Wednesday, November 22, 2017 / by Keri McCombs
A friend of mine loves spending time on the lake. Recently, he sold his boat and bought a new one. He is IN LOVE with his new boat. After buying it, this is what he told me: "The best days to own a boat are the day you buy it, and the day you sell it. Otherwise it's more often a hassle more than it is enjoyable.
Some may say that about owning a home, however most of what we identify with when we think about our homes is that it's at the core of who we are. There's the cliche phrase, "Home is where the heart is," and if you really think about it, it's incredibly true. We come to identify with the place where we lay our heads at night, where we grow our families, where we make holiday memories, have arguments, go through trials and tribulations. So it's only natural that as a homeowner, you may not think objectively about your home. After all, it's a piece of who you are.
So if you're considering selling your home, a part of your heart and soul, it can be difficult to think about the process from a objective perspective. That's where the mistakes can happen. When I say mistakes, I mean things that can harm or even prevent your home from selling. Here is a list of the top mistakes to avoid when you're selling your home.
Home Is Priced Too HighBy far, this is the worst mistake a seller can make when selling a home. If the home is priced too high, buyers won't look at it. Even pricing a home a few thousand dollars over market value can deter buyers and keep your home sitting on the market for weeks or months.
Pricing a home is a work of art. Market value is based on a number of factors:
-Comparable homes that have sold that are similar to your home, in the same area or similar areas
-The market demand for a home like yours
-The market activity and how quickly homes are moving
-The condition of your home
Sometimes, an agent may try to "buy" your listing. There is where the agent deliberately overprices your home, hoping you'll be glamorized with a higher listing price, and that you'll decide to list with them. Without avail, the price has to be reduced and the home is often sold for less than what market value is anyway.
The Home Is in Bad ConditionGetting your house ready to list goes beyond making the beds and washing dirty dishes. Although I've been in plenty of homes with toys scattered throughout and dishes piled in the sink and dog hair in the corners of the floor, these are the homes that buyers can't get out of fast enough.
Beyond the cleanliness of the home, sometimes there are updates and quick fixes that are necessary to do. Doing certain repairs and updates prior to listing your home can increase the likelihood of selling. If buyers see deferred maintenance, even something as small as a broken light switch cover, they wonder what else could be wrong with your home. In the end, it can cost you the sale.
Staging your home is just as important as the other two aspects of your home's condition. You want to stage your home so that it's warm and inviting, yet it's neutral enough for buyers to see themselves living in your home. You want to ask your agent what ways you can stage your home that will optimize its attractiveness to buyers.
The thing that makes me cringe most in seeing someone list his or her home is when the agent has used cell phone pictures. Oh my goodness. It makes me so sad for the sellers! Buyers fall in love with your home FIRST from looking at the pictures. You want to present your home so that buyers will want to come see it in person. Cell phone pictures do not do your home justice. Also, some agents may tell you that they have professional photography done, and it is just the agent with their Nikon camera taking the pictures themselves. Unless your agent has a background in professional photography, it's best to ensure a professional photographer is included in your listing.
Home Is Not Marketed Correctly
Pictures are just the start. You want to find out from your agent what their marketing platform is. How will they market your home? Are they marketing on national websites like Zillow, where the majority of buyers are looking anyway? How much money do they spend in marketing each month? How do they respond to buyers who reach out with interest in your home? How do they increase foot traffic? These are all important questions to be asking.
After a buyer enters your home, the marketing continues. You want the buyer to feel warm and welcome and have the freedom to discuss your home without you being present. After all, they don't want to offend you if they say the wrong thing. Also, how your home smells, the lighting, the mood... they all contribute to the marketing.
Seller Hired an Inexperienced or Discount AgentLast but certainly not least, avoid hiring an agent who isn't going to work for you. You can hire a good listing agent or a mediocre agent. They all cost about the same. A good agent will work for you and with you- meaning they walk side by side with you, guiding you through the process, anticipating hiccups that may come along the way, and preparing you for each stage of the process.
One aspect of selling that can blindside sellers is the amount of money they spend in commission. Typically, sellers pay for both agents' commission. Some sellers have the mindset that agents don't deserve the amount of money in a typical commission agreement, so they want to bargain for a lesser commission percentage. If you want an agent to provide you with the best possible experience and work diligently to sell your home, it requires paying full commission. It doesn't mean that agent pockets all of the money, and in many cases, they don't. After all, you want them to be spending a significant amount of money on marketing your home to sell it, right?