9 Killer Home Seller Mistakes to Avoid
Having sold over 1,000 homes in the last few years, I have seen many seller’s make the same mistakes when selling their homes. This is a list of 9 killer home seller mistakes I commonly see made and tips on how to avoid them so you can maximize the sale price of your home. Some of these mistakes are also the reason you see homes on the market for long periods of time or removed from the market without selling.
- Don’t disclose your reason for selling to anyone, other than your real estate agent. If asked, just reply that goals have changed and you are looking for a new home. Once a buyer knows why your selling, they will use the knowledge to their advantage and you will not sell your home for top dollar. Nothing spreads faster than gossip, so be very careful not to tell even friends about the real reason your selling. You never know who knows who and it’s surprising how fast information gets passed in todays world.
- Set the correct price from the start. Setting the price too high or too low both will negatively impact the sale price of your home. Buyers search for homes by price ranges. If your home is overpriced, it will be seen with homes that are nicer and have more to offer. It is very difficult to get buyers to offer more than full price if the home is priced too low. Yes, sometimes you can create competition and get more than one buyer to overbid and sell for more than list price, but many buyers will avoid this at all costs.
- Think like a buyer. I always tell seller’s that buyers will look for reason to not offer full price for a home from the moment they pull into the driveway. It always amazes me to hear the responses from buyers after showing them several homes. They always have a reason a home is not worth full price to them, even though they might love the home and it meets all of their needs. So, when getting ready to list your home for sale, remove as many of these little reasons as you can before listing for sale. Remember, their first impression is the front of your house and the steps to the front door. Keep it clean, maintained and inviting.
- Make sure your agent works for you. Not all real estate agents want to sell your home! Sounds crazy but here’s a little game many agents play. It’s called overpricing the home so that it won’t sell but pricing it low enough buyers will call and want to see it. See, once they have your house on the market, it’s great advertising for getting buyers and there is no better way to grow your buyer business than having properties for sale. So, if it’s priced right and sells fast, they can’t get more buyer for other homes. Always ask if the agent you are talking to if they sell more property as a listing agent or as a buyer agent.
- First impressions. Your house should be in it’s best condition when it first hits the market. Once a buyer has seen your home once, it is nearly impossible to get them to come back after you complete repairs or repaint. Speaking of paint, a fresh coat of neutral color may go a long ways towards getting your home sold. Spend the money now for those small repairs. Today’s buyers want a move in ready home, they don’t have the money for new carpeting, painting or repairs after they purchase a home.
- Advertising. Make sure the agent you select to sell your home is utilizing todays top methods of marketing! Gone are the days of just listing a home in the MLS and running an open house every few weeks. Todays buyers are all online and the photos of your home mean everything and I mean everything! Sure, you can get some drive by shoppers to drop in during an open house, but most will shop from home first, looking at photos to decide if they want to view a house in person. If a listing agent comes to your house looking to take photos with their cell phone, fire them immediately. High quality photos are a must.
- Remember why you bought this house. The buyer who is most likely to buy your home probably will buy it for the same reason you did. Knowing this will help you negotiate for top dollar. Does your home have a feature you can’t find anywhere else? How much is that feature worth to you?
- Make sure everything is correct in the property disclosures. If you have a defect in your home and you sell the home without disclosing it to a buyer, you will get sued when the buyer discovers it. After moving in and living in the home for a while, they will find the defect, or the neighbors will tell them. It’s just not worth the risk. Fix the defect or disclose it up front.
- Don’t move out before selling. This might be the most important detail of them all. This goes back to thinking like a buyer. When a buyer walks into a vacant house, they think the seller is desperate to sell and will take a low offer. Happens every time. Their first thought is that the seller has 2 mortgages and needs to sell now at a reduced price. It also makes the rooms look smaller, especially the bedrooms. Many buyers will also have issues telling if their furniture will fit the living room and dining rooms. If they can’t view their furniture in the house, they will not buy it.
One of the first things I like to do when meeting a seller for the first time is go through a questionnaire on why you want to sell and what your goals are for selling. What’s the most important issue to you? Are you looking for a quick sale or is price more important.
No agent can truly help you meet your goals if they don’t ask questions and get an understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. Remember, we work for you!