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BEWARE of the 11 Deadly Mistakes Many Home Sellers Make

If you make a mistake when you sell your home, you stand to lose a LOT.

If you're like most people, your home is very likely your most valuable investment. Even a single mistake can prove very costly. Selling is harder than it seems. Even in a hot market, there are many homes that don't sell for one reason or another or don't sell at its full market potential. If you make one of these common mistakes, you could find yourself wondering what's gone wrong, even as your neighbors are selling in the blink of an eye.

When you sell your home, you're in direct competition with other home sellers in your area. Avoid the most common mistakes made by other sellers, and you'll stay a step ahead of the competition.

  1. NOT HAVING A PLAN:
    Deciding to sell your home is a BIG decision. It's very important to set out in writing the reasons that are motivating you to sell your current home. Every decision you make, and every step you take is crucial in helping you get what you want, in the time you want, with the fewest hang-ups possible. That's why you need a plan. You should ask yourself, "Why am I selling my home, what do I want to accomplish, and in what time frame?" For example, if you have a growing family, and need more space, you might have more time to get your house sold, and less urgency to sell, than if you were moving to a new state due to a job transfer.

  2. FAILING TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR SALE:
    In the competitive marketplace, you need to show your house at its best. Your home should be in "move-in" condition from the first day it's listed. Buyers love homes that are bright, fresh and clean (and they will often pay a premium for a home that is already in great shape before they move in)! We are GREAT at seeing a home through a buyer's eyes!

  3. OVER IMPROVING:
    While clearing out clutter, cleaning, and making repairs are important ways to get your home ready for sale, undertaking a major project could cost much more money than you would recover from the sale. Some major repairs, however, like replacing a roof, should be done if they are needed, because doing so brings your home up to selling standards.

  4. SELLING IT YOURSELF:
    You've just made that BIG decision: "Let's move!" Now the confusion, panic, and maybe even FEAR starts to set in! "How much is the move going to cost? Could I save some money by just selling it on my own?" It sounds so easy, doesn't it? Just put a sign in the yard, sit back, and then pick and choose from all the offers that magically appear. But, we all know that nothing in life is that simple. And since selling on your own involves MAJOR financial and legal practices, it's ANYTHING but simple! In almost every case, we can NET you (not gross, but net) more than you can net on your own.

  5. CHOOSING THE WRONG AGENT:
    Don't list your home with an agent just because they say that they can get you a higher price than anyone else, because they sent you a Christmas card every year since you moved in, or because you used them when you bought your home 20 years ago. The best way to set your price is with a well-researched market analysis. Agents who promise to get you a higher price are just trying to "buy" your listing. They'll tell you what you want to hear, just to get your business.

  6. OVERPRICING:
    What's the best way to make sure that your home sits on the market? Overprice it. Make sure to ask for more than any home has ever sold for in your neighborhood. By setting the price too high, you turn away the best prospects for your home. An overpriced property will not sell, and will most likely become devalued over time as it becomes stale on the market! We can do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), and help you set the best price for your home.

  7. HANGING AROUND DURING SHOWINGS:
    Do you want the seller of the house you're looking to buy to watch over your shoulder as you look inside their kitchen cabinets? Probably not. So why would you stay around during showings? During showings, you should try to leave the house if at all possible, although it isn't necessary for you to leave the home every time an agent makes an appointment. However, when they do arrive, take a walk outside, or if the weather won't permit, go to one corner of the house, out of earshot, so the Buyer feels comfortable making comments about your home to their Agent. It is important for you not to be in the house, if at all possible. If you must stay in the house, let the Agent handle it, be courteous, but don't force conversation with the Buyer. They want to inspect your home, not pay a social call. Oftentimes, Buyers don't feel comfortable with the Sellers home, and just rush through without paying much attention. Be cautions in talking to the customer - the one thing you may want pointed out about your home may be the one thing the Buyer isn't too keen on. Casual remarks that you feel are harmless could possibly cause the Buyer to eliminate your home.

  8. ODORS:
    People are offended by a house that stinks of dirty diapers, cigarette or cigar smoke, or dirty animals. If you're going to put your home on the market, and you have kids, animals, or are a smoker, make sure you have your home cleaned top to bottom. If you're a smoker, stop smoking in the house, and make sure to have the rugs and curtains professionally cleaned. On the day of a showing, make sure your animals are crated. Let fresh air in.

  9. LIMITING ACCESS TO YOUR HOME:
    If people can't get in to see your home when they want to, they'll never make an offer. Using a lockbox has been shown to increase the number of showings by over 30%. You should give your agent nearly free reign to create a timetable of showings that will meet the needs of most buyers. Flexibility is the key, and while that means you'll have to stay on top of the housekeeping, you will probably sell your home faster.

  10. LETTING YOUR HOUSE GO STALE:
    In a buyer's market, where there are more homes available than buyers to purchase them, it's not unusual to have a home sit on the market for 6 months or even a year. But in a hot sellers' market, homes sell quickly. If it doesn't, it may appear "stale" in the eyes of brokers and active buyers. To some brokers, a stale home means it can be bought at a discount. Some buyers may perceive that there is something wrong with your home. Rather than letting your home grow stale on the market, consider taking it off for a couple of weeks, and then re-listing it at a lower price.

  11. FAILING TO RECOGNIZE A GOOD OFFER:
    EVERY
    offer is worth responding to, even if the buyer is several thousand dollars below your asking price. The message you send back is encoded in your counter-offer. If you come back even $100 lower, you suggest to the buyer that you're willing to entertain a serious offer, but that the current offer won't cut it. By not responding at all, you risk annoying the buyer by not playing the game, and they might just move on to the next property. What is a good offer? An offer that either comes within spitting distance of, or exceeds, the minimum price you'd be willing to accept for your property. Recognize that, and you've come a long way towards selling your home.

When you put your home on the market, you don't want any unpleasant surprises to pop up that could cost you the sale of your home. By having an understanding of these 11 potential problems, you're arming yourself against future disappointment.