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Agents sellers and buyers reveal the seven deadly sins of selling a home


´╗┐EVERY homeowner wants to make the most of selling in a competitive property market.

But with competition sizzling, making one of these easy mistakes could cost you thousands.

Research from online real estate comparison service, Open Agent, reveals the seven deadly sins a seller can make when putting their property on the market.

USING THE WRONG REAL ESTATE AGENT/span

Real estate agents are not a one-size-fits-all service.

Open Agent co-founder Marta Higuera said one of the most common mistakes sellers make is not doing their research properly when it comes to selecting a real estate agent to work with.

We see a lot of people who end up going with someone they know, like a family friend, who actually operate a long distance from where their house actually is, and they are not the right person to sell the property, Ms Higuera told news.com.au.

Thats the most common thing; people making emotional decisions and not doing their research.

As a seller, it is important to use an agent who operates locally and specialises in selling the type of home you are listing.

REMOVING ALL FURNITURE

Believe it or not, removing all your furniture and leaving a blank canvas is not letting the potential buyer be imaginative and creative.

It allows people to be creative if you have something in place that is not too personalised. Empty houses look smaller, Ms Higuera said.

The reality of selling a home is it is a very emotional decision and people need to be able to see themselves living there and it is hard to visualise that if you walk into an empty bedroom.

BEING AT THE OPEN HOUSE

Hanging around at your own open home telling buyers about the hidden values or sentimental values of the home isnt adding a personal touch. In the same way it is hard for a buyer to visualise themselves living in the property if there is no furniture, it is hard to do that with the current owner there.

People want to buy a house and see themselves living there. They dont want to see the last person that lives in there.

Ms Higuera said it is better to convey what you love so much about the property or neighbourhood to the real estate agent and let them do the job for you.

GETTING EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED

Our homes may be a reflection of our unique personalities, but while this can make you feel warm and fuzzy, personal touches are a big turn off for buyers.

You want [the buyer] to feel it is something they can own and move in to straight away, Ms Higuera said.

This includes getting rid of personal artefacts around the home, such as photographs and collections, as well as some of the more personalised style elements of the home, such as bold feature walls.

HAVING YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE ON DISPLAY

It seems contradictory to say buying a home is a personal process in the same breath as saying you have to make your home look impersonal. But showing any part of your day-to-day life in open inspections will dissuade buyers. This includes dishes and cutlery, toys, gadgets and clothes. You have to make your house look like a house but not lived in.

You do need to manage selling with having a family life ... Having a few packing boxes ready [before an inspection] where you can hide these things can do the trick. You should wash and put away all dirty dishes before an open home. Just try to take those sorts of things away before an open home, Ms Higuera told news.com.au.

OVERLOOKING SMALL AESTHETIC ISSUES

Something that seems insignificant and inexpensive, such as loose plug sockets or loose cupboard doors, can actually knock thousands off your sale price. Ms Higuera said that this is because it can make buyers assume there are deeper problems.

We are not talking about big renovations but when people see those red flags, they extrapolate and wonder what else they cannot see, and if the house has been properly cared for and maintained.

So just spend the few extra bucks fixing up those tiny aesthetic things, even if you think it is insignificant.

NOT UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT OF DIFFERENT ROOMS

Understanding which rooms have the biggest impact on buyers and investing the most in making these rooms sale ready can have a big impact on your sale price. According to Open Agents real estate agents and sellers, investing in your kitchen and bathroom will see the biggest return.

These are the rooms that will be most costly for the buyer to update, Ms Higuera told news.com.au.

What we are talking about here is not doing complete renovations yourself but to make it look like renovations are not needed in the buyers mind, such as changing the cupboard doors or updating the cupboard handles.

Amazon drivers defecate in vans to save time


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DELIVERY drivers working for online e-commerce giant Amazon urinate and even defecate in their vehicles to meet crushing deadlines, an undercover journalist has claimed.

The BBC reporter, who worked at an Amazon depot in the UK for two weeks, said drivers often exceeded the speed limit to deliver up to 200 parcels a day on a fixed salary the equivalent of less than the minimum wage.

On my first day delivering parcels for Amazon I soon found that things like tiredness and toilets arent taken into account when Amazon plans its delivery routes, the reporter wrote.

I tried to do the job as quickly as I could while keeping to the speed limit. I was considered very slow. Other drivers at the depot admitted to speeding. One driver said to get the job done he had to go at 120mph down the motorway.

The journalist, Chris, added that a few drivers admitted to peeing in a bottle in their van because they didnt have time to find a toilet. Another admitted having defecated in the back of the van on one occasion, he wrote.

Chris said he would arrive at the depot at around 7:30am some drivers having to travel up to 90 minutes to get to work before being let inside the warehouse at 8:30am to sort and load his parcels for the day.

The company provided drivers with a handheld scanner, programmed by Amazon with a route to follow. If all goes to plan the drivers may be on the road by 9:30am, he wrote.

Sometimes the parcels arent ready until much later. The drivers earn a fixed rate per day for their route but nearly every day there was a problem with the scanner, which delayed me.

Most days I would get back to the depot at around 8:30pm. I would regularly notice the same faces that Id seen in the morning back in the warehouse in the evening so I know I wasnt the only one struggling to finish the round in the expected time.

Like the other drivers at my agency, I was expected to be available for work at least six days per week.

Once on the road, he said, the job was quite straightforward and sometimes enjoyable. If the customer is at home its easy. Knock on the door, check the name on your scanner, hand over the parcel and move on, he said.

On the whole people are pleased to see you so the customer satisfaction rubs off on you a little. There is no time for chatting though so the interaction with customers is minimal.

When I tried to help one customer locate her parcel, my agency supervisor barked down the phone: If its not in your van forget about it and move on. Stop trying to do customer service. You dont have to be nice. The customer cancelled the order.

Amazon told the BBC in a statement that it was committed to ensuring that the people contracted by our independent delivery providers are fairly compensated, treated with respect, follow all applicable laws and drive safely.

The contractor, AHC, said the claims put to them by the BBC were historic and based on isolated examples which occurred over a year ago. Since then we have made changes to the way our checks are carried out and taken a number of steps to improve our ways of working, the company said.

Amazon is pushing further into the grocery business with plans to open convenience stores with curbside delivery. WSJ's Laura Stevens explains on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. Photo: Reuters