Ten costly mistakes
that home sellers commonly make and how you can avoid them
Costly mistake 1 – Pricing incorrectly
All home sellers want to realize as much money as possible when they sell their homes. But a listing price that is too high often gets the seller less than a listing price that is at market value. If your house is not priced competitively, people looking in your home’s price range will reject your house in favor of other, larger homes that are available 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 above their price range. Overpricing usually increases the length of time that a home is on the market. That adds to the carrying costs. Additionally, it’s difficult for your agent to get a buyer interested in a home that has been for sale a long time. Buyers express suspicion about a long marketing period and usually ask, “What is wrong with this home?” If someone does decide to make an offer it’s almost always a low-ball. Ultimately, many overpriced properties sell below their true market value.
Costly mistake 2 – Failing to “show case” the home
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. If you were selling a car, you would wash it, or maybe even detail it to get the highest price. Houses are no different. In most cases, a few simple and low-cost improvements can significantly impact the bottom line.
Costly mistake 3 – Using the “hard sell” 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 for them to do that if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you made. It may even have the opposite effect, by making them feel like they are intruding on your private space. In most cases, it’s best to be away from the home while the buyer is viewing it. If you must be present, resist the temptation to talk the entire time a buyer is there, and let them discover things on their own. Try a tasteful sign to point out some hidden amenity that they might otherwise miss.
Costly mistake 4 – Mistaking lookers for buyers
For Sale by Owners often get more activity than houses listed with an agent. No question about it, most Realtors will only bring qualified buyers, as opposed to opening 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, or another home like yours. 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 6-9 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. They may have a house to sell first, or a need to save some more money, or they may have credit that needs some fixing before they can buy. When everything is in place, they go out looking with an agent. An agent will ask a buyer how much he can really spend for a house, how much he has to put down, how good his credit is, how much he can pay each month, how much he will realize (realistically!) when he sells his present home – and about a dozen other questions like that. But unless your Realtor finds out 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.
Costly mistake 5 – Not knowing your rights AND obligations
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 title defects. You must understand your rights and responsibilities to the buyer and their rights and responsibilities to you. You must know what issues must be disclosed to the buyer. You must know how title restrictions and local zoning will affect the transaction. If your property is in conflict with local restrictions, you or your Realtor must remedy them, or disclose them, or you might have to pay plenty.
Costly mistake 6 – Signing a listing contract with no way out
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 some companies the broker will assign your listing to someone else in the office; someone you didn’t personally select. In these cases where the agent couldn’t or wouldn’t perform, you should have the right to release your agent. Always protect yourself by getting a guarantee of performance with the right to cancel. We offer you our “Easy-exit Listing Agreement” which gives you the right to cancel your listing agreement with us at anytime, for any reason. Do you think that kind of guarantee keeps us interested in delivering on our promises? You bet it does!
Costly mistake 7 – Limiting marketing and exposure of the property
The two most obvious marketing tools (open houses and newspaper ads) are only moderately effective. Surprisingly, less than 1% of homes are sold at an open house. Agents use them to attract future prospects, not to sell the house! Real estate advertising studies show that less than 3% of people purchased their home because they called on a newspaper ad. The right Realtor will employ a broad spectrum of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones he believes will work best for you. There are dozens of more effective ways to find buyers than just open houses and advertising. We market our listed homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year in a variety of innovative ways! Ask about our “High-Tech” Marketing System.
Costly mistake 8 – Using a re-finance appraisal to price your house
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 valid comparable sales in order to justify the high 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 re-finance appraisals I’ve seen. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the value you were told 6 months ago when you refinanced your home is what a real buyer would pay. Ask your Realtor for ALL the recent sales in your area, and then decide. There are lots of opinions but only one set of facts. Insist on the FACTS!
Costly mistake 9 – Choosing the wrong Realtor®, or choosing them for the wrong reasons
It’s very 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 your home selling experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the person best qualified to market your home. It’s interesting that in the real estate business, someone with many successfully closed transactions almost always costs the same as an agent who is inexperienced. Bringing that experience to bear on your transaction could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, or minimized hassles that inexperience can produce. The world is populated with agents who are wrong for you. For example, the retiree who sells an occasional house because he needs a little pocket change, the insurance salesman who believes he can handle two careers, or perhaps your cousin George, who really needs your business. The sale of your home could well 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 experience. It’s your home, and your money. The choice of your agent is up to you. Make that selection carefully.
Costly mistake 10 – Hiring an agent that doesn’t understand or utilize today’s technology
Technology is rapidly changing the world that we live in. Naturally, the real estate industry is also being impacted by technology as well. Today, there are many new and exciting tools that home sellers can utilize to improve their bottom line and reduce market time. Unfortunately, most real estate agents are way out of touch with today’s technology and insist on doing things the old way. They refuse to welcome and embrace change.
We are excited about the possibilities that exist for our selling clients and utilize several high-tech tools to help you achieve a top-dollar sale in record time. Our award winning website provides a venue that prominently exposes your home to local buyers as well as those that are relocating to Saskatoon from other parts of the world. Follow-up tools like HomeFeedback.com help keep our clients feeling informed through out the home selling process, reducing stress levels that are bound to be tested at this important time.