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Top Ten List of Common Mistakes Sellers Make

Selling a home is, for most of us, something we undertake only a few times in our lives. Like anything else we don’t do routinely, we are likely to make a few mistakes along the way…

10) Waiting to list.

I know the idea of selling your house in the middle of the winter can be overwhelming, and of course, it is a risk you run if you list in November or December. But consider the advantages. While we have a stronger selling season, people buy homes all year round. Fewer homes on the market in the off-season will give you a competitive advantage.

9) Not reviewing the contract carefully.

Whether you are listing or getting an offer on your property, make sure you read the contract language and talk to your Realtor about anything you don’t understand. Especially with an offer, you want to make sure you understand what the buyer is asking for, and what your obligations are.

8) For sale by owner.

Can it be done? Yes. And we are a real estate office, so we won’t claim to be unbiased. But practically speaking, besides the marketing and exposure a Realtor can provide, consider this: A buyer will care more about having experienced representation than whether or not you are paying a commission.

7) Ignoring or being offended by lowball offers.

First of all, you must make sure your own expectations are realistic. If your agent has been suggesting a price reduction already, perhaps the offer isn’t as out-of-line as you may think. Trust your agent’s knowledge of the market (he or she will be able to back it up with comparable properties). If you and your agent still agree that it’s a lowball offer, answer it with a counter-offer and find out if the buyer is willing to negotiate. Above all, disengage your emotions.

6) Not ensuring the buyer can buy.

The most exciting offer you could receive will still leave you flat if the person making it is unqualified for the loan he needs. Make sure the buyer is pre-approved for a loan, and not just pre-qualified.

5) “Saving” on advertising.

Did you know that 90% of today’s buyers start their search online? A sign and an occasional ad can’t compete with a great website (such as this one!), a multi-list system presence, and the use of such websites as REALTOR.com®. Your agent may be willing to do some print advertising as well, but for most buyers a strong web presence is most critical – and far-reaching.

4) Not making your home easy to show.

We understand that if you have a young family, it is hard to keep your home in showing condition. Still, remember that buyers are often seeing a number of homes, and if they can’t get in for a first interview, you may not get a second. Make your home as easy to show as you possibly can, and consider allowing your agent to place a lockbox at your home.

3) Not readying your home for sale.

We all know that we are currently in a “buyer’s market.” What this means to you is that your property has some competition. Make sure it’s in shape for the challenge. You may be in a position to do major improvements – updated kitchen or bath, or new windows. But even if you’re not, there are things you can do. Clear out any clutter and mess. Have a clean house for every showing. Make simple repairs – something as small as a broken piece of trim invites a lower offer. Put a fresh coat of neutral paint on the walls. Make sure your home is appealing, clean and uncluttered – inside and out.

2) Ignoring ROI.

So you’re gung-ho to sell, and willing to make the necessary improvements. That’s a good thing – but use your improvement dollars wisely. If all the homes in your neighborhood have sold at a certain price-point, don’t over-invest in improvements. We hear sellers say, “But my house is so much nicer than theirs,” and it may well be true. But to an extent, your value is determined by your neighbor’s values. So make necessary improvements, but don’t spend more than you can ever hope to recoup.

1) OVERPRICING: This is the number one mistake sellers make.

We know you want to get the best possible price for your home in the shortest amount of time. We know you want to build in room to negotiate. We also know this market. We know what has sold and for how much. We have come to the negotiating table many, many times. We watch national trends closely and local trends even more closely. Frankly, it is in OUR best interest to get you the best price you can possibly get. We will bring you comparative listings and solds to corroborate our pricing recommendation.

Finally, we know that pricing your property competitively will get it sold sooner, and that experience has confirmed selling early almost always means selling at a higher price.