Selling Your House? Avoid These Mistakes

Reblogger Winston Heverly
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Winston Realty, Inc. BK63078915

 

Attention homeowners this can be an easy road or a long, twisting and turning roller coaster ride. It really comes down to you and the decision your family makes. This will be one of those to not take lightly but rather given serious thought. Making the right choice will not only save you time, but money, heartache and sometimes friendships.


Original content by Jason Stewart

Selling your home - especially if you've never done it before - can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging. Strangers will come into your home and poke around in your closets and cabinets. They will criticize a place that has probably become more than just four walls and a roof to you, and then, to top it all off, they will offer you less money than you think your home is worth. With no experience and a complex, emotional transaction on your hands, it's easy for first-time homesellers to make lots of mistakes, but with a little know-how, many of these pitfalls can be avoided altogether. Read on to find out how you can get the highest possible price for your home within a reasonable time frame - without losing your mind.


Mistake No.1 - Getting Emotionally Involved
Once you decide to sell your home, it can be helpful to start thinking of yourself as a businessperson and a homeseller rather than as the home's owner. By looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you'll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property that you've undoubtedly created many memories in. Also, try to remember how you felt when you were shopping for that home. Most buyers will also be in an emotional state. If you can remember that you are selling not just a piece of property but also an image, a dream and a lifestyle, you'll be more likely to put in the extra effort of staging and perhaps some minor remodeling to get top dollar for your home. These changes in appearance will not only help the sales price, they'll also help you create that emotional distance because the home will look less familiar.
 

Mistake No.2 - Not Hiring an Agent
Although real estate agents command a hefty commission (usually 5-6% of the sale price of your home), trying to sell your home on your own, especially if you haven't done it before, is probably ill advised. A good agent will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home that will increase your odds of a quick sale. An agent can also help take some of the high emotion out of the process by interacting directly with potential buyers so you don't have to, and eliminating tire kickers who only want to look at your property but have no intention of putting in an offer.

An agent will also have more experience negotiating home sales than you do, potentially helping you get more money than you could on your own. Further, if any problems crop up during the process - and they commonly do - an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly.
 
 
Mistake No.3 - Setting an Unrealistic Price
Whether you're working with an agent or going it alone, setting the right asking price is key. Remember the comparable market analysis you did when you bought a home to figure out a fair offering price? Buyers will do this for your home, too, so as a seller you should be one step ahead of the game.

Absent a housing bubble, overpriced homes do not sell. Don't worry too much about setting a price that's on the low side because, in theory, this will generate multiple offers and bid the price up to the home's true market value. In fact, underpricing your home a bit can actually be a strategy to generate extra interest in your listing.
 
 
 
Mistake No.4 - Not Accommodating Potential Buyers
If someone wants to view your house, you need to accommodate this person, even if it is inconvenient for you. And yes, you have to clean and declutter the house before every single visit. A buyer won't know and won't care if your house was clean last week if it isn't clean when he or she views it. It's a lot of work, but stay focused on the prize.
 
 
Mistake No.5 - Trying to Hide Significant Problems
Any problem with the property will be uncovered during the buyer's inspection, so there's no use hiding it. Either fix the problem ahead of time, price the property below market value to account for the problem, or list the property at a normal price but offer the buyer a credit to fix the problem. Realize that if you don't fix the problem in advance, you may turn away a fair number of buyers who want a turnkey home. Having your home inspected before listing it is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises once the home is under contract.
 
 
Mistake No.6 - Signing a Purchase Contract With an Unqualified Buyer
It's more than reasonable to expect a buyer to bring a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender (or proof of funds for cash purchases) showing that he or she has the money to buy the home. Signing a contract with a buyer whose purchase of your home is contingent on the sale of his or her own property may also put you in a serious bind if you need to close by a particular date.
 
 
Conclusion
Even if you do all of these things when selling your home, it's best to prepare mentally and financially for less-than-ideal scenarios. The house may sit on the market for far longer than you expect, especially in a declining market. If you can't find a buyer in time, you may end up trying to pay two mortgages, having to rent your home out until you can find a buyer, or in dire situations, in foreclosure. However, if you avoid the costly mistakes listed here, it will go a long way toward helping you put your best foot forward and achieving that seamless, lucrative sale every homeseller hopes for.




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Rainmaker
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Stephanie/Bob The Ruiz/Miller Team
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Winston, great list.  And no matter how many times we remind them sellers continue to make these mistakes.

Apr 29, 2012 04:04 PM #1
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Rainmaker
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Winston Heverly

GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA
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