This 2-part series looks at the 11 Worst Mistakes Sellers make when selling their home . . .
So you’ve decided to sell your home. Selling a home is stressful enough. There is a lot of “behind the scenes” action taking place that you may not know about. Contrary to public perception, your listing agent does not usually attempt to sell your home to individual home buyers. That wouldn’t be a very efficient process.
Your listing agent markets and promotes your home to the other local agents who work directly with home buyers. This dramatically increases your personal sales force. During the first couple of weeks your home should be a flurry of activity with buyer’s agents coming to preview your home so they can sell it to their clients…
Unless these mistakes are being made.
1. You overprice your home in an attempt to get the best price and by doing so actually end up selling for less.
If you and/or your agent have overpriced your home, fewer agents will preview your home. They are Realtors, and it is their job to know local market conditions and home values. If your house is dramatically above market, they will not waste their time, preferring to preview homes that are priced realistically. If you do successfully sell at an above market price, your buyer will need a mortgage. The mortgage lender requires an appraisal. If comparable sales for the last few months and current market conditions do not support your sales price, the house won’t appraise. You deal falls apart. You can always attempt to renegotiate the price, but only if the buyer is willing to listen. Your house could be forced “back on the market” at a lower price. Price it right the first time.
2. Hire the wrong agent believing every agent is created equal and they all do the same things.
The real estate profession is constantly changing and the best real estate professionals stay on top of those changes by continuing their education. Look at more than one agent’s presentation and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. Inquire about “professional designations” that show they have taken additional specialized courses. Making an impulsive decision when caught up “in the moment” could be difficult to correct later. You will normally contract to list your house with the agent for a specific period of time. If you find yourself unhappy with the service you receive, you may find yourself unable to “switch” to another.
3. They wait to sell thinking the market will be better if they wait.
There is no “single” answer to this predicament but there are certainly things to consider. The housing “market” is really a series of hundreds of local “markets” made up of thousands of neighborhoods, so current market conditions vary widely from place to place. A good real estate agent will be able to tell you honestly if inventory is rising faster than buyers are appearing in your area. Consider that other would-be sellers may be holding off as well, waiting for an upturn in the market. This delayed selling may introduce still more inventory on an already sluggish market. Keep in mind that in any housing market there is always a buyer — if the price is right. One reason houses aren’t selling well in some areas is that some sellers are waiting for prices to recover and are unwilling to acknowledge that they may have to settle for a little less.
4. Don’t get the home in showing condition.
A potential buyer has made up their mind ten seconds after they step in the front door. They were already forming an opinion as they pulled into your driveway! That really doesn’t leave too much room for fault. To achieve the greatest possible outcome, a home should always be presented at its best the first time around. Properties in prime condition are a pleasure for real estate agents to show, so they get shown more often. The more exposure a property gets, the better the chance of selling it quicker and for a higher price. Buyers pay a premium for a home that is in top-notch, move-in condition, so once you decided to sell, make sure the home is ready to be sold.
5. Do the wrong updates or upgrades to ready a house for sale.
You have to discover what needs to be done to your home. A thorough property inspection up front will help to identify problem areas. Any buyer will have a property inspection done before closing the sale. Most often, this is when they will re-negotiate the price because of any problems that may turn up in the inspection. Having your own inspection done and making all necessary repairs first removes this opportunity for the buyer to try and re-negotiate. This also reassures potential buyers that you are conscientious homeowners and will relieve some of their anxiety about buying a home.
6. Hire agents for the wrong reason.
A snap judgement isn’t good. You must do your homework! Determine if the agent is competent and the best way to do that is to check up on references. Ask for references on recent sales — check up on references of recent customers. Find out how an agent’s customers feel about their selling experience. Some agents tell you what
you want to hear to get your listing but then fail to deliver. Use tough standards when selecting an agent, just as you would when hiring an attorney, a doctor, or an accountant to handle your taxes. The wrong agent will ultimately cost you in time, money and a lot of stress.
Stay tuned for Part 2, on February 3rd, 2010 . . .