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How to sell your home for the lowest price

Most home sellers want to sell for the highest price. Many don’t want to be involved in too many fix-its, so often it’s a compromise. Here’s a lesson on how to sell your home for the lowest price:

My client had a vintage Spanish home which his tenants of ten years (and their dog) trashed. When we initially met, I recommended that he replace a set of French doors the dog had destroyed, have the interior painted, wood floors buffed and the home professionally cleaned. We also suggested swapping out several light fixtures and cabinet hardware. At some point someone had created a pass through in the wall from the dining room to the family room. My home stylist thought this should be filled in and arched to mirror the Spanish architecture of this character home.

Spanish architecture

I suggested before we undertook this work, we should hire an inspector to thoroughly inspect the home. The inspector noted that there was some old knob and tube wiring, and that the home needed a new electrical panel. We obtained an estimate for the panel but the seller opted not to have this done.

We agreed upon the hardware and some of the light fixtures and the painting began. Somewhere in all of this the seller changed his mind. He decided to remodel the kitchen and bathrooms. And it snowballed from there. My stylist put together an idea board as a guide.

home stylist story board

But unfortunately, there was no more keeping the architectural integrity of this Spanish fixer intact. In lieu of replacing the outdated electrical panel, the seller rebuilt a fence. Gone were the original French windows with cranks and replaced with the vinyl windows with the “fake” panes built into the window. I begged my client not to replace his charming windows with the cheap replacement, but sadly he didn’t listen. Each time I checked the progress, it was more and more of a mish mosh of styles. Money was squandered on the wrong things and attention to detail ignored.

The final result was disappointing.

My job as a real estate agent is to recommend a list price. My client listed the home for $100,000 more than I suggested. We held open house; the neighbors laughed at our price. Realtors didn’t show the home. We sat on the market. After a month, the seller agreed to a $30,000 price reduction. More open houses were held and again we sat on the market. We finally received an offer but after the buyer conducted their inspection he wanted a substantial credit. We could not come to terms and the buyer cancelled escrow. After more open houses and more waiting we finally accepted an offer of $50,000 less than my suggested price.

It’s not uncommon for luxury real estate to be on the market for months. But starter homes in Los Angeles County continue to sell quickly. When a home sits on the market for months, home buyers tend to believe there is a problem with the home: no one wants it. And that’s sadly what happened to this home.

If you want to sell your home for the lowest price, overprice. Don’t take your Realtor’s advice. And don’t react quickly to what buyers are telling you. Hold off on your price reduction. Allow the home to sit on the market for months and get shopworn. Of course I have had clients who want to “test the market”, but most of them react quickly to the market and reduce their price within the first two – four weeks.

One thought on “How to sell your home for the lowest price

  1. Carrie says:

    My uncle always advised….when you pay a professional heed their advice. Otherwise what’s the point! Seems simple but he (a soils engineer) was constantly surprised by how often people ignore the very advice they are paying to get.

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