Tuesday, May 17, 2016

15 Home-selling mistakes that could cost you a lot of money. (Part 2)

Your house is probably the largest financial investment you’ll make in your lifetime, and therefore selling it should be handled with diligence, care, and planning. But too often, homeowners make the same common mistakes when putting their home up for sale, ultimately costing them tens - if not hundreds -of thousands of dollars.

But if knowledge is power, then by identifying these most common home selling mistakes we can empower you to make better decisions and avoid them, ensuring you maximize your profit when selling, starting with selecting the right real estate agent to represent you.

In part one of this blog we covered the first 7 mistakes homeowners make when putting up their house for sale, and here are the next 8:

Mistake #8: Becoming too emotional
We understand that your house is your home, where you probably raised your family and have many years and memories invested. But selling your home should be viewed as a business transaction, not personal. By taking emotion out of the process as much as possible, you’ll make clear and logical decisions in your best interest. Ask any successful businessperson and he or she will tell you that emotion, fear, anger, ego, and personal feelings end up costing you money!

Mistake #9: Not listening to the market
When we list a home, we first run a comprehensive market analysis for the seller, showing the hard data about what similar homes in the same area are selling for, as well as what other competition is on the market. We’ll make our best professional recommendation on the listing price, but the final decision is up to the homeowner. No matter where you set your initial listing price, pay attention to what the market is telling you – what the data says. Ignoring market data and instead making decisions on emotion or hope for gain can be counterproductive and cost you in the long run.

Mistake #10: Failing to think like a buyer
Instead of thinking, “This is what I want for my home,” and “I want to sell at this price,” try to put yourself in a potential buyer’s situation. Imagine yourself hitting the home buying circuit on a busy Saturday and how you would view each listing. For instance, buyers usually start from the bottom of their price range and then work their way up, and as a home seller, realize they will be viewing a lot of other listings in the same price range as your home – your competition. Understanding the process from a consumer’s perspective will help you maximize your home’s presentation and strategically set your price to get the highest and best offers!

Mistake #11: Not having your home staged
If you are trying to sell your luxury or high-end home, enlisting the help of a professional stager is a must. Yes, you’ll have to spend a small amount of money up front, but it will offer huge returns when your home sells. In fact, national statistics show that staged homes sell in an average of 13.8 days while non-staged homes sell in 30.9 days, and staged homes sell for an average 17% higher sales price, offering a 586% return on investment.

Still not convinced? In a recent survey, 9 out of 10 potential buyers said they had trouble visualizing how a completely unfurnished home could appear when furnished, and 81% of buyers report a stage home is easier to visualize the property as their future home.

Mistake #12: Not researching your competition
Buyers have a lot of homes to choose from, so before you even price your home or put a For Sale sign in the front year, your real estate agent should sit down with you and go over a market analysis thoroughly. Every home that is currently for sale within your greater geographic area and with similar dimensions and features (for instance, homes with 3 or more bedrooms in Folsom,) should be considered your competition. This is the same approximate list your pool of potential buyers will be looking at, so make sure you’re listing is strategically priced and positioned correctly against that competition.

Mistake #13: Not marketing your listing correctly
What sells homes these days? A great home at the right price is WHY a home sells and that never changes, but the HOW is something far different. Research shows that certain marketing strategies significantly impact home sales – and pay the most dividends for the seller. These include taking a good number of professional-quality photos, staging the home, making sure it’s easily accessible for any potential buyer’s agents, exposure through community and professional networking, and especially a great online presentation that includes a stellar MLS listing, web, email, and social media promotion. Marketing correctly through digital platforms is essential these days, especially with higher end listings, considering that 95% of luxury homebuyers are active and engaged on social media and 90% of luxury buyers start their search for a home online.

Mistake #14: Not consulting your tax advisor and other financial advisors
Some of the best tax breaks you’ll ever realize are tied to real estate, especially with capital gains exclusions and the ability to do a 1030 exchange rollover to avoid profit from some home sales becoming taxable events (especially with investment properties.) However, you never want to sell your home (or make any big financial decisions, for that matter) without consulting your CPA or tax planner. Since an additional hundreds of thousands of dollars (or millions) of income you potentially might have to declare would surely throw your tax returns out of whack, failing to get expert counsel could potentially be the biggest home selling mistake you could ever make.

Mistake #15: Using the wrong Realtor
The home seller ultimately makes the important decisions about pricing, listing, staging, showing, and marketing their home. But smart sellers enlist the help of the best real estate professional possible to give them great advice, and it all starts with finding the right real estate agent. Too often, homeowners choose a Realtor just because they know the person socially or they bump into them at an open house, but you should really use a local expert who specializes in listing homes similar to yours. Interview the best candidates and ask tough questions, while also gauging whom you feel good about since you’ll be communicating and working closely with that person. If you follow this process, you’ll end up with the best possible real estate agent to help you sell your home and maximize your profits through a smooth transaction.


The Alfano Real Estate Group would love the chance to compete for your business and earn your trust. When you’re ready to sell your home, so feel free to contact us any time with questions.

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