The Dirty Dozen: 12 Common Mistakes Sellers Make

It’s a seller’s market and stock is tight; with more buyers than homes for sale you’d think a seller can’t put a foot wrong?

Well, you’d be mistaken. This is a roundup of mistakes sellers make, as continually witnessed by three real estate professionals who work with sellers and buyers all the time. Every day, in the best of markets, sellers are losing out and here are some of the reasons why:

  1. The price isn’t right

If your asking price isn’t consistent with other homes of a similar value in your area, you may be in for a nasty surprise. The wrong price will leave your property languishing on the market long after the listing was made.

  1. Not doing cosmetic repairs

Buyers should see a fine-looking home when they walk in the door. Grubby walls, finger smudges, chipped paint, and dirty grout are things that instantly put buyers off. A high quality home will look well-loved and maintained.

  1. Trying to hide the unfixable

Don’t think you can hide a problem. It’s in your interests to be upfront, the home inspection will reveal it anyway and you’re just wasting time – yours, the buyer’s and the agent’s. Try to hide defects and you could find yourself being sued for non-disclosure.

  1. Not fixing the fixable

Bypass hassles by making any necessary home repairs – the buyer is going to have a home inspection done before closing, so take care of any needed repairs early on.

  1. Getting sentimental

Don’t be the seller with an emotional attachment to their house. These sellers often say things like, “I won’t sell my home for less than “X” amount.”  Meanwhile, your potential buyers are saying, “We won’t buy this home for more than “Y” amount.” If you have this problem, then don’t be around during Open Houses or get hurt feelings when you hear negative feedback about your home.

6. Seeing $$$

Sellers often develop a financial attachment to their home. This is when all improvements, along with the original purchase price, form a “line-in-the-sand” the seller won’t go below.

  1. Disregarding the market

By not considering all parameters; capital gains tax implications, financial circumstances, the wrong time to sell, market conditions (is it a buyer’s market or seller/s market?) and so forth, sellers put themselves at a disadvantage.

  1. Going with just any agent

Not practicing due diligence when choosing an agent. Most home owners (70%) only talk to one agent before selling their home. This is an important relationship; interviewing several agents just makes good sense, given that personalities and fees can differ radically.

  1. Over capitalizing

This is often the cause of #6. Sellers need to consider if that new swimming pool will boost their property’s value by as much as it costs to build. Concentrate on home improvements that will yield a high ROI, are suitable for the neighborhood and the type of property. Don’t be guilty of this common mistake sellers make.

  1. Not depersonalizing or de cluttering

Sellers see only treasured picture and possessions. Prospective buyers can’t see past them. Buyers need to imagine themselves living in the home, so you want to make it as neutral as possible. Uncluttering and depersonalizing allow people to see themselves there, not you.

  1. Skimping on the marketing

The seller’s agent should take care of the marketing but if extras are going to make the home sell faster, a seller should be willing to pay for them

  1. Not evaluating offers properly

The highest offer is not always the best offer, when buyer contingencies, closing date, buyer’s financial situation, etc. are taken into account. Sellers should consider all these aspects before making a decision.

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