May 12, 2016
Selling your house can be both exciting and emotional. You may be looking forward to a great change with a move to a new town or a larger house, but you are leaving a home full of treasured memories. Although you have strong attachments to your home, it’s important put aside sentimental feelings and make this sale one of your smartest business moves. It pays to do your homework upfront in order to sidestep the most common seller mistakes. Think carefully about each of these pitfalls to avoid frustration for you and your family, and save thousands of dollars. Mistake #1 - Trying to Sell Your Home before It’s Physically Ready Don’t rush when making necessary repairs and cosmetic upgrades before putting your home on the market. You will lose money if you don’t make repairs ahead of listing your house thereby letting prospective buyers see the home’s faults. You are nearly guaranteed that offers will be lower, and the buyers will want credit back for work that still needs to be done after your property is listed. Mistake #2 - Hiding Your Home’s Flaws Trying to cover up serious problems like foundation issues, water damage, or mold can come back to haunt you. Don’t try to keep your home’s history a secret from the buyers. They will likely be discovered during the home inspection, and you could lose the sale. Also, if hidden problems surface after the house is sold, you could be faced with a messy legal battle. Be upfront with both your listing agent and your buyers. Mistake #3 - Selling Your Home Without a Professional Real Estate Agent Statistics show that homes without representation remain on the market longer and end up selling at a lower price than those listed with a professional. Your agent will help you price your home, research comparable properties, market and show the property, deal with the buyers and their agent, and help you negotiate the mountain of documents that goes along with a house sale. Mistake #4 - Setting an Unrealistic Price on Your Home Even in markets where inventory is tight, sellers need to be careful about overpricing their home. Properties that are priced too high frequently end up selling for less than they would have if they had been priced appropriately from the start. Pricing a home to sell is an art. You must look at comparable sales in your immediate area, as well as market movement, demand, location, and your home’s condition. Sellers who are forced to lower their asking price after their home has been on the market for several weeks lose their competitive edge in final negotiations. Mistake #5 - Marketing with Bad Photos Over 90% of buyers begin their search online, so your photos make the first and lasting impression. Make sure you and your agent post excellent photos to show off your property and its best features. Too many homes are shown with poorly framed, crooked photos of cluttered rooms. No appeal there! This is an easy one to get right, so be sure to nail it. Mistake #6 - Refusing to Negotiate Although your home has a lot of sentimental value to you and your family, it must be regarded as a commodity once you put it on the market. Put your emotions aside and be ready for reasonable negotiations. You need to start with a fair and realistic price on your home, but you should also build in a little elbow room. Many buyers will offer an extremely low-ball price just to see what the response will be. Of course, they want to pay as little as possible, and they want to feel like they got a great property at a bargain price. You can keep the buyers happy by accepting a bit less than your asking price, while still making the profit you need. An experienced real estate agent is an invaluable asset for negotiating the tricky path of getting your price without scaring off the potential buyer.