10. Hiring a broker based on the price they tell you your house is worth.
Choose someone with a proven track record who knows the area well. If you like and trust this agent, chances are others will too. Some agents may quote you a price higher than your home is really worth in order to get the listing. Others may not be that skilled at doing a market analysis. Use your intuition when deciding whom to list with and ask questions about your agent’s past performance.
You should sit down with your agent and analyze comparable “sold” properties to come up with the best price and marketing plan for your home. A new house is like fresh bread just out of the oven —- everyone wants a whiff, so your home will attract the most attention when it’s brand new to the market. Make the most of this opportunity. Sometimes brokers list a property but then “hold off” all showings until a particular date in order to build up excitement. There are lots of ways to create a buzz, so work with your broker on a selling plan.
9. Posting a mediocre MLS listing page
Make sure the photos of your house do it justice. The description should highlight your home’s best points, the narrative should be engaging, and the facts correct. MLS will be almost everyone’s first impression of your home. Buyers may eliminate your home from their broker’s planned tour if it doesn’t show well in photographs.
8. Leaving unfinished projects “en plein air”
Doors should open and shut properly, screens should not be torn, windows should work, broken glass should be replaced and refrigerators should not hum. If buyers can spot problems this obvious, they will start to wonder what else might have been neglected.
7. Forgetting to de-clutter
A lot of people can’t see their own clutter. If you are a collector, academic or librarian, you are especially at-risk! Consider renting a storage locker. Start de-cluttering the moment you begin thinking about selling your home! Treat buyers like honored guests. Turn up the heat in the winter, the a/c in summer, and make sure everything smells fresh and looks clean.
6. Neglecting to stage your home
You can “stage” your home without spending a dime. Furniture placement can create an inviting flow. This can make small spaces larger and awkward sized rooms even out. Turn sofas around to make a narrow room more square, or catty-corner to create intimacy.
While we love animals, you should ask your broker what you may want to do to make others comfortable when pets are part of the household. Ask a non-family member for their opinion about possible “odeurs” and then take their advice. Bad smells are a very big turn-off.
If you are going to do some renovations and don’t plan to sell for a while, then ask a real estate agent for their opinion about trends so that you get the best payoff for your renovations. It’s usually a very good idea to stick with neutrals and light colors.
5. Allowing buyers to walk around in the dark!
Light is extremely important to the majority of buyers. Eliminate drapery that blocks out natural sunlight. Trim ivy or other vegetation if it blocks light. And if your home is naturally dark, spend some time thinking about lighting, both indoors and out. Add lamps and test light bulbs. Make sure that all light sources are working correctly, including under-counter lighting, foyers and basements. Make sure windows are clean and replace glass that is frosty, cracked or damaged.
4. Making it Difficult to Show Your Property
Properties that are easy to show have an advantage. If showing times have to be restricted, this can be stated on the property listing in a field that only agents see. Your agent can set up group showings or additional open houses. Although you may not feel like vacating the premises for all showings, you should. A potential buyer won’t feel like this place could be theirs if you are around. They have to feel comfortable opening cupboards and closet doors, lingering in the kitchen and gazing out the window to see if it all feels right.
3. Trying to Time the Market
Sell when it’s right for you. Your own budget and needs generally outweigh market conditions and interest rates. Most people just aren’t that good at predicting the future, anyway.
2. Failing to put your own financial house in order
Know what you can spend for your next property, and get a pre-approval letter. Then start looking so that you become very familiar with the market in the price range and area you plan to move to. Everyone has eyes bigger than their budget, but human nature is adaptable and most people seem to adjust their expectations as soon as they recognize the reality of their financial limitations.
Know where you will go if you don’t find a place after your own house is under agreement. Often you can negotiate a “use and occupancy” with the incoming buyers, where you pay fair market rent to the folks buying your house. You want the closing to take place as scheduled, because the farther you push the closing date into the future, the more things can go wrong. Buyers also want to lock in mortgage rates and know their own costs, so they may not want to delay the closing either.
1. Trying to sell your property yourself!
Real estate agents offer advice preparing your home for sale, skill in showing the property and, most importantly, expertise negotiating a successful contract. A layer of professionalism between you and the buyer can be critical during the many steps required to complete the sale. Experience, knowledge of local markets and a detailed understanding of the transactional process fosters trust on both sides of the table and helps keep deals together when there are differences. Those are very valuable assets when selling a home, which is why most sales involve broker representation on both sides of the transaction.