Selling your home is challenging at the best of times. It may be the largest sale you have ever made, you may have time constraints, you may have young children and busy lives, and so many other factors.
Though it may be stressful, there is no reason to make selling your home more difficult than it has to be. But first, you need to know what to avoid. Don’t make these common home selling mistakes when it comes time to place your home on the market for sale. Making any of these errors can be the real estate kiss of death for getting top dollar.
Overpricing The Home
This is a difficult hurdle for many home sellers to get over, especially if it is their first time selling a home. You love your home; you may have raised a family in your home and it is an emotional investment at this point. You may have also purchased your home at the height of the housing bubble and your home is no longer worth what you owe. All of these situations can give you a feeling of certainty that your home is worth a lot – perhaps even a lot more than the comparable homes in your area.
Overpricing your home, however, could prevent potential buyers from even considering it, or it could cause your home to sit on the market for an extended period of time. The longer your home sits, the more it is perceived as overpriced – or perhaps as a home with something wrong with it. When you finally do drop your price to something more reasonable, buyers begin hitting you with low-ball offers in hopes that you are desperate. After having your home on the market for six months or more, they may be right.
Overpricing often leads to you accepting a price far below your original number, and sometimes even below similar homes. Putting your home up for a fair price, and perhaps even for a slightly lower price than others in your market, can do the opposite. It can drive up the eventual selling price through multiple bids from hungry buyers.
Aim for a fair price that reflects the current market. Typically you can get a good handle on this after your home has been on the market for three to four weeks with ample people looking at it and providing feedback. Listen to what the market is telling you!
Neglecting Their Homes Condition
Homes are made up of many different components, all important to its overall look and performance. Buyers want to purchase homes that they can visualize themselves and their families living in, which means homes that are in good repair, where everything works and can be expected to work for the near future. At least, this is true of buyers looking to pay close to the asking price of your home. This is why home sale preparation is essential to getting top dollar for your home.
Bargain hunters may want to find a home with obvious or not so obvious flaws. They look for weaknesses in the appearance or the function of a home, and hope to take advantage of those weaknesses in the bargaining process.
If you are like most homeowners, you want to sell your home for the maximum amount of money possible. However, you must realize that top dollar only goes to properties in good repair. Unless you want to haggle with the bargain hunters, you need to keep your home in good condition. If it is not that way now, you need to make it so before putting it up for sale. If your home and yard looks like they are not being maintained at their finest, then it is highly unlikely you will be getting top dollar for your home. In fact, it goes without saying you will more than likely sell it for far less than what it is really worth with some minor repairs and upkeep!
If you are in doubt about the state of your home, you can always consult with an experienced real estate agent who is known for making sales happen in your neighborhood. A good agent will give you honest answers about the current condition of your home and what you need to do first so that you maximize the selling price.
Problems With House Showings
House showings are an absolute necessity to make a deal. Buyers want to see your home, and they want to do it when it is most convenient to their schedules. When you put your house on the market, you have to accept the fact that you are committing to showings, and you must be willing to make your home available for those showings. Turning down showings is a sure way to kill potential sales.
Your agent is trained and experienced in “selling” a home. He or she knows how to present the home in the best possible light, and how to answer important questions that buyers are certain to have. They know how to make your home look it’s best, show off it’s best features and how to present it to buyers in a way that encourages a sale. Choose an agent you trust, and let them do the heavy lifting.
If possible, leave the buyer and their agent alone to tour your home. This will cut down on confusion, and ensure the best possible buyer experience. Keep in mind that most buyers and their agents do not want you or your agent hovering over them. They want to be able to view the home and speak freely without anyone impeding their ability to do so freely, open doors, look inside the fridge, etc. The buyer’s agent will communicate with yours to get answers to all their customer’s questions.
Strong Odors In The Home
It may seem obvious, but sellers who forget to do things like take out the trash regularly, especially on the day of a showing, are not doing themselves any favors. Pet odors are also a concern, and should be addressed. Cooking high odor foods during the showing process can also be another problem.
Strong odors are a turn off for buyers, and will greatly impact their impression of your home. This is why real estate agents recommend a professional cleaning prior to listing a home. Make sure your carpet is clean and spot-free and that all other odors are eliminated prior to showing. It is best to use mild but appealing scented candles with vanilla or apple fragrances to encourage the impression of a homey ambiance. If you are a smoker, it is highly recommended to refrain from doing so indoors during the selling process.
Never underestimate odors when trying to sell your home. Above all else do not take this personally. Remember selling your home is a business transaction. You are simply making your home more marketable to the widest possible cross-section of buyers.
Dark and Dirty Homes
Keep your home well lit and extremely clean. You want to make your home look as inviting as possible, which means good lighting and no clutter. If your home does not have a ton of windows, make sure that on darker days you plan ahead and leave lights on in the darkest areas of the home. Dark homes are not appealing to buyers. Don’t rely on the buyer’s agent to be the one turning on lights. Take a look at your home each day before you leave in the morning, whether a showing has already been scheduled or not. You want your home to show its best for any last-minute showing. Pick up items and store them away, wash and put away dishes and pots, make sure beds are made, mirrors are clean, and leave a few lights on.
Cleanliness applies to the exterior as much as the interior, so make certain the landscaping is cleaned up, leaves are raked and the grass is cut. Any clutter in the lawn should be eliminated. Keep the inside vacuumed, counters cleared off and all clothes put away at the very least.
The Importance of An Agent
All of these mistakes are easily avoided with the help of an experienced real estate agent. A good agent knows what makes a home sell, and what does not. If you want to be certain that your home looks good to buyers, find a local neighborhood expert who will work with you on selling your home. It makes the difference between a good sale experience and a serious disappointment.
Keep in mind that not all real estate agents are the same. In fact Realtors are a dime a dozen as it is very easy to get a Real Estate license. Do your home work and hire an agent who has a great track record. Good internet marketing is a must as this is where buyer’s will be looking at your home. A great real estate agent will have an exceptional presentation for your home. This is something you deserve – a fantastic agent knows this.
Follow this advice and you will be well on your way to enjoying a successful real estate transaction!