Avoid Costly Mistakes When Selling Your Home

MISTAKE 1:  Putting the home on the market before it is ready.  Most of the time this happens because the seller gets impatient or is a procrastinator and has pushed himself up against a moving deadline without getting the pre-sale work done.  So, the home goes on the market with the horrible carpet or it is being painted while it is on the market.  Presentation is everything – so get the work done before advertising the property for sale.

MISTAKE 2:  Over-improving the home for the neighborhood.  This happens with additions, bump-outs, and upgrades that make the home stick out from the competition so much that it is an anomaly, instead of a nice addition to the community.

MISTAKE 3:  Pricing the home based on what a seller wants to net. This pricing strategy will inevitably end in failure. Sellers can control the “asking” price, but they do not control the “sales” price; the market does. It does not matter what the seller wants. The price is determined by the black-and-white, matter-of-fact reality of the current real estate market.

MISTAKE 4:  Hiring an agent based on non-business factors.  Make sure you are hiring a professional with a proven track record in your neighborhood.  It might be nice to put your largest asset in the hands of your nephew who just

got his license, but make sure he has a mentor to keep your deal from going south.

MISTAKE 5:  Making the home difficult to show.  Requiring the listing agent to be present for all showings complicates the process of showing a home to prospective buyers.  Some buyers’ agents will bypass your home if it involves coordinating an appointment according to the listing agent’s schedule as well as the buyers’ schedule and their own timetable.  Also, most agents show a number of houses and it becomes difficult to time the showings.  Consider having a lockbox installed; they can be timed for certain viewing hours and are extremely secure now.  I recommended to one seller that he leave a special greeting on his answering machine.  His message went like this, “…if you are an agent and would like to show my home, please leave your name and phone number and come on by and use the lockbox between 8:30 and 5:30 today.  If you need to come later, let me know the approximate time and you are welcome to show my home.”  This made the agents feel comfortable, we had a slew of showings, and the home was sold within a few days.

MISTAKE 6:  Getting emotionally involved in the sale of the home. This is one of the biggest challenges home sellers face when putting their house on the

market. Once you decide to sell your house, it’s no longer a home, but a commodity. It needs to be prepared as a commodity, marketed as a commodity, and priced as a commodity. It does not matter what you want, only what the market will bear, in regard to pricing your home. People are going to come in to kick the tires, so to speak, and you should not get emotional about how they may or may not appreciate the nuances of your home.

MISTAKE 7:  Trying to cover up problems, or not disclosing them.  A rule I like to follow is:  If you think a certain disclosure will be a deal-breaker, be sure to disclose it!