The Most Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Trying to Sell Their Home
What are the top mistakes that keep your home from selling? Most homeowners assume selling a home is not a big deal. Selling your home is more than a big deal - it is an art form. If you can avoid making the most common home selling mistakes, your property will sell quickly and at the best possible price. But, how do you do achieve that?
Do you have a pen and paper ready? In that case, it is time to create a checklist so you can avoid these blunders. When you have ticked them all of, you'll be ready to list your home with a skilled real estate agent.
Any article written about mistakes that will keep your home from selling will bring up pricing. If you overprice your house, it's not going to sell. It's really that simple. One of the most common errors among home sellers is thinking that a higher list price translates to a higher sale price. Sorry but that's not the case when the price is WRONG!
If you are working with a real estate agent, you trust then listen to them!
Your Real Estate Agent
There is a reason I mentioned "skilled" real estate agent above. Getting a real estate license is effortless. You don't need much of an education to be a real estate agent, and frankly, that's a shame. Real Estate agents deal with most peoples most significant asset.
Be forewarned; you don't want to jump in with both feet first. Check out your agent and make sure that he or she is the right one for you. Only list your property with an agent when you are confident they are going to do an excellent job.
What this means is you need to conduct a serious vetting process. Picking a real estate agent to sell your home takes time and effort. Look at this as a business transaction and try to avoid getting emotional. Choosing a particular real estate agent because you love the price they gave you is a significant mistake.
The process of selecting a real estate agent should have very little to do with the price. Of course, you don't want to list with someone undervaluing your home but that rarely ever happens. Smart home sellers never make the mistake of meeting with one real estate agent. You should plan on interviewing at least three real estate agents.
Thinking an Open House is a Priority
One of the biggest misnomers among sellers is that an open house is a critical marketing activity. Who can blame them? Tons of real estate agents fool sellers into believing this archaic marketing activity is necessary.
Why? Prospecting! Open houses can be an excellent opportunity for a real estate agent to prospect for future business. Are open houses necessary to sell a home? Absolutely not! Any real buyer will schedule a showing for a home they are interested in viewing. The internet changed the usefulness of open houses.
Years ago buyers didn't have all the homes available to purchase at their fingertips. Now they do. If you are selling your home, there is one significant reason not to have an open house - THEFT! A large percentage of real estate agents never bother to mention to their clients what a security risk open houses can be.
If you are going to allow your real estate agent to host one of these events, make sure you take precautions to keep your house safe. Frankly, you would be better off skipping the open houses.
Is Your Home in Good Order?
Before you open the door to a potential buyer, go through your home from top to bottom. Any little issues are easy to sort out but do look out for significant problems. What would be considered significant issues? You can start with things that are likely to be home inspection deal breakers. Remember the buyer will be hiring a professional to scope out your place before they commit to moving forward.
Is the skylight in the kitchen leaking? Are their rotted window sills? Are the bricks on your chimney crumbling? Did you notice there is some mold in your basement? Not fixing these kind of items would be a significant mistake. Many buyers would consider these problems more than just common maintenance issues. Learn how to think like a buyer.
Take your time and fix any items that stand out like a sore thumb. Trust me your home will be penalized for not having these problems corrected. It will be worth the money remedying any significant issues.
Two Big No-No's
Are there any points in your house which are major no-no's? The areas most buyers are most critical of are usually the kitchen and bathrooms. You may think that carpets in the bathroom are a great idea, but for most buyers, carpets in damp areas are a real turn off. Replace them with tiles or even wood floor that are specifically manufactured for bathrooms.
What about big stains? Big stains will put off a buyer. They will think that that there is an underlying issue that will need to get fixed right away. That is not the impression you want to give, so make sure you remove any big stains. Quite often there are stains from shower curtains being left open in an upstairs bathroom that stains the kitchen ceiling. Get that fixed!
Crayon marks are another thing you want to deal with before you list your home. Your kids loved to draw on their walls but the buyer surely won't. Pay attention to scuff marks in high traffic areas like your staircase and hallways. Get these areas touched up.
Pet Smells and Presence
You may think that your dog smells "homely," but that is not what a buyer is going to feel. Give Fido a beauty treatment, brush his teeth and make sure that he is on his best behavior when a buyer comes around. Keep his sleeping area clean and don't let him run around with squeaky toys. Noisy and barking dogs can also be seen as irritating. You don't want anything to get in the way of the sales process.
Do a Little Bit of Exterior Sprucing/Gardening
For many wanting to sell a home, the actual home selling process starts months before you list your home with an agent. The outside of your house is just as important as the inside. A beautiful looking lawn will set your home apart from others, and you should do what you can to make your garden look great. Real Estate agents affectionately call this curb appeal tips to sell a home. Make the outside of your house a priority just like the inside.
Plant some fresh flowers and fill up your planters. Color can really help to sell a home, and so can a well-maintained garden. Should you turf the garden the week before you list the house? Not a good idea - it will only look fake.
Clean Up the Kitchen
Most real estate agents will emphasize that the kitchen is the most important room in your home. Making sure it looks fantastic is vital! What is that on the kitchen counter? If you tend to leave the remnants of last night's take out on the kitchen counter, you need to change your attitude. Your kitchen and bathrooms should be spotless at all times. Take out the trash, do the dishes, and stack the plates in the cabinets. Will a buyer look in the cupboards? More than likely and they expect to see order and space.
Don't leave towels laying around in the bathrooms. It looks sloppy, and it will smell. Once again, it is about creating an image of tidiness and allowing the buyer to see himself in your space. Think about your home as a perfect tidy movie set.
Are All Buyers Good Buyers?
No, buyers are not perfect people, and you need to appreciate that. Some of them will even be rude and arrogant. Take it in your stride and ignore them. At the same time, if someone wants to negotiate or point out something which they may have an issue with when it comes to your home - Listen to them. You don't want to lose a sale because of a silly point or a couple of hundred bucks.
Color coordination is important. You probably love your orange comforter and your bright pink walls, but will a buyer? More than likely they will not, and you should try to remove all "offensive" decorating schemes which scream lousy taste. Neutral is best and will make your home look both spacious and clean. Do you have wallpaper in much of your home?
A room or two with wallpaper won't be a big deal. Having a home full of wallpaper is another story. It severely dates your home. Wallpaper is highly personalized. It is doubtful a buyer will fall in love with it. Most savvy real estate agents will recommend you remove your wallpaper.
Avoiding selling mistakes is easier than you think. A good agent will be able to give you the best selling advice. Remember that they are professionals and you should always follow their advice.
Nobody sets out to make mistakes when they are selling a home. It just happens. A large percentage of homeowners think they know more than they really do. There are hundreds of articles providing tips on selling real estate.
Some sellers are smart enough to research before putting the for sale sign in the front lawn. I am going to leave you with some things you should never do when selling your house. These are nine mistakes that sellers make far too often when putting their home on the market. Don't be one of these guys!
You can never be too educated when selling a home. If your real estate agent has been selling for a while, they can be a great asset in the educational process. Hopefully, you have chosen someone worth their salt. Best of luck!
Other Valuable Active Rain Real Estate Articles Worth a Look
- How to prepare your home to sell - see insightful advice on what you need to do to get your home ready for the real estate market.
- Why do you want your own real estate agent - terrific reasoning behind why you should have your own real estate agent in your corner via Glenn Shelhamer.
- Real Estate roundup filled with helpful advice - see a handful of great real estate articles in this excellent roundup with information for buyers and sellers from William Cook.
Use these additional articles to make the best decisions when you are going to be buying or selling a home.
Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.
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