Mistake 1: Trying to sell your home by yourself
Without fail, there will be some homeowners who try to sell their homes, thinking it will save them money by not paying a Realtor. However, statistics prove this doesn’t work out in their favor, as the average For Sale By Owner home sold for $210,000, but the average home sold by a Realtor goes for $249,000 – a difference of $39,000, or 15.6% of the sale price! What’s more, FSBOs sit on market at least 19 days on market longer IF they sell at all, as 20% of FSBOs are taken off the market and relisted. With those facts in mind it’s no wonder 87% of homeowners choose to use a real estate agent to represent them, while the others keep making this costly mistake.
Mistake 2: Pricing your home unreasonably high
This is probably the most common selling mistake, though it’s perfectly understandable that everyone wants to get as much money for their home as possible. But homeowners would be wise to carefully consider the facts and statistics about the market and values of similar properties, not speculation or feelings. Remember that if a home doesn’t sell at all – or sits on market an unusually long time – it will cost the homeowner far more than they ever stood to make with an unreasonable price bump. The good news is that you can start with a listing price on the higher end of a reasonable spectrum to test the market, and lower it incrementally at designated points if it doesn’t sell or there aren’t enough showings.
Mistake 3: Fixing up a property too much before listing
Of course you should make necessary repairs before listing your home, but sometimes, over-conscientious homeowners go too far and start undertaking extensive remodeling projects. Unless they are cosmetic fixes, these won’t even come close to paying for themselves when the house sells, costing you time and a lot of money. In fact, even the repairs that offer the best return on investment – exterior siding, a new front door, a new garage door, or a mid-range kitchen remodel – only yield about 70 cents for every dollar you spend. And many of repairs will only get you back 30 0r 40 cents for every dollar out of your pocket! It may seem like a fine line between sprucing up and fixing certain things compared to what repairs aren’t cost effective, but we can walk you through it and offer recommendations.
Mistake 4: Making it to hard for realtors to show your home
How easy will it be for other real estate agents to show their eager buyers your home? If you decide it’s only accessible between 5:45 and 6:30 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and every second Saturday morning, you have a vicious barking dog roaming about, or the buyer’s agent needs to call three times to set a special appointment to see it, chances are they’ll move on to the other twenty houses on their list – which are simple and easy to see! Help the people who are working hard to get your house sold (and yourself!) by putting a lockbox on the property with standard and reasonable showing instructions.
Mistake 5: Not cleaning and de-cluttering your property
The very first thing you should do BEFORE you even have a Realtor over to sign the listing paperwork is go through your home and remove clutter, excess items, and a good deal of personal effects. It’s ok to leave some things, but the less you have in any room (absent of it being completely empty), the bigger and more airy it will look. Likewise, shelves, countertops, and even closets look much bigger and open when they only have a few essential items on them. With a warm but minimal presence, it will be easy for potential buyers to project their own personal things on the space – and actually envision their family living there. Once you’ve gone through and put about half or more of your items in storage (off site – not in the garage or crammed in closets!) then go through and give it a meticulous cleaning, or even better, hire a professional cleaning company that will scrub corners, whiten grout, and make your home look like new.
Mistake 6: Not getting professional listing photos taken
If an image is better than 1,000 words, then having the clear, stunning, and high-quality photographs of your home can boost your online viewings, potential buyers, offers, and even your sale price immeasurably. Therefore, I highly recommend that we arrange a professional real estate photographer to come in and present your home in the best light, and for higher-end or luxury listings, even employ a video tour and possibly aerial drone photos.
Mistake 7: Not disclosing everything
Possibly the biggest mistake a home seller can make is not properly and honestly filling out their disclosures. Seller knowledge (or even suspicion!) of any material defects, problems, and issues with the property – or the neighborhood – WILL come back to bite you in a big way, jeopardizing any transaction and possibly even landing you in court. It’s always best to be 100% forthright and up front with your disclosures, and we can usually solve many of these concerns before they become problems by ordering the appropriate reports, making repairs, and providing in-depth research to the potential buyers.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog, with the final 8 home selling mistakes!