8 Costly Mistakes No Seller Should Make
MISTAKE #1: NOT ENHANCING YOUR HOME’S “CURB APPEAL”
When a potential buyer drives by your home, their first impression will be based on your home’s “curb appeal.” If the buyer is disappointed by what they see, they may not even bother to request a showing, no matter how wonderful the interior of your home is. Almost half of all houses purchased are sold before prospective buyers open their car door and walk through your front door. It’s important to ask your Realtor what you can do to improve the exterior of your home and landscaping, so that your home shows at its very best.
MISTAKE #2: INADEQUATE MARKETING
In most cases, you will have to advertise your home. Marketing today often requires much more than a “For Sale” sign in the yard. Prospective buyers with their busy schedules don’t take the time to simply look through the classifieds and drive by homes that might be of interest. Buyers want more information immediately and turn to sources like the internet where they can get round-the-clock information about your home. Effective twenty-four hour marketing will ensure that your home receives the necessary exposure to attract a ready-to-act buyer in the shortest amount of time. Ask your Realtor what strategies he or she will use to market your home.
MISTAKE #3: ATTEMPTING TO HIDE PROBLEMS WITH YOUR HOME
Be honest with your Realtor about problems with your home or property relating to health, safety, or the environment. It’s common today for inspections to be a part of most sales contracts, and during home inspections, most problems will be discovered anyway. In California, the seller is required by law to disclosure any knowledge of existing property problems. It’s better to factor these issues into the home’s listing price than place your home under contract pending sale, essentially removing it from the market, then have the contact nullified after inspections.
MISTAKE #4: FAILING TO LOOK AT YOUR HOME AS IF YOU WERE A BUYER
Often, sellers become too comfortable–or at least tolerant–of the clutter and imperfections of their homes. And, while potential buyers may tolerate the same sort of imperfections in their own residences, when it comes to your home, most buyers have higher expectations. When a buyer sees areas that need maintenance or repair, he or she see areas where they can discount the home’s sale price.
MISTAKE #5: OFFERING EXPLANATIONS ABOUT YOUR HOME DURING SHOWINGS
Potential buyers usually feel more comfortable when homeowners are not present. If you do remain at home, resist the urge to offer explanations, point out perceived flaws or offer to repair items that the buyer may not have noticed or questioned you or your realtor about. People differ in opinion and preferences. Your home’s floor plan, which you may have always found less than satisfactory, might be just what appeals to a potential buyer. The less said, the better.
MISTAKE #6: NOT KNOWING HOW TO PRICE YOUR HOME TO SELL
Determining the market value of your home is one of the most challenging aspects of the selling process. If the listing price is too high, you’ll limit financing and reduce offers. Sometimes, home sellers believe that they have to set the selling price higher than actually expected because it gives them an opportunity to negotiate and accept a lower offer. But often buyers who might be most interested in your home find a flaw they don’t like immediately—your asking price–and they don’t even take the time to drive by or ask for a showing. By the time the price is adjusted, you’ve already lost exposure to a large percentage of potential buyers. It’s critical to find out, where and how fast, the market is moving when setting the selling price and negotiating an offer. An experienced, well-trained Realtor is always aware of market trends.
MISTAKE #7: NOT PLANNING YOUR MOVE BEFORE YOUR HOME ACTUALLY SELLS
Many sellers simply don’t plan their move early enough, then they feel totally overwhelmed when it’s necessary to move sooner than they expected. Have your move organized before a contract is ever signed. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask movers to estimate the cost of your move. When you have to move quickly, the price can skyrocket according to need and you have no basis for comparison. Keep a record of all expenses related to the move. Many of your expenses may be tax deductible. Fill out a Personal Household Inventory for each room. This is important for establishing the declared value of items for moving companies and can be used as a permanent inventory for insurance purposes. List, as accurately as possible, the year of purchase and original cost of each item. Prepare a separate high-value inventory if the shipment will contain articles of “extraordinary” value, such as antiques, china, crystal and electronic equipment. Attach any records of purchase or invoices to the completed inventory.
MISTAKE #8: BEING INFLEXIBLE OR UNWILLING TO COMPROMISE
Sometimes, it is necessary to bend a little when it comes to the sell of a home. If you are inflexible about the date you can move out, price, necessary repairs, etc., buyers can become discouraged or even angry. Often, it’s necessary to compromise. Agreeing to a repair that might cost you an extra couple of hundred dollars out of pocket, might actually save you much more than this amount in interest on your home loan in the long run. While you don’t want to give away hard-earned equity, often sellers must look at the overall savings involved. Ask your realtor for advice.