9 Costly Pitfalls to Avoid When Selling Your Home

If you are going to realize full market value for your home, you should know some of the pitfalls involved.  Even experienced vendors are not immune!

Failing to Showcase Your Home.
The first five minutes are critical in selling your home.  Buyers look for homes, not houses, and they buy a home they could move right in to!   So if you fail to keep your home clean and free of clutter, and neglect those repairs, your buyers will see your home to be of lower value than is really is. Buyers are often poor judges of the cost of repairs, and usually build in a large margin for error when offering on such a property. Sellers are usually better off doing the work themselves ahead of time.  If you were selling a car, you would clean the car thoroughly, touch up any scratches and have the repairs done.  If you want top price for your house, you must do the same.

Pricing Your Home Too High.
Everyone selling a house wants to realize as much money as possible from the sale of their home.  But a listing that is priced too high often nets the seller less than the fair market value! If your home is not priced competitively, buyers will think it is out of their price range and not even appear for a showing!  The result is increased time on the market, and even when the price is eventually lowered, buyers are wary because “nobody wants to buy a house that nobody else wants”.  The result can be disastrously lower offers.

Choosing the Wrong Realtor for You.
Your most important task as a seller is to find the right Realtor for you.  It may be the most important decision you make in the sale of your house.  The right Realtor will represent your best interests in all aspects of the sale, and work with a vast range of resources to find committed buyers and help you sell your house for its full market value. You need to find a committed and knowledgeable realtor who will listen to your needs and work with you every step of the way.

Mistaking ‘Lookers’ for ‘Buyers’.
For Sale by Owners can at first get more activity than houses listed with an agent. Realtors will only bring serious 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 home. Many potential buyers may have a house to sell first, or may need to save some more, or may have credit that needs fixing. When everything is in place, that’s when they go out looking with a Realtor.

Not Vacating Your Home During Showings.
Buying a home is an emotional decision. People like to try on a house and see if it is comfortable for them. It’s difficult to do that if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you have made. It may even have the opposite effect by making them feel like they are intruding on your private space.  Buyers will feel more comfortable asking questions without you at home.

Not Knowing Your Rights and Obligations.
Real Estate law is extensive and complex. The contract for sale is a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can cause the sale to fall through, or costs you thousands of dollars in repairs, inspections, and remedies for items included or excluded in the offer. You must be certain which repairs and closing costs you are responsible for.

Confusing a Bank Mortgage Appraisal or Property Assessment with the Market Value of your Home.
An appraisal or an assessment is an opinion for a certain purpose. If a lender wants to lend you money, they are motivated to have the appraisal come in high. Ask your Realtor to provide you with all the current market data in your area, then decide on your list price together.

Over-improving the home prior to selling.
Sellers often unwittingly spend thousands of dollars doing the wrong upgrades to their home prior to attempting to sell in the mistaken belief that they will recoup this cost. If you are upgrading your home for your personal enjoyment – fine. But if you are thinking of selling, you should be aware that only certain upgrades are cost effective. Always consult with your Realtor before committing to upgrading your home.

Failing to treat your first offer seriously.
Sellers often believe that the first offer received will be one of many to come. There is a tendency to hold out for a higher price. However, experienced Realtors know that the first buyer frequently ends up being the best buyer, and many, many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer later in the selling process. Your home is most saleable early in the marketing period, and the amount buyers are willing to pay diminishes with the length of time a property has been on the market!  Many sellers would give anything to have back that prospective buyer who made the first, and best, offer.