8 Biggest Mistakes
Mistake No. 1 – Pricing Incorrectly
Every seller wants to get as much money as possible when selling a home. A listing priced too high often results in less money for the seller. If your home is not priced competitively, people looking in your price range will reject it in favour of other, larger homes for the same price. At the same time, the people who should be looking at your home will not see it because it is overpriced! Overpricing usually increases time on the market, and adds to the carrying costs. Ultimately, many overpriced properties sell below market value.
Mistake No. 2 – Failing to “Showcase” the Home
Buyers are looking for a home to live in, not just for a house. Owners who fail to make repairs, such as sprucing up the house, touching up the paint and keeping it clean can chase away buyers. If you were selling a car, you would wash it, or maybe even detail it to get the highest price. Houses are no different.
Mistake No. 3 – Using the “Hard Sell” During Showings
Buying a home is an emotional decision. Resist the temptation to talk the entire time a buyer is there, and let them discover things on their own. People like to “try on” a house and see if it is comfortable for them. It’s difficult for them to do that if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you’ve made. It may even have the opposite effect you want.
Mistake No. 4 – Mistaking Lookers for Buyers
For Sale by Owners nearly always get more activity than homes listed with an agent. No question about it, Real Estate agents will only bring qualified buyers. A qualified buyer is one who is ready, willing and able to buy your home. We find that most people who look at For Sale By Owners are just starting to think about moving. They may be good buyers, but they are six to nine months away from being ready. They don’t want to bother an agent yet, so they call the “By Owner” ads to get a feel for what’s available. They may have a house to sell first, may need to save some more money or may have credit that needs fixing. When everything is in place, that’s when they go looking with an agent.
An agent will ask buyers how much they can really spend for a home, discuss down payment, evaluate credit and decide a realistic monthly payment. It’s necessary to find out how much will be realized when their present home closes. Unless your Real Estate agent finds out all the facts first, you must ask all these questions before the buyer crosses your threshold. Otherwise, you may have a parade of Sunday afternoon shoppers with a dream of owning a home someday.
Mistake No. 5 – Not Knowing Your Rights and Obligations
Real estate law is extensive and complex: the contract for sale and purchase is a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can cause the sale to fall through, or cost you thousands for repairs, inspections and remedies for title defects. You must know whether the property can legally be sold ”as is” and how deed restrictions and local zoning will affect the transaction. If there are defects in your title, or if the title or the property is in conflict with local restrictions, you or your Real Estate agent must remedy them. Also, current laws allow the buyer an option period to inspect and approve of any inspection reports and repair bids. Know your alternatives here.
Mistake No. 6 – Signing a Listing Contract with No Way Out
Many times an agent will have good intentions about marketing your home, but circumstances can change. In cases where the agent isn’t performing, you should have the right to fire your agent. In some companies the broker will assign your listing to someone else in the office, someone you didn’t personally select. Always protect yourself by getting a guarantee of performance which gives you the right to cancel anytime for any reason.
Mistake No. 7 – Limiting the Market and Exposure of the Property
The two most obvious marketing tools (open houses and classified ads) are only moderately effective. Surprisingly, less that 1% of homes are sold at an open house. Agents use them to attract future prospects, not sell the house! Advertising studies show that less than 3% of people purchased their home because they responded to an ad. If a machine answers, most callers just hang up without leaving a message.
The right Real Estate agent will employ a broad spectrum of marketing activities, emphasizing what he or she believes will work best for you. There are dozens of more effective ways to find buyers than just open houses and advertising. Did you know that most calls come in during business hours when sellers are at work, and most home showings are between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday? We market homes 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year!
Mistake No. 8 – Choosing the Wrong Real Estate agent, or Choosing Them for the Wrong Reasons
It’s very likely that you don’t interview people very often, and yet in order to find the right Real Estate agent, you may interview several. The quality of your home selling experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the best qualified person.
It’s interesting that in the real estate business, someone with many successfully closed transactions almost always costs the same as an inexperienced agent. Bringing that experience to bear on your transaction could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time and with the minimum amount of hassles. The world is populated with Real Estate agents who are wrong for you.
The sale of your home could well be the most important financial transaction you have ever been involved with. The person you select can make it a satisfying and profitable activity or a terrible experience. It’s your home and your money. The choice of your Real Estate agent is up to you. Make the selection carefully.