The Biggest Mistake by Sellers

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

When the average Utah home seller sits down to interview real estate agents, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement over choosing a sales price. General consensus is, more money means more financial opportunities for the homeowner. Perhaps it means the seller can afford to buy a more expensive home, help pay for a child's college education or take that greatly overdue vacation. Unfortunately, uninformed sellers often choose the Salt Lake City listing agent who suggests the highest list price, which is the worst mistake a seller can make.

The truth is it doesn't really matter how much money you think your home is worth. Frankly, it doesn't even matter what your agent thinks or ten other agents just like her. The person whose opinion matters is the buyer who makes an offer. Pricing homes is the most critical step of listing your home and is considered part art and part science. It involves comparing similar properties, making adjustments for the differences among them, tracking market movements and taking stock of present inventory, all in an attempt to come up with a range of value, an educated opinion. This method is the same way an appraiser evaluates a home. No two appraisals are ever the same; however, they are generally close to each other. In other words, there is no hard and fast price tag to slap on your home. It's only an educated guess and the market will dictate the price.

A home will sell at a price a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept. If a home is priced too low, priced under the competition, the seller should receive multiple offers to drive up the price to market value. So there is little danger in pricing a home too low. The danger lies in pricing it too high and selecting your agent solely on opinion of value.

A past client had originally chosen to list her Holladay luxury home with the first realtor off the Internet because, as she said, "He looked like such a nice guy." He over priced her home at $1,150,000. This listing expired 90 days later and not even one showing resulted within those 90 days. The client then relisted with a second agent for $1,025,000. Many months passed, along with increment price drops to $899,000.  She had a few lookie-loos, but no serious buyers.

By the time she came around to us, through referrals, the seller had grown weary and exhausted. It was now nearly 12 months later. Together, we priced the home at $729,000. It immediately sold for all cash. The sad part is the comparable sales in the neighborhood fully justified a price of $825,000, but the home had been on the market for too long at the wrong price, and now the market had softened.

The question is how much money have those expired listings cost the sellers? The financial loss often exceeds the extra mortgage payments paid and goes beyond the uncompensated hassle factor of trying to keep a home spotless during showings. It affects the value that a buyer ultimately chooses to pay because it's not a fresh listing anymore. It's now stale, dated, a market-worn home that was overpriced for too long. Don't let it happen to you. Don't be that seller of an expired listing. Price it RIGHT with the RIGHT realtor the first time!

Linda Secrist - Lisa Herron-McKinney - Brett Butler - Linda Secrist & Associates - Whatever they touch turns to sold


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