Mistakes Some Sellers Make
Selling a home is something you either want to do or are forced to do, and naturally, you want to make the most money you can from the transaction. Whether you have been transferred and have to sell immediately or you're retired and have all the time in the world to test the market, you should do the most you can to bring the best price possible for your efforts.
The easiest way to do that is to avoid the most common mistakes that most sellers make.
Not Interviewing Enough Realtors ®
According to the National Association of Realtors, 63 percent of home sellers interviewed only one Realtor ® before listing their homes, and 18 percent only interviewed two real estate professionals. Therefore, the first agent in the door is the most likely one to get the listing. By interviewing only one or two Realtors, you are only assured of meeting the most aggressive Realtor, not necessarily the one with the best marketing plan and personality for you and your needs. Ask your friends and associates for recommendations.
Today, many Realtors have specialties that may fit your needs. If you are a senior citizen for example, you may be better served by a Senior Real Estate Specialist or someone who is a specialist in certain areas. If you are relocating, and need special help, a relocation specialist can help pave the way.
Trusting your most important asset to the first person you meet simply isn't the way to do business.
Choosing A Realtor ® Based Upon How High A Price She/He Is Willing To List The Home
After showing you a comparative market analysis, examining your home, viewing your competition in the neighborhood, and giving you an honest opinion of what the home should fetch in today's market, your Realtor ® should also have a good idea how much and how quickly you’re home will sell. But many sellers have their own ideas. They want top dollar whether the home warrants it or not. To get the listing, the Realtor ® may sense this and play to your ego. Why? Because the Realtor ® can't lose - even if she/he doesn't sell your home. As long as his/her sign is in your yard, the agent will benefit from "free" advertising. She/He can get calls as people drive by your home and see the sign. When the listing is about to expire she/he will ask for a price reduction and extension, then the property will probably sell.
The problem with that reasoning is that if you are forced to reduce the price at the wrong time, you will likely end up with less than if you have priced it correctly in the first place. Why? One thing buyers check when they shop for homes is how long it has been on the market. If it has been too long, they think a bargain can be negotiated. The odds are good that you will be offered significantly lower than the Realtor ® would have priced your home in the first place.
Choosing Agents Who Advertise Exclusively In The Local Market
Many agents are still fighting progress tooth and nail, and they still aren't ready for the Internet or any other kind of national, let alone international marketing campaign. Home sales do occur at the local level, but an extremely important element today it an effective Internet site complemented by newspapers, direct mail marketing techniques and an extensive contact list. If your agent doesn't have a marketing plan that includes national exposure, she/he is relying too much on other agents to sell your home. Without a comprehensive marketing plan, you are paying a multi-thousand dollar commission for a one-hour interview, a sign in the yard, and a listing with the MLS. If you are lucky, you'll get an ad and a generic feature sheet.
Shouldn't you be getting more for your money than that?
Overpricing The Home
It is human nature to regard what belongs to us with the eyes of love. Aren't our children more beautiful? Aren't our mates more desirable? Our homes are no different. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that is why almost all sellers are tempted to overprice their homes. A high price is prestigious; it shows everyone how important you are. A high price will also eliminate the most motivated buyers. Most buyers today are pre-qualified and they know what price ranges to look in. If your home is overpriced, they will compare it to other homes in the price range that offer approximately the same amenities (or perhaps more), and pass on yours.
Putting Too Much Value On Personal Improvements
Everybody customizes a home when they move in. You like wallpaper, another likes neutral colors and open floor plans. People have different tastes and priorities. The swimming pool you put in for $30,000 is terrific, but the next buyer may view it as a financial drain, especially if it is over 10 years old. You see, improvements age, and when they age, they have to be repaired not to mention the maintenance nightmares.
Real estate expert David Knox asks his sellers who are tempted to overprice improvements, "If you had known you were moving, would you still have made this improvement?" Usually the answer is no. The buyer will most likely agree - with a fair offer for the home. It's best to look upon improvements as something you did to please yourself, but don't expect all updates to add value to the home.
Mistaking Activity For Interest
When people are interested, they make offers. If they aren't making offers, something is holding them back. A good agent should routinely ask for feedback whenever your home is shown, but a lot of agents don't follow through with this courtesy. Feedback is crucial to understanding why you aren't getting offers on the home. The lack of response is usually due to two things - the home is in undesirable condition and/or it is overpriced. An important note: A good follow up program is more likely to generate multiple offers!
Failing To Prepare The Home For Sale Before It Goes On The Market
Preparing the home for sale can include everything from spring cleaning, to repainting, to clearing out clutter, to making repairs, and so on. It's hard work! Many people leave their exteriors and interiors as is, but if you haven't updated in years and the home looks outdated, your home will not compare as well with those of your competitors who have taken the time and gone to the expense to freshen the home. Keep in mind that you are competing not only with homes in the neighborhood but with new homes as well.
Today's buyer wants what the new homes have. If they can't get it, they will settle for a mature home with fresh paint and everything in working order. Your home must "feel new."
Failing To Heed The Advice Of Experts
When a good agent represents you, she/he is trained and has experience in the marketplace. Many sellers like to remain in control by telling the agent what to do. If you tell an agent you insist on having an open house, you are already demonstrating your lack of knowledge of what sells homes. Very few homes sell through open houses - but your agent will be happy to have one for you and pick up some new clients. The same holds true for negotiating. If you are the kind who draws a line in the sand, there is no point in your being represented at all. Your agent won't be able to help you. However, if you are willing to listen and weigh what the agent is telling you, you will know from the forward progress of the transaction that you received sound advice.
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