Ten Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make
Several years ago when the real estate market was “hot” home sellers could list their home and would most likely have an offer in a matter of days, if not, hours. I remember one home in particular that I went to show and when I opened the screen door, it fell off the hinges. I remember thinking to myself, “why would a home seller not fix that door before listing it.” The answer of course at the time was they did not need too. It was going to sell anyway.
Those days are gone. Home sellers need to be mindful of how there home is presented – not so much to get the best price, but to sell it period!
Here are ten common mistakes that home sellers make, in today’s market.
1. The first mistake many home sellers make is not selecting the right real estate agent. Who is “right” for one person may not be right for another, but there are some general areas that all sellers need to consider. Be sure you are comfortable with the real estate agents “business” understanding of real estate. All to often, the agent that walks in the house and raves about how beautiful the home is and how it should sell quickly, may be putting on a show and not necessarily looking at it from a business perspective. Some agents will try to “buy” a listing by giving you a high end listing price. If one agent tells you to list your home at $325,000 and another one suggests $400,000, the inclination would be to go with the higher amount for obvious reasons – it puts more money in your pocket and theirs.
Ask to see the numbers they used in the Comparative Market Analysis. Be sure that they are using realistic numbers to arrive at your listing price. Remember, it is not the seller or the agent that determines the selling price – it is the buyer.
You also want to have a discussion with the agent regarding your expectations. Do you want open houses, how often do you expect to be updated on the listing, does the agent get back to you in a reasonable period of time. These are all factors to determine which agent is right for you. If you have an agent tell you that they will put your listing in the MLS, try not to laugh – that is expected.
2. The second mistake home sellers make is listing their property too high. Everyone will figure in a “little wiggle” room, but listing your property unrealistically high is the kiss of death in real estate. Everyone thinks their property is worth more than the market right now. It is critical that your REALTOR provide a CMA with a realistic price for your home. Be sure your agent is comparing homes that have recently sold and homes that are currently listed.
If you list your property too high, the buyers who truly are looking at buying a property valued at that level will compare your home with the others that they looked at, at in all likelihood, yours will not measure up and will sit on the market. The longer it sits on the market the more unlikely it is to sell. Price it to sell, not list.
3. Waiting for a market rebound may also be a mistake that many home sellers make. All to often sellers are looking to move up to their dream home while home prices are low. They look at the house they would like to buy and get excited about how “cheap” that house is. But when they look at listing their house, they do not want to take the hit. Home sellers that are looking to sell their house may in fact take a hit on their property, but will most likely gain by getting a more expensive home at a reduced rate resulting in a gain in net worth. This may not be right for everyone, but it is certainly something that home sellers/buyers should consider. As I always mention, talk to a REALTOR to get the facts.
4. Don’t skimp on listing photos. The Internet plays a large role in the real estate market today. Those pictures that are included in the MLS will wind up on many, many web sites. When potential buyers go to a Web site to look for their new home, they will almost without fail focus on the homes that have pictures. Be sure the pictures that are included are pertinent. All to often I see pictures of homes where they are showing the living room couch instead of the overall room. With today’s digital cameras adding pictures to your home’s listing should be a given.
5. What ever you do, don’t do false advertising. With technology today, it is quite easy to “modify” pictures that are included. I remember one home that I previewed and was astonished to find a telephone pole smack dab in the middle of the front lawn. I pulled out the MLS listing and looked at the picture again only to learn that the picture in the MLS had been touched up by removing the telephone pole and adding landscaping. Looked nice, but wasn’t what the property was.
6. I am not a big fan of sellers incentives, and although there may be times when it will help find a buyer, more often than not, the buyer is looking for a rock bottom price, not a credit. If a buyer is looking at a home, an incentive to pay the association fee for a year will not make the home any more attractive. If the house fits their needs and they can afford it, that is much more important. If you do feel that you need to do an incentive, offer money towards the closing costs, that, in my opinion, is the best way to go.
7. Don’t delay making necessary repairs. Many times sellers think they can list their home and offer some money toward the necessary repairs. Unless, it is a large amount of money, most buyers don’t want to be bothered with repairs after closing on a house. In addition, it may be more difficult to obtain the necessary appraisal.
8. Don’t take offense at a low ball offer. When a buyer makes an offer on a house, the seller has three options. They can either accept the offer, counter the offer, or reject the offer. Unless you have multiple offers coming in, I would suggest that you either accept the offer or counter. There are many areas that can be negotiated to get you to an acceptable deal.
9. Be sure on the front end that a buyer can afford your house. Not being able to get financing is one of the main reasons closings do not happen. When a buyer makes an offer, be sure to get documentation of their ability to get a loan for the mortgage amount. If they do not have it, the contract should specify that the buyer will provide proof of the loan within a certain number of days.
10. Don’t make your home inaccessible. Real estate agents love to show homes that are easy to get in to. If an agent needs to call numerous times to get into your home, chances are they are going to move on to another house. Your agent should have a lock box through the local MLS service that will provide quick and easy access to agents. I have heard many excuses why a house can not be shown, from the kids have to do their homework during that time, to I take a nap in the afternoon, to that is when my soap operas are on. Remember, the goal is to sell your house.
A REALTOR will be able to walk you through these items and help you avoid pitfalls. One other thing I should mention. Do not write off a REALTOR who tells you something you don’t want to hear. Listen to them and see how it will help you sell your house. REALTORS are professionals and are there to help you.
As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com