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The 9 Most Deadly Mistakes You Can Make When Selling Your Home


When you are getting ready to put your property on the market, there are a myriad of things to think about, to prepare for and to organize. Here’s a short list of some of the pitfalls to watch out for!



Deadly Mistake No.1 - Pricing Incorrectly


Every seller wants to realize as much money as possible when he sells his home. But a listing price that is too high often gets the seller less than market value. If your house is not priced competitively, people who are looking in your price range will reject your house in favor of other, larger homes at the same price. At the same time, the people who should be looking at your house will not see it because it is priced over their heads! Overpricing usually increases the time on the market, and that adds to the carrying costs. Ultimately, many overpriced properties sell below market value.


To help avoid selling your home below market value, The following items are covered...

  • Should you select an agent based on price?

  • We’ve invested a lot of money in our home... what’s the difference between the cost and selling price?

  • What really is market value?

  • How do we set the asking price?

  • Why couldn’t we just try it for a while at that price?

  • ... plus many more insider secrets!

  • Once you learn these secrets, you’ll know how to sell your house for the best price. Not only that, you’ll know how to avoid paying too much for any house you buy for the rest of your life! Just ask me.



    Deadly Mistake No. 2 - Failing to “Show Case” the home


    Buyers look for homes, not houses, and they buy the home in which they would like to live. Owners who fail to make necessary repairs, and who don’t spruce up the house inside and out, touch up the paint and landscaping, and keep their home clean and neat chase buyers away as rapidly as a REALTOR® can bring them.


    If you were selling a car, you would wash it, or maybe even detail it to get the highest price. Houses are no different.



    Deadly Mistake No. 3 - Using the “Hard Sell” during showings


    Buying a house is an emotional decision. People like to “try on” a house and see if it is comfortable for them. It’s difficult for them to do that if you follow them around pointing out every improvement you’ve made. It may even have the opposite effect you want, by making them feel they are intruding on your private space.


    Resist the temptation to talk the entire time a buyer is there... let them discover things on their own. Try a tasteful sign posted on a door or wall to point out some hidden amenity that they might miss.




    Deadly Mistake No. 4 - Mistaking lookers for buyers


    For Sale By Owners always get more activity than houses listed with an agent. No question about it! A REALTOR® will only bring qualified buyers, and these will be fewer than if you open your front door to everyone who walks down the street.


    A qualified buyer is one who is ready, willing, and able to buy your house. We find that most people who go looking at For Sale By Owners are just starting to think about moving. They may be potential buyers, but they’re just 6-9 months away from being ready. They don’t want to bother an agent yet, so they call the “By Owner” ads to get a feel for what’s available.


    Many potential buyers may have to sell their house first, or may need to save some more, or may have credit that needs fixing. When everything is in place, that’s when they go out looking with a REALTOR®.


    An agent will ask a buyer how much he can really spend for a house, how much he has to put down, how good his credit is, how much he can pay each month, how much he will realize (realistically!) when he sells his present home - and many similar questions. But unless you have a REALTOR® who finds out the facts first, you should ask all these questions before the buyer crosses your threshold. Otherwise, you may have a parade of Sunday afternoon shoppers with a dream of owning a home some day.


    Deadly Mistake No. 5 - Not knowing your rights AND obligations


    Real estate law is extensive and complex; the contract of purchase and sale is a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can cause the sale to fall through, or cost you thousands of dollars for repairs, inspections, and remedies for items included or excluded in the offer. You must be certain which repairs and closing costs you are responsible for. You must know whether the property can legally be sold “as is”, and how right-of-ways and local zoning may affect the transaction. If there are defects in your title, or if your property is in conflict with local restrictions, you or your REALTOR® must remedy them, or you might have to pay plenty.


    Deadly Mistake No. 6 - Limiting the marketing and exposure of the property


    The two most obvious marketing tools (open houses and classified ads) are only moderately effective. Surprisingly, fewer than 1% of homes are sold at an open house. Agents use them to attract future prospects, not to sell your house!


    Advertising studies show that less than 3% of people purchased their home because they call on an ad. And if a machine answers, most callers hang up without leaving a message


    The right REALTOR® will employ a broad spectrum of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones he believes will work best for you and your particular property. There are dozens of more effective ways to find buyers than just open houses and advertising.


    By the way, Darrell or a member of People's Choice Realty will be there every time the phone rings. Did you know that most calls come in during the business hours when Sellers are away at work, and many home showings are between 9:00 and 5:00 Monday through Friday?


    Deadly Mistake No. 7 - Limited Accessibility


    Studies show that the homes that are shown the most are the ones for which REALTOR®'s have keys or lockboxes. REALTOR®'s take the path of least resistance just like everyone else. When faced with the choice of making several calls to set up an appointment and trying to make arrangements to have the house opened up for viewings or simply calling to inform the owner of the showing and going directly to the home and showing it, they will often opt for the latter.


    Also, it’s easier for a REALTOR® to persuade a buyer to look at something he may otherwise not agree to see if the REALTOR® and buyer can just pop over and get inside and not spend more than a few minutes doing so. Many homes are sold to buyers who wouldn’t have looked unless they were persuaded to in just such a fashion.


    Remember, the more times your home is shown, the greater the chance it will sell.


    Deadly Mistake No. 8 - Believing that a government assessment or bank mortgage appraisal is the market value of your house


    An appraisal is an opinion of value for a certain purpose. If the lender wants to lend you the money, he is motivated to have the appraisal come in high. The appraiser may ignore foreclosure or distress sales in order to justify the higher value. But a real buyer in the real world will not ignore these properties. These homes are the competition you try to sell.


    I can’t tell you how many ridiculous bank mortgage appraisals I’ve seen. Because many buyers are only making 5 or 10% down payments, appraisals are much more critical as to the value because the banks want to avoid the potential of foreclosures. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the value you were told even 6 months ago when you re-financed is what a real buyer will pay today. Ask your REALTOR® for ALL the sales in your area, and then decide.


    Deadly Mistake No. 9 - Choosing the wrong REALTOR®, or choosing him/her for the wrong reasons


    It’s likely that you don’t interview people very often. And yet in order to find the REALTOR® who is right for you, you may interview a couple. The quality of your home selling experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the person best qualified.


    It’s interesting that in the real estate business, someone with many successfully closed transactions usually costs the same as someone who is inexperienced. Bringing that experience to bear on your transaction could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and with the minimum amount of hassle.


    The world is populated with REALTOR®s who are wrong for you. For example, the part-timer who sells an occasional house because he or she is trying out the business. Or perhaps your cousin George, who recently became a REALTOR® and really needs your business.


    The sale of your home could well be the most important financial transaction you have ever been involved with. The person you select can make it a satisfying and profitable activity, or a terrible experience. It’s your home and your money. The choice of your REALTOR® is up to you. Make the selection carefully.