8 Tips for Selling Your Yucatan House
Editors Note: We Working Gringos have both bought and sold houses in Merida over the years. And we aren't the only ones! If you are a regular reader of our website, you probably know that the Merida and Yucatan real estate markets are steadily growing. The following article by one of our friends, Mitch Keenan, the owner of Mexico International, points out some tips for those of you who are selling your homes here. Mitch has been selling homes here for longer than we have been living here, so you can be sure he speaks from experience.
Yucatan Real Estate Market
In Yucatan, homes have been steadily selling since we started this business over twenty years ago. Even during the slower months home continue to sell. If your home is not selling there is a reason.
Aspects that affect the sale of your home include location, floor plan, quality of construction, architecture, neighbors, traffic, available inventory and demand in the marketplace. Many of these aspects are difficult or expensive to change. The good news is that there are many ways you can improve the odds for a quick sale. So if you want to improve your chances, here are my 8 Tips For Selling Your Yucatan Property and they all revolve around one concept: Eliminate the Negatives!
Typically buyers look at six or more homes a day. They are often on a quick trip just for the purpose of house hunting. Buyers will heartlessly toss the negative houses off their buy list. Sometimes they don’t even remember what impacted them negatively about the property. For that reason, it is important to eliminate as many negatives as possible!
Imagine that your buyers have returned to their hotel. They have seen fifteen houses over the last three days. They have a drink and discuss the homes that are still in the running. They have seen a lot homes and they may not remember everything they saw. Possibly, they liked your home but there was just some nagging little negative. So they toss your house from the list and continue with the decision making process.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are eight things you can do to make your house one that they will fondly remember.
Eight Steps To Selling Your Home in the Yucatan
Overpricing your home is a deadly sin! That is so important, I am going to write it again. Overpricing your home is a deadly sin!
It is okay to test the market. But if you’re going to test the market it is important to listen to what the market tells you and then make the proper adjustments. If you are overpriced, you will probably know it pretty quickly (check in with your gut – what does it say?)
For the sake of this conversation, those who DO overprice their homes are your friends! They will effectively help you sell your home if your home is priced right.
2. Clean It Up
Would you buy a dirty beat-up used car that looked like it lacked general maintenance and was so full of stuff that you could not get a good look at the interior? You probably would not. Your home is an investment many times the value of a used car. It is important to market it properly and show it in its best light. Clean it up and make it shine!
Start by painting it. Yes, both inside and out. In Yucatan, paint exteriors weather within a few years. Use good quality paint. Use fun colors. You’re in Mexico! Give it some personality. You are selling your house, but you may have to live in it for a while, so while you are at it, paint it in colors you enjoy.
Re-grout, repair and buff those floors! Keep them clean. You want every person who walks into your home to feel like they can eat off the floors. We want them to see their reflections in them. We want them to say, “Wow, Love Those Floors!”
Check to see if your house is odiferous. If you’re a smoker, go outside to smoke. The smell of a smoker (tobacco or other) is often a big turn off to non-smokers and smokers alike. Because you might not be able to smell your own smoke, invite a non-smoker friend over and ask them to tell you the truth.
You love your pets. You live with them and you may not be able to smell them either. But the person seeing your house might. Cats, dogs, birds, monkeys, or whatever beasts reside in your home, they just may be stinky. If you have animals in your house, ask that friend if the pets are stinking the place up. If so, deodorize the cat box, give your pets a good bath. Take that doggie bed to the cleaners or burn it. And please clean the hair off that blanket, couch, chair, and your bed!
Nice, well-behaved, clean smelling beasts can be a plus. Everyone loves cute and contented pets. They are a statement about you. Do all you can to keep them from being a “negative” to your prospective buyers.
And in Yucatan there's another breeder of stink: mold & mildew. In the rainy season, mildew is ubiquitous. You can keep it to a minimum by putting de-humidifying containers in the closets. Bleach the bathrooms and all the drains. Bleach the kitchen. Keep the ceiling fans turning. Your buyers would rather smell cleansers than mildew. Especially in the kitchen and bathrooms!
And while we are on the subject, what is that in the refrigerator... a science project? Throw it out. Eeek! What is that under the refrigerator?
You get the idea.
3. Throw It Out
If it is not attractive, functional or the right size for the room, then get rid of it. Sell it, store it or give it away. If you are not sure what to keep or what to toss or how to organize the room, you probably have friends that can help. It always helps to bring in someone who does not live in the home and get a fresh perspective.
4. Fix It Up
Remember that used car you’re NOT going to buy? That would be the one with the air conditioning that didn’t quite get cool, the window that didn’t quite go up completely. What else was about to go wrong? Obviously, it had not been well maintained. You do not want buyers to think you do NOT maintain your home.
So... put new handles on the drawers, a new float in the toilet, and while you are at it, treat the sarro (hard water scale) that has built up on the faucets, sinks and showers. Replace that broken sink, soap holder, mirror or tiles. If you can’t find a replacement tile, do something fun. Be creative. By all means, do replace that broken, cracked or missing window.
And also, grease the hinges, WD-40 the squeaks, touch up the scratches, and replace the deteriorated screens. Wash the windows, oil the furniture and clean the cobwebs away. Replace the burned out bulbs. Fix the switch to the fan. Clean and paint those rusty fan blades. Patch that hole.
Anything that is broken or looks old or poorly maintained is going to be a negative in a buyer's eye.
If you like leisure suits, wear dark socks over your calves in sandals with shorts, have an affection for t-shirts that don’t quite cover your belly button or if you don’t know the difference between a fir and a spruce, call your gay friends and get some help.
Decorating does not have to be expensive. If you are creative, you can do a lot of decorating for little money. Put up mirrors, which make any space look larger. Cut some fun pictures or photos out of an old book or magazines and stick an old frame on them. Hang some old interesting stuff on the walls... there is plenty of that in Merida. Enlarge some of your cool photos and display them. Stencil a wall. Put up an old frame with nothing in it. Build a bookshelf out of some old wood planks or bricks. Paint one wall in the room a rich color. Change some light fixtures. Throw some throw rugs. Yucatan is a land of color... experiment with it. Decorating does not have to be expensive. In fact, it is probably better if you did not spend a fortune. Just make your house look bright, inviting and clean.
6. Tidiness Counts
Speaking of clean, it is also important to be tidy. Now that you have things in place, keep them that way. Keep your house picked up and neat until everyone signs the closing documents. A clean, organized, aesthetically stimulating, warm and comfortable home that smells good invites people to stay. Give your potential buyers a desire to stay.
7. Lawn, Garden and Pool
Yucatan is the Garden of Eden! The colors, textures, varieties and fragrances of the tropical garden are myriad and it does not take much to grow wonderful plants. But it does take work to keep that garden maintained, pruned and manageable. No one wants to take over a jungle. Everyone loves a well-lit, maintained and charming garden. And Please. Please. Please. No empty pools!
8. No Empty Houses Either
No empty houses. No empty houses. No empty houses.
Buying a home is an emotional purchase. Empty homes feel empty. They look empty. They are empty. Put something in them. Anything! A mirror. A painting. A plant. A table. A mat. A lamp. Make the home you are trying to sell feel like it is anything but empty.
Follow these suggestions and you’ll improve the odds of selling your home.
If it still is not selling, revisit # 1.
Do you have a favorite tip or trick for selling a home? Do you bake chocolate cookies before the buyers come to visit? Or put on inviting music? Of course, you turn on all the lights to show the house in its best light, but do you spray essential oil mist in the bedrooms?
We would love to hear your ideas... just leave a comment!