9 Deadly Mistakes Sellers Make
Deadly Mistake No.1 - Pricing Incorrectly
Every seller wants to realize as much money as possible when they sell a home. But a listing price that is too high often gets the seller less than the market value. If your house is not priced competitively, people looking in your price range will reject your house in favor of other, larger homes for the same price. At the same time, the people who should be looking at your house will not see it because it is priced over their heads! Overpricing usually increases time on the market, and that adds to the carrying costs. Ultimately, many overpriced properties sell below market value.
To help avoid this, we have an informative booklet called "Pricing Your Home to Sell" by David Knox, to help you select the right price. You'll learn...
Once you learn these principles, you'll know how to sell your house for the best price. Not only that, in addition you'll know how to avoid paying too much for any house you buy for the rest of your life! Just call our office and we'll send this valuable booklet to you immediately.
Buyers look for homes, not houses, and they buy the home in which they would like to live. Owners who fail to make necessary repairs, who don't spruce up the house inside and out, touch up the paint and landscaping, and keep it clean and neat chase buyers away as rapidly as REALTORS can bring them. Remember a $1,000 repair or paint problem is a $5,000 problem to a buyer.
If you were selling a car, you would wash it, or maybe even detail it to get the highest price. Yet I have seen people put a house on the market without even cleaning the carpet. Houses are no different than cars. Ask for our Free Report "Dress Your House To Sell" explaining all the steps necessary to get your house in shape for SHOWTIME. We're happy to send it to you.
Deadly Mistake No. 3 - Using the "Hard Sell" during showings
Buying a house is an emotional decision. People like to "try on" a house and see if it is comfortable for them. It's difficult for them to do that if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you have made. Many times this has the opposite effect by making them feel they are intruding on your private space. When they feel this, they will not open doors and talk freely therefore limiting their exposure to your house.
Resist the temptation to talk to the buyer. Get out of earshot. Let the REALTOR handle all details without your input.
Many times what you consider an advantage in your house is a disadvantage to the new possible owner. Walk outside and do not offer any information. Try a tasteful sign posted on doors or walls to point out some hidden amenity that may be missed.
Deadly Mistake No. 4 - Mistaking Lookers For Buyers
'For Sale By Owners' always get more activity than houses listed with an agent. No question about it. REALTORS will only bring qualified buyers, and these will be fewer than if you open your front door to everyone who walks down the street.
A qualified buyer is one who is ready, willing, and able to buy your house. We find that most people who go looking at 'For Sale By Owners' are just starting to think about moving. They may be good buyers, but they're 6 to 9 months away from being ready. They don't want to bother an agent yet, so they call the "By Owner" ads to get a feel for what's available.
Many potential buyers may have a house to sell first, or may need to save some more money, or may have credit that needs repairing. When everything is in place, that's when they go looking with a REALTOR.
An agent will qualify as to how much they can afford. How much they have for a down payment, how good their credit is, if they have a home to sell how much they will realize (realistically) when they sell their present home - and about a dozen other important questions to help the buyer make a good decision. But unless your REALTOR finds all the facts first, you must ask all these questions before the buyer crosses your threshold. Otherwise, you may have a parade of Sunday afternoon shoppers with a dream of owning a home some day. Not to mention that 'For Sale By Owners' are a good lead source for would be Burglars.
Real estate law is extensive and complex; the contract for sale and purchase is a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can cause the sale to fall through, or cost you thousands for repairs, inspections, and remedies for items included or excluded in the offer. You must be certain which repairs and closing cost you are responsible for. You must know whether the property can legally be sold "as is" and how deed restrictions and local zoning will affect the transaction. If there are defects in the title, or if your property is in conflict with local restrictions, or if you mistakenly did not disclose a problem with the property you or your REALTOR must remedy them or you might end up in court facing a lawsuit. Any of things could be very costly. We have even seen sellers forced to buy back a house.
Many times an agent will have good intentions about marketing your house, but circumstances can change. There might be a death in the agent's family, or the agent may decide to quit the business. In these cases where the agent couldn't or wouldn't perform, you should have the right to fire your agent. In some companies the broker will assign your listing to someone else in the office, someone you didn't personally select. Always protect yourself by getting a guaranty of performance with the "Right to Cancel".
Two of the most ineffective ways to expose your house to the public is through open houses and classified ads. Open houses are methods used by agents to get leads for buyers. Rarely do they result in a sale for you house. More importantly, open houses are dangerous. Just think for a moment. When your REALTOR holds an open house they are letting complete strangers through your front door. These strangers have access to all your personal security methods. Such as, Do you have an alarm system? Do you have dead bolts? When is your family home? Is this a single mother? Etc. Professional agents have more effective ways to sell your house than sitting in your house waiting on an unqualified person to come in. Regarding advertising, studies show that less than 3% of people purchased their home because they called on an ad. The right REALTOR will employ a broad spectrum of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones they believe will work best for you and your particular property. There are dozens of more effective ways to find buyers than just open houses and advertising.
Did you know that most calls come in during business hours, and many home showings are between 9:00AM and 5:00PM, Monday through Friday?
An appraisal is an opinion of value for a certain purpose. If the lender wants to lend you the money, they are motivated to have the appraisal come in high. The appraiser may ignore foreclosure or distress sales in order to justify the higher value. But a real buyer in the real world will not ignore these properties. They are your competitors when you try to sell. I can't tell you how many ridiculous bank mortgage appraisals I have seen. Don't make the mistake of thinking the value you were told even 6 months ago when you re-financed is what a real buyer would pay. Ask your REALTOR for all the SOLDS in your area and then decide.
It's likely that you don't interview people very often. And yet in order to find the REALTOR who is right for you, you may interview several. The quality of you home selling experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the person best qualified to do the job.
It's interesting that in the real estate business, someone who does many transactions per year usually cost the same as someone who is inexperienced. If you were going to a surgeon for a major brain operation, would you go to a surgeon who operates 10 times per year or a surgeon who performs the same operation 50, 75 or over 100 times per year. The Real estate business has changed dramatically, use an inexperienced agent and you may find yourself in a major lawsuit. Bringing a highly professional, experienced REALTOR to work for you could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, with minimum amounts of inconvenience.
The world is populated with real estate agents who are wrong for you. For example, the part-timer who sells an occasional house because he or she needs a little extra money, or the insurance salesperson who believes they can handle two careers, or perhaps your cousin, who really needs your business. There is no room in this business for part-timers. The sale of your home could be the most important financial transaction you have ever been involved with. The person you select can make it a satisfying and profitable activity or a terrible nightmare. It's your home and your money. The choice of your REALTOR is up to you. Make that selection carefully.
I have prepared a valuable checklist, "The Most Important Questions to Ask a REALTOR Before You Sign Anything." Armed with these questions, you can be confident that you won't make a mistake.