Top 5 Mistakes When Selling Your Home


1 - Trying to sell your home without a realtor:

All sellers need professional representation when selling a home in almost any market.  Just a few years ago, there was a time when you could have made your own “For Sale” sign, stuck it in the yard and gotten top dollar.  Unfortunately times have changed and sellers need to know what they are up against in any given market.  Realtors can give you invaluable information that will give you the maximum resale potential.  An agent has the ability to net you more money than you would save by not using one due to exposure and advice regarding pricing and show-ability.


Realtors will also be able to offer you significant help in choosing your next home as it relates to potential resale value, floorplan recommendations, location, options and more.  Most realtors will give you a significant discount on their real estate fees when they list your home if they can be involved in the purchase of your new home as well.  


2 - Finding your new home before your have your current home in escrow.  This theory obviously does not apply to new homes due to the normal 4-6 month build time.  If you attempt to write an offer on a “resale” home that you want to purchase, and you have not sold your current home yet, you can lose a major part or all of your “buying power”.  Sellers are usually not willing to wait for you to sell your home.  You are really forced to do one of the following:  qualify for a loan with the ability to carry both the new home and current home; wait to make an offer until your current home is in escrow; or completely close on the the current home before making an offer on a new property.  The best option financially is to sell your current home and move into temporary financing (yes - I know - this is not the most convenient option).  At that point, you can find a new home in a relaxed manner and not feel rushed.  Chances are, you will find a house that you will be happier with in the long run, as you will not be forced to make a rushed decision or compromise on a home that you don’t love, to avoid being in a “homeless” situation.  You also won’t feel like you have to accept a lower offer for your current home, in order to be able to move forward with your new home.  When people find a new home that they feel like they have to have, emotions get in the way of making smart business decisions.  The second best option is to have your current home in escrow and then write an offer on a new one.  Your buying power will not be as high due to the fact that the contingency is usually a negative factor for most sellers. In order for the sellers to agree to accept the offer, they may want closer to a full price offer.


3-   Not staging your house properly.  Your home needs to appeal to what the majority of buyers are looking for.  It is best to keep things simple and use the “less is best” motto.  Walls should be painted neutral colors and walls and baseboards should be fresh and free of holes.  Excess furniture and decorative items need to be packed up and either put into the garage or into a storage unit.  The porches and yards must be clean and trimmed. The greatest returns and quickest sales come from the lightening, brightening, cleaning and de-cluttering the home inside and out.  When buyers see a home that reflects pride of ownership, devoid of visible flaws, they are free to focus their attention on what it would be like to live there.  They let their imagination turn to the comfort the home would offer them.   

      Once your house is spic and span, professional, high quality photos should be taken for the marketing.


4 - Overpricing your home.  Overpricing your home can cause a number of negative factors.  For example, the house can “sit” on the market for weeks or months, forcing you to pay extra house payments, utilities and yard/pool maintenance.  This is especially painful if you have already moved out.  The house becomes stale to other realtors, neighbors and buyers who would have otherwise been interested in it.   Most of all, overpricing creates unnecessary frustration for you and your realtor who have both been set up for failure.  Your home is only worth what the other comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for, plus possible increases for a small list upgrades that actually add value to your home.  There are also cases in where your neighbor with the same model may have been able to get more for their house because they had a an extra bedroom, additional garage or option that may appeal to more buyers than your home does.  It is crucial to have full information about these comparable sales to make necessary decisions in pricing your home correctly.  If you have been on the market for a period of time and the buyer’s feedback is consistently the same, and it is a floorplan issue or something that you cannot control, then dropping the price to find your home’s specific market value is crucial.

5 - Choosing your realtor based on fees.  Choosing a realtor who is willing to to discount their fees creates a number of problems.  Discounted service usually means minimal market exposure, personal attention and subsequently, a lower sale price.  Advertising your home property is an important part of selling your home and is very expensive.  Realtors who who discount their commission cannot possibly afford these costs and would actually lose money selling your home.  Secondly, a neighborhood specialist is important for the sole fact that more signs in the neighborhood means more calls from potential buyers and other agents.  Networking is a major part of selling your home and getting top dollar for it.  Only a small percentage of realtors will take the time and energy to obtain the necessary skills to participate in the industry at at the elite level.  Please don’t leave thousands of dollars on the table.  Don’t forget, you get what you pay for.  A good consultant is one who saves his clients more than the amount of his fees - Arnold H. Glasglow.