's toys, etc.,etc.,etc. As I said, buyers buy with emotion and first impressions are huge. Yes, people SHOULD be able to see past the clutter, but most can't or won't. You're planning on moving anyways, right? Put your stuff in storage for a month while your house is for sale. You'll be thanking me when I'm putting up your SOLD sign.
  5. Updated versus outdated. Of course, this is a factor that has a real bearing on the value of the home. If you've spent $100,000 in the last 5 years on your home versus your neighbour who's still living in the 70's, your home is going to be more valuable (likely). Notice how I did not say it will be worth $100,000 more? You do not always get the value out of a renovation that you put in; especially if you've "enjoyed" that renovation for a few years. That 'new' kitchen is no longer 'new' once you cook a meal in it. 
  6. Curb appeal. People often talk about curb appeal and in fact, there are several HGTV shows about increasing your house's curb appeal. That's because it's important. I believe this is becoming more and more important as we move into a more 'internet based home search' society. When people are browsing listings online, the first picture they are greeted with is the exterior of your house... the shot from the curb. This picture HAS to look good or a good portion of your potential buyers are going to press the 'next' button. It may mean you spend a little money re-painting your front door, adding some mulch or planting a shrub or two; but the end result will be buyers spending more time looking at your online listing, which will hopefully result in a showing.
  7. Layout or house design. Some things are just out of your control. A buyer may pass on your house because the master bedroom is "too small" or the main floor bathroom is off the kitchen or there isn't enough closet space. Your house isn't going to suit everyone's needs. You just have to be aware of obstacles buyers may have and be patient.  

Buyers tend to buy with emotion. So by creating good feelings within your prospective buyers by having great curb appeal as they get out of their cars and a nice clean home with no extra 'stuff' throughout the home is the best way to get top dollar for your home. Of course, if you've got a great layout, lots of new updates and you've priced it appropriately with the market, then you're well on your way to selling your home before your neighbour does!

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