Beat the Competition

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Beat the Competition

Common Home Selling Problems that Slow Down Your Sale

There are lots of reasons why offers might not come in when you're selling a home, but let's get past the top home selling killer–overpricing. It's the first thing you should consider if your house is still sitting on the market while others around it are changing owners.

Price the House for its Market:

Some home sellers want to price their homes way above market value, because they think the cushion gives them more negotiating room. But what overpricing actually does is eliminate potential buyers.

A home with a true value of $300,000 has a certain set of features that contribute to its value. A house valued at $220,000 in the same market normally has less to offer than the higher priced home and simply can't compete with it.

Buyers in the $200K range won't be impressed with the home's features and buyers looking for homes nearer its true market value won't even see it because of the too-high price tag.

It doesn't matter what you want for your property, what's important is what your property is worth.

Overpricing is usually easy to correct, but there are plenty of homes that buyers pass on for other–sometimes simple–reasons.

If you're a home seller, and your house isn't selling, it's time to analyze the situation and figure out why.

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Four Simple Reasons Homes Don't Sell

You might be surprised how many buyers say NO! to houses simply because of poor photos used in ads or Multiple Listing Service handouts. Good photos are not always easy to get. Houses aren't built on lots with thought to future photo opportunities. The sun isn't always in an ideal position for the photo. The agent might not be capable of taking a good picture.

Home selling rule number one is to make sure the house is well represented in all photographs.

Some sellers don't bother to clean a house before they try to sell it, and if they don't even clean when they know people will be inspecting the house, they sure won't freshen up the paint, sort through clutter or handle odor control.

Home buyers nearly always think that dirty houses need repairs, when all they usually require is some thorough TLC. After a few turned-off buyers, agents hesitate to show dirty houses. No showings, no sale.

Take a hard look at the property to make sure your house doesn't fall into the needs-cleaning category.

Home buyers like to do drive-bys. Imagine driving by a house that's for sale and finding that the yard hasn't been mowed recently or worse, that it's full of weeds. Or seeing loose items scattered everywhere on the lawn. Or dirty windows. Or discovering that the home's color is just one shade shy of outshining the sun.

If the home's curb appeal is terrible, the majority of buyers won't even make an appointment to go inside. Improve your curb appeal before the first buyer has a chance to view your property.

We are creatures of habit. That old vinyl on the kitchen floor has worked forever, so why don't the buyers like it? The dated light fixtures are just fine, too, and the sellers wouldn't think of replacing the orange shag carpeting in the family room.

Look at the house with a fresh attitude and try to see it as buyers do. How can you make improvements? If your house is listed with an agent, ask for written feedback from buyers who have seen it. If the same negative comments show up repeatedly on feedback forms, you'll know where to start working on the house.

Move carefully with updates, analyzing the work to determine which updates make sense from a cost vs. recovery standpoint.

Royal LePage Identifies Top Renovations With the Best Return on Investment

Whether doing-it-yourself or hiring a professional, interior painting, hardwood flooring and kitchen upgrades are amongst top renovations.

If you've spent years waking up to wood-panelled walls and soft shag rugs, some home renovations, especially if you're thinking of selling your home, may be in order. While some renovations such as updating a kitchen or bathroom may require a trained professional, there are a number of do-it-yourself projects that are sure to increase a home's resale value. The Royal LePage Renovations and Returns Survey examines some top renovations that bring the best return on investment (ROI), as compiled by the Royal LePage network.

"Amid today's competitive real estate market, renovations offer a relatively affordable means to boost the value of a home," said Lisa da Rocha, vice president, marketing and sales, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "Do-it-yourself tasks such as painting walls, changing cupboard knobs or laying new flooring will make a house not only more appealing to buyers, but also offer a great return on investment."

Reasonable and radical renovations. From simple aesthetics to washroom overhauls, Royal LePage has identified the top renovations that will increase the equity of a home. The list is ranked in ascending order of cost of project.

Adding a new coat of paint can freshen up a house and make the interior look like new - not to mention more spacious. For homeowners looking to sell in the near term, neutral colours are most preferred.

Today, hard surfaces are all the rage.  If genuine hardwood exceeds budgets, laminate works well.  Buyers like to see hard floors throughout, so if possible, be sure to lay down laminate in dining rooms and living rooms, and even in bathrooms and bedrooms.

Old or standard-grade light fixtures, electrical and light cover plates can easily date a house.  To modernize, add distinct flair to the interior, consider installing new light fixtures.

The old adage, you never get a second chance to make a first impression is extremely true when it comes to selling a home.  To increase curb appeal and entice buyers, ensure front lawns are tidy and gardening is minimal.  While there is no need to go overboard and plant an expensive Japanese Maple, adding some standard shrubs and flowers will make a home more inviting.

Similar to the issue with old light fixtures, knobs, fume hoods and backsplashes can make a kitchen seem outdated.  Sleek, stainless steel hardware designs have the biggest and most positive impact on those people looking to buy a home.

An elegant entrance enhances a prospective buyer's first impression of the house itself.

To see an even higher return on investment, replace old flooring with new hardwood.  While a range of qualities, textures and colours exist, it's best to opt for a neutral wood colour to accommodate the widest possible array of tastes and décor.

Building a fence and a deck instantly boosts a home's appeal.  Keeping kids and pets in the yard, and nosey neighbours out, fences provide the back and side yards with a sense of being finished.

A bathroom situated on the main floor is increasingly seen by homebuyers as an essential fixture in their next purchase.  While many older homes were built with bathrooms only on the second floor, many homeowners are resorting to transforming closets or adding new rooms to accommodate two-piece powder rooms.

Today's homebuyer prefers bathrooms that have spa-style tubs and modern faucets.  Granite and marble tiles are now readily available and can be purchased at relatively affordable prices.

While prices can vary when renovating a kitchen, one thing is certain - updated kitchens bring one of the highest returns on investment.  With homeowners spending more time in the kitchen than any other room, it's no surprise they want the best possible style and functionality.  Stainless steel appliances, ceramic sinks and clean lines on cupboards rank as the more preferred finish options.   Since kitchens and baths can be such a personal space, it's wise not to select a dramatic style or colour scheme since your tastes may not be the same as the next owner.