Selling your home can be complicated, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of details involved. Still, the experience can be very manageable—and educational!—when broken down into its parts and plotted out into steps. The following is a list of common pitfalls encountered during the home-selling process. Use these as a guide to help your journey remain a smooth one.
1. Ambitious Pricing
It would be best to determine your home’s asking price based on its market value. Too often, home sellers let emotions or needs influence their asking price. This mistake may prove to be a costly one. Suppose your home is priced significantly higher than what the market is bearing. In that case, prospective buyers interested in your style of home will reject it for larger homes listed at the same price. And those buyers who do see your house may have significantly higher expectations than what you offer. Ironically, over-pricing your home increases the chances that it will sell for less than it is worth. Driving prospective buyers away will increase the time your home stays on the market. The bottom line: price it correctly, and they will come. Be vigilant, too, of pricing your home too low: a lack of market value awareness could result in selling your home for much less than it’s worth.
2. Neglecting to Showcase Your Home
Take the time to ensure you’re offering buyers the best first impression of your home. A few improvements to your home before placing it on the market can increase the chances of selling quickly and for more money. When buyers spot an area of your home needing repair, they consider this perceived cost when deciding upon an offer price—if they haven’t already been scared away. And since buyers often aren’t sure about the repair cost, they will create a more significant margin for error in their asking price. Sellers are always better off dealing with these repairs themselves. In addition to taking care of fix-ups, ensure the house is clean and welcoming and the yard is well-groomed.
3. Choosing the Wrong Realtor
Many sellers choose the realtor who tells them the highest asking price. This should never be the sole basis for selecting a realtor—you must have confidence in the full spectrum of your realtor’s experience and abilities. Keep the following questions in mind: can this agent explain all aspects of the selling process to you? Does s/he have a good grasp of the market? Does s/he have access to a large pool of buyers and a marketing plan to attract them? An experienced realtor will usually cost the same as an inexperienced realtor. Holding out for experience could mean more security for your ultimate home-selling goals to be attained.
4. Trying to “Hard Sell” During Showing
Buying a home can be emotional and stressful, and potential home-buyers don’t want to feel pressured when viewing a home. So, let your home speak for itself. Allow potential home-buyers to view the house and property comfortably. Don’t try haggling or pointing out every improvement you’ve made. Good realtors let buyers discover the house for themselves, only pointing out features they’re sure will be of interest and being receptive to any questions the buyers might have.
5. Mistaking “Lookers” for “Buyers”
Some people who look at your home may need to be more serious about buying. Many who view homes may just be getting a feel for the market, gathering ideas for “showcasing” their own home, or even looking for decorating tips. Of the people looking to buy, those who do not come through with a realtor can be 6 to 12 months away from buying, and they may still be in the process of selling their own homes or saving money for a new one. An Experienced realtor will separate the “Lookers” from the “Buyers.” Realtors should establish a potential buyer’s savings, credit rating, and purchasing power. If your realtor still needs to look into a buyer’s financial background, you should take the time to investigate. It will save you valuable time in marketing to the wrong people.
6. Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property
A good realtor will ensure that your property is showcased and marketed in the best, most effective manner possible, employing a broad spectrum of marketing techniques. They should be committed to selling your property, making an effort to distinguish your home from the hundreds of other homes on the market. Most calls are received—and viewings scheduled—during business hours, so your realtor should be available to field these calls from prospective buyers. Lack of realtor availability, limited viewing times, and not allowing a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn can all affect your home’s exposure to the pool of potential buyers and ultimately affect your bottom line.
7. Being Unaware of Your Rights and Responsibilities
You must be thoroughly aware of the details of your real estate contract. These contracts are often complex—but no matter how confusing and convoluted the language, the agreement is legally binding. You are responsible for its contents when you sign your name. Not knowing your responsibilities could cost you thousands in repairs and inspections. Have an experienced realtor explain the contract to you or get your lawyer to review it before you accept.