Don’t Make These 6 Common Seller Mistakes
We are in the midst of a hot market right now and homes are selling fast. While inventory is low and buyers are plenty, you may be thinking about becoming part of the action. While now is a great time to sell -- you still need to think things through and not be tempted to jump in too fast. In order to get your home sold quickly and for the best price, here are six common seller mistakes to avoid:
Putting your home on the market before it’s ready. Even in real estate, it’s true that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Rushing to get your home listed just because a sign went up in your neighbor’s yard isn’t the best idea. Though buyers are eager to get in your front door, if they’re greeted with disarray or home repair issues that need to be completed, they are likely to walk right back out again. Go through your home from front to back and complete as many necessary repairs and cosmetic upgrades as possible before your listing goes live. Buyers want to see fresh, clean and move-in ready more than they want to hear promises about what you’re planning to do, or what you’ll give allowances for them to do later.
Keeping secrets. Though Alabama is a “buyer beware” state, and buyers should always protect themselves with a home inspection -- as a seller, covering up serious problems like foundation issues, water damage or mold can come back to haunt you. You don’t have to leave a list of all imperfections on the kitchen table, but do know that any flaws will most likely be discovered during the home inspection, and you could lose the sale. Go ahead and tackle the problems that you know are there. Being able to show an invoice for repairs made or a report of a pre-listing inspection will go a long way toward instilling confidence in a buyer and helping to keep the selling process moving along.
Going solo. While you may be tempted to test the waters with a for sale by owner sign, or a DIY online listing company, selling your home without a professional real estate agent can be a costly mistake. No matter the market, homes without representation stay on the market longer and usually end up selling at a lower price than those listed with a professional real estate agent. Tempted to “save on the commission?” An experienced real estate agent will more than pay for themselves by researching comparables, helping you price your home appropriately, marketing your home, negotiating with buyers and their agents, assisting with inspectors, lenders, repairmen, attorneys and navigating the hundreds of details involved in a successful home sale.
Testing out a price. It’s easy to get excited during a hot market and think that it’s a good idea to “float” a price out there and see what happens. However, you need to be careful about overpricing your home, even just at the beginning. Properties that are priced too high usually end up selling for less than they would have if they had just been priced correctly from the start. There are many factors to consider when pricing your home including comparable sales, market movement, demand, location, and your home’s condition. Today’s buyers are also online researchers -- they can easily check area prices themselves and see records of price decreases for your home. Having to explain several price reductions could cause you to lose a buyer’s attention, or reduce your negotiation power.
Showing it yourself. We know that you know your home better than anyone and would love to point out all the best qualities to every potential buyer. But instead of being a tour guide, it’s best to be a magician, and “disappear” during showings. Buyers need to be able to walk through your home and picture themselves living there -- opening cabinets and closets, freely discussing decor plans, getting excited about what they love, and maybe even talking about what they can change. If you’re lurking nearby or jumping in to add your own opinions, buyers will feel rushed (and annoyed) and may get the idea that you’re not quite ready to actually let it go.
It’s my way or the highway. Even in a competitive market, selling a home requires a precise dance of give-and-take. It’s an emotional process but has to be treated like the business decision that it is. Buyers are doing the same thing, and together you’ll need to reach a middle ground where both sides believe that they are getting a fair deal. An experienced real estate agent is your best tool for negotiating the fine line between getting the best sales price possible and potentially scaring away buyers. He or she can advise on where it’s best to hold your ground, and where it’s best to give in a little in order to get to the closing table.
Selling a home during a seller’s market can be an exciting and profitable thing. But it will pay off the best when you sell smart and avoid these common mistakes. If you want to know more about selling your home or buying your next one, give us a call and let my team lead the way.