Common Mistakes When Selling Your Home

Mistake #1 — Placing the Wrong Price on Your Property
Every seller obviously wants to get the most money for his or her house. The best way to get this most money is to price your home correctly the first day it’s on the market. If it’s priced too high, you’ll lose showings, your house will linger on the market, and you’ll end up selling your house at a lower price.

Mistake #2 — Mistaking Appraisals for the Market Value
Unfortunately, an appraisal may have been stated at an untruthfully high price. Appraisers work for the bank, or lender. If the appraisal was done when you took out an equity loan or a line of credit, the bank had an interest in being able to give you a large loan. When the bank gives you an equity loan, the bank makes money from the interest you pay. The bigger the loan, the more interest the bank makes. A bank may have been willing to say your house was worth a little bit more to give you a larger loan. Unfortunately, that does NOT mean the buyer for your home will be willing to pay you what the bank said it was worth. Ask your realtor for information regarding property sales in your community to give you an up-to-date and accurate estimate of your property’s value.

Mistake #3 — Failing to Stage the House
We’ve seen more and more TV shows that address “staging” your home. It’s not always necessary to go to the lengths they show on TV. A few good general rules to follow: If its broken-fix it, If it’s dirty-clean it, If it’s valuable-hide it, If it’s worn-replace it, If it’s cluttered-put it away.

Mistake #4 – Remove yourself for the showings
Buyers are expecting to be able to view homes with their Realtor without the seller being present. We know it’s tempting for you to want to point out the features and benefits of your home, but it’s often interpreted as a hard-sell, to the buyer, and they won’t want to come back to take a second look, even if they like your house.

Mistake #5 – Tire Kickers aren’t Real buyers
Because someone stops and talks with you about your house because of the for sale sign in your yard, it doesn’t mean that person is ready, willing and able to purchase your home. Most viable buyers come through realtors. If a buyer hasn’t hired a realtor they’re likely thinking about moving, but probably haven’t even bothered to meet with a mortgage officer yet. They might have their own house to sell or a rental lease they have to fulfill before they can buy a new home. They are likely just out kicking tires.

Your realtor should be able to distinguish realistic potential buyers from mere lookers. Realtors should usually find out a prospective buyer’s savings, credit rating, and purchasing power in general. If your realtor fails to find out this pertinent information, you should do some investigating and questioning on your own. This will help you avoid wasting valuable time marketing towards the wrong people. If you have to do this work yourself, consider finding a new realtor.

Mistake #6 – Know what the real estate agent will and won’t do
Interview your real estate agent and understand what they will or won’t do to help you sell your home. We’ve prepared a list of interview questions for you here. Real estate contracts are legally binding documents, so you’ll want to be sure you understand the details before you sign.

Mistake #7 – Signing a Contract with No Escape
What happens if do hire the wrong realtor? Before you sign the contract, ask your realtor what your recourse is if your unhappy with the service.

Mistake #8 – Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property
There are two obvious marketing tools that nearly every seller uses: open houses and classified ads. Unfortunately, these two tools are rather ineffective. Less than 1% of homes are sold at open houses, and less than 3% are sold because of classified ads. In fact, realtors often use open houses to attract future prospects, not to sell the house.

Your realtor should employ a wide variety of marketing techniques. Your realtor should also be committed to selling your property; he or she should be available for every phone call from a prospective buyer. Most calls are received, and open houses are scheduled, during business hours, so make sure that your realtor is working on selling your home during these hours.

Mistake #9 – Choosing the Wrong Realtor®
Selling your home could be the most important financial transaction in your lifetime. As a result, it is extremely important that you select the realtor that is best for you. Experienced real estate agents often cost as much as brand new agents. Chances are that the experienced agent will be able to bring you a higher price in less time and with fewer hassles. In addition, a realtor with a specialty in working with seniors will work to your advantage. The realtor will be knowledgeable about issues that are important to you and be able to help simplify your transition to senior housing.