Common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Selling your home? Don’t let avoidable mistakes cut into your profits. Most people don’t sell
homes for a living. The right real estate agent is a vital piece in the selling puzzle but ultimately
it’s your home and your profit or your loss. Don’t let these common sellers mistakes diminish
1. Watch the market! – As they say in showbiz, “Timing is everything”!
• If the current housing market is “HOT” you stand a better chance of selling your home at
the price you want. But remember, if you sell in a “HOT” market chances are you will be
buying in the same market. That means you will have to respond quickly to offers and
compete aggressively to find your next house.
• If the current housing market is weak you stand to lose a large percentage of what you
have paid into your home. To get a decent price you may have to spend money to make
improvements to your property and offer incentives to compete with other homes on the
market. Take advantage of the cyclical nature of the real estate market and stay put (if
you can) until the market improves.
2. Don’t overprice! – Even 5% over market value can discourage buyers. It is important that you
realize that your selling price is determined by the current market and not by what you have to
get out of the deal, or even by an appraisal. If your house is not priced competitively for the
current market, people looking in your price range will reject your house in favor of other, larger
homes for the same price. At the same time, the people who should be looking at your house will
not view it because it is priced over their heads.
Special Note: If circumstances dictate that you must ask more than your realtor and the market
says is the optimum price for your home then re-evaluate your decision to sell at this time. If
possible you should stay put until the market improves or your property appreciates.
3. Don’t “test” the market! – If you insist on pricing your home higher than the existing market
trend with the idea that you can always lower the price you may be sabotaging your own sale.
Just asking $2,000 or $3,000 more than market value can mean the difference between selling
quickly at a good price and delaying the sale. And don’t forget, keeping your house on the
market for a prolonged period can incur additional expenses like carrying costs and upkeep. Ask
your realtor how much bargaining room you can leave in your price.
4. Don’t become a “stale listing”! – The longer your home is on the market the less likely you
are to get a full price offer. If a month goes by with no serious offers, do something! Review
your price, offer incentives or make some improvements or repairs. Then hold an Open House to
announce the changes.
5. Don’t hire Aunt Agatha to sell your home! – Hiring a relative is one of the most common,
serious errors committed by home sellers. Making this mistake could mean your home will sell
more slowly and for less money than it otherwise would. Selling your home is one of your most
important financial transactions, having a professional realtor in your corner can make all the
difference in getting your price, fast.
6. Don’t get locked into a contract with your realtor! – Chances are you will be perfectly
happy with the efforts of your realtor on your behalf, but circumstances can change. Protect
yourself by getting a “guarantee of performance” clause with a right to cancel your contract with
your realtor if you are not satisfied. You must be able to work together as a team to get the best
price for your home in the shortest amount of time.
7. Don’t Lie! – Tell the truth, it’s natural to be optimistic about your home but it doesn’t pay to
deliberately misrepresent it. While most sellers wouldn’t commit an outrageous
misrepresentation, there is a tendency to fudge about room sizes, screen porches, decks or
unfinished basements. When calculating a home’s total square footage only living areas should
be counted. You set people up for a disappointment when you misrepresent your home on the
listing and once they’re disappointed, it’s difficult to recapture their interest.
8. Don’t scare off buyers! – Maximize your “Curb Appeal”! You have to get buyers in the door
because you can’t sell to someone who isn’t there! A well-kept yard free of clutter will get them
out of the car and on your doorstep. An unkempt yard will put off a prospective buyer before
they even get in your door.
Improve the view of your house from the street by sprucing up shrubs, shutters, windows, front door and even the mailbox. Place potted plants on the front step, hang a wreath on the door and install brass outdoor lighting fixtures. Do whatever it takes to enhance your home’s “buy me” look. And never under estimate the appeal of fresh flowers and a mowed lawn (minus thebicycles and dog poop).
9. Never show a dirty house! – This is your only chance to “Show Case” your home! Once
you’ve got them in the door your responsibility doesn’t end there. CLEAN YOUR HOUSE! This
one’s a no-brainer. Prospective buyers are looking for a home and they must be able to picture
themselves in yours. If you think about it, nobody pictures themselves in a malodorous home
with a dirty bathroom, greasy kitchen or messy bedrooms. Think military, think white glove,
10. How clean is your kitchen? – This is one of the three most evaluated places in your home.
Even if the appliances aren’t part of the deal, some prospective buyers will judge your whole
house by the cleanliness of your stove or refrigerator. Keep your kitchen counters clear and
uncluttered and your fridge sweet smelling. A clean kitchen will go a long way in your favor.