How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes When Selling

How to Avoid the Most
Common Mistakes When Selling

by Brian Bagnall

Follow these steps to avoid the common mistakes that cost sellers valuable time and money.

1. Carefully Select Your Agent
Not all real estate agents are the same. Be sure to interview multiple agents (at least three) to find the one best suited to you and your situation. Look at their experience and approach to home selling. What is their selling record: number of homes sold in the last year, average number of days their listings are one the market, etc.? During the interview, a good agent should provide a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) detailing the properties currently for sale in your area and those that have recently sold. This will help you to set your price.

2. Have a Broad Marketing Strategy
In today’s fast paced, technologically savvy world, traditional sales techniques are not enough. Agents who use innovative strategies to attract homebuyers will always outperform those who rely on traditional methods. Today’s housing market demands 24/7 exposure.

3. Cater to the Convenience of the Buyer
People are accustomed to convenience. This is just as true for home buyers. One of the simplest things you can do is to make your home as accessible as possible. If buyers are too restricted when making an appointment, they will look elsewhere. This is especially true if someone is relocating and only has a short time in which to find a house. This is definitely the type of buyer you want to court.

4. Negotiate with Pre-approved Buyers Only
It is best to work with buyers that are pre-approved. Pre-approval is a lender’s guarantee of how much they will loan an applicant. So before you being negotiations, you can be assured of their ability to secure financing. This will prevent you from having your home tied up in fruitless negotiations. Your real estate agent will also be helpful in determining if the buyer is serious or if they are just casually looking to see what is available.

5. Set a Realistic Price
It may seem counterintuitive, but homes that are priced high tend to take longer to sell and often for a lower price than if they had been priced realistically. Buyers and their agents are typically quite knowledgeable about the market and will have a good idea when a house is overpriced. When a house lingers unsold it becomes stale in the minds of real estate agents. It will then take more effort to attract buyers. Conversely, pricing a home too low can lose you thousands of dollars in profit. The Comparable Market Analysis is the best tool to help you understand the current market and make the most informed pricing decision.

6. Maintain a Spotless House
A bad first impression is impossible to correct. Wouldn’t it be terrible to lose an interested buyer because of a dirty bathroom, cluttered kitchen, unkempt lawn or unpleasant odors? Poor housekeeping can overshadow even the most competitively priced house. Not only is it important to do a thorough cleaning before the house is placed on the market, you must maintain it in this condition until it sells. Unless a buyer is truly imaginative, it is hard to look past someone else’s dirt to see a home’s true potential.

7. Complete All Necessary Repairs
Before you put your home on the market, thoroughly inspect it for any necessary repairs and have them completed. It can make the difference between a sale and a home that remains on the market for months on end. Just like a clean house, a property with no obvious repair needs will be more attractive to buyers. Repairs that are made as a condition of the sale can also cost as much as three to five times what they normally would. Under such tight time constraints, you can’t always search for the best price and you may have to pay rush fees when hiring a contractor.

8. Be Professional
In addition to a clean and tidy home, you need to learn what to say and do during a showing. One wrong comment could turn away a potential buyer. Always act courteous and friendly. You want to appear approachable so buyers will feel comfortable asking you questions. However, you don’t want to hover. That can make them feel uncomfortable or rushed. Give them as much time and space as they need to scrutinize your home. Leaving the house altogether is usually the best solution.

9. Use Logic in Your Decision Making
During the home selling process it is best to remain as logical as possible. If a buyer criticizes your house, remember not to take it personally. They are not criticizing you but simply trying to consider all aspects in order to make the most informed decision. Homeownership is one of the biggest financial transactions most people experience. This is bound to cause some anxiety. Don’t be pressured by these emotions.

10. Learn the Market
The real estate market fluctuates based on supply and demand. Markets can also vary from neighborhood to neighborhood within the same community. The more your learn the better prepared you will be to make the necessary decisions.