Deadly Mistakes Home Sellers Make
Mistake #1. Using a real estate agent instead of a Realtor
When you're looking for help buying
or selling property, it's important to remember that the
terms "real estate agent" and "Realtor"
are not synonymous. Realtors can provide an extra level
of service, and to be a Realtor you must be a member of
the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The equivalent
organization in Canada is the Canadian Real Estate Association
(CREA). Both are non-profit trade organizations that promote
real estate information, education and professional standards.
The National Association of Realtors also has earned a strong
reputation for actively championing private property rights
and working to make home ownership affordable and accessible.
The NAR and CREA members adhere to a strict code of ethics
founded on the principle of providing fair and honest service
to all consumers. Realtor business practices are monitored
at local board levels. Arbitration and disciplinary systems
are in place to address complaints from the public or board
members. This local oversight keeps Realtors directly accountable
to the individual consumers they serve and therefore the
consumer is more likely to find better service and accountability
by using a Realtor.
Mistake #2. Complacent marketing when
selling a home
When selling your home there are no
guarantees that the ultimate buyer of your home will have
simply walked through the front door. In many cases you
may have to bring your home to the buyer. Effective marketing
will help ensure that your property receives maximum exposure
to attract a ready, willing and able buyer in the shortest
period of time. Ask your Realtor to list for you all of
the ways he/she intends to market your home and on what
time-line. Also, be sure to ask about the home being advertised
on the Internet.
Mistake #3. Taking for granted the
"curb appeal" of your home
When you're preparing your house for
sale, remember the importance of first impressions. A buyer's
first impression can make or break whether they even want
to go inside for a look. It is estimated that more than
half of all houses are sold before the buyers even get out
of their cars. With that in mind, be sure to stand outside
of your home and take a realistic "fresh look"
and then ask yourself what can be done to make the "curb
appeal" improve. Also ask your Realtor's opinion as
to how to improve the curb appeal. It could make a huge
difference in your final sales price.
Mistake #4. Forgetting about health
and safety issues
Be upfront and disclose to your Realtor
any problems with the property. The problems are going to
be discovered anyway. A decade ago, health and safety issues
were rarely a part of the typical real estate transaction.
Today, however, it's common for inspections relating to
health, safety, and even environmental concerns to be a
part of most sales contracts. Moreover, in many states,
the seller must disclosure to the buyer any knowledge of
existing property problems. In many cases, these issues
have been or can be factored into the home's listing price.
Mistake #5. Forgetting what you would
want to see if you were the buyer of your home
Remember that although people can be
different in personality, they tend to be the same when
it comes to expectations at someone else's expense. In other
words, a prospective buyer would probably like to see a
perfect home from top to bottom, inside and out, when it
comes to your home. Try to do as many of the following items
as possible to improve the likelihood of your home sale
in an expedient way.
On the Outside:
- Sweep front walkway.
- Remove newspapers, bikes and toys.
- Park extra cars away from the property.
- Trim back the shrubs.
- Apply fresh, clean paint throughout.
- Clean windows and window coverings
- Keep plumbing and all appliances
in working order.
- Maintain all sealant (window, tub,
shower, sink, etc.) in good condition.
- Make sure roof and gutters are clean
and in good condition.
- Mow the lawn frequently and plant
- Keep pet areas clean.
On the Inside:
- The kitchen and bathroom should
- Quick once-over with the vacuum;
carpets should be clean.
- Place fresh flowers in the main
- Put dishes away, unless setting
a formal display for decoration.
- Make all beds and put all clothes
- Open drapes and turn on lights for
a brighter feel.
- Straighten closets.
- Put toys away.
- Turn off television.
- Play soft music on the radio/stereo.
- Keep pets out of the way and pet
areas clean and odor-free.
- Secure jewelry, cash, prescription
medication and other valuables.
- Enhance the spaciousness of each
Mistake #6. Thinking you need
to be in the home to explain things to a prospective buyer
You will be better served if you allow
your Realtor to do their job without you there. Most potential
buyers usually feel more comfortable if they can speak freely
to the real estate professional without the owners being
present. If people unaccompanied by an agent request to
see your property, you should refer them to your real estate
professional for an appointment.
Mistake #7. Not knowing how to price
your home to sell
Perhaps the most challenging aspect
of selling a home is listing it at the correct price. It's
one of several areas where the assistance of a skilled real
estate agent can more than pay for itself. Listing the home
too high can be as bad as too low. If the listing price
is too high, you'll miss out on a percentage of buyers looking
in the price range where your home should be. This is the
flaw in thinking that you'll always have the opportunity
to accept a lower offer. Chances are the offers won't even
come in, because the buyers who would be most interested
in your home have been scared off by the price and aren't
even taking the time to look. By the time the price is corrected,
you've already lost exposure to a large group of potential
buyers. The listing price becomes even trickier to set when
prices are quickly rising or falling. It's critical to be
aware of where and how fast the market is moving - both
when setting the price and when negotiating an offer. Again,
an experienced, well-trained agent is always in touch with
market trends - often even to a greater extent than appraisers,
who typically focus on what a property is worth if sold
as-is, right now.
Mistake #8. Not planning your move
Many sellers simply don't plan their
move early enough and then feel totally overwhelmed at the
time of moving out of the house. If you are able to move
at any time of the year, don't wait until summer, the peak-moving
season. Consider also that the first and last few days of
the month are extra busy. If you plan to sell your house,
get it on the market as soon as possible. Keep a record
of all expenses related to the move, some of which may be
tax deductible. Fill out the Personal Household Inventory
for each room. This is important for establishing the amount
of declared valuation for the shipment and as a permanent
inventory for insurance purposes. List, as nearly as possible,
the year of purchase and original cost of each item. Attach
any invoices or records of purchase to the completed inventory.
Prepare a separate high-value inventory if the shipment
will contain articles of "extraordinary" value.
The following list includes items that might fall into this
- Art Collections
- China Collections
- Computer Equipment
- Oriental Rugs
- Stones Or Gems
- TVs Or Stereos
Also, unless you have been given a
binding moving estimate where a firm cost is established
in advance, the exact cost of a move cannot be determined
until after the shipment has been loaded on the van and
weighed. The weight on which charges are based is calculated
by weighing the van before and after loading. The total
cost of the move will include transportation charges, any
charges for declared valuation, plus charges for any extra
services performed at your request. All of these charges
are based on tariff rate schedules.
Mistake #9. Using a "convenient"
Realtor rather than using an experienced Realtor
When working with a real estate agent,
it's critical that you have full confidence in that agent's
experience and education. A skilled, knowledgeable agent
should be able to explain to you exactly why your home needs
to be priced at a certain level - compared to recent listings
and sales of homes similar to yours. Experienced agents
also know exactly what the current pool of buyers are looking
for in relation to particular styles and price ranges of
properties. A skilled agent can recommend changes that will
enhance the salability of your home, thus increasing the
price - and/or decreasing the length of time before a sale.
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