Top Ten Mistakes When Selling Your Home

As a Dos Vientos & Newbury ParkRealtor and representing home sellers throughout Southern California since 1997, my experience has taught me that there are several common selling mistakes that can critically reduce value of your home. 


1. The Price is Too High:
The price is the most important factor in getting your home sold.  Overpricing does more to discourage buyers than any other single factor.   When you overprice, you help your competition sell their home.  Keep in mind that market value is determined by what a motivated and qualified buyer is willing to pay for your home, not what you feel it should be worth. Carefully looking at comparable closed sales is very important.  Overpricing your home and bringing the price down in small amounts over time is a poor strategy.  This leads to long days on the market, and costs you, the seller, money in the long run.  Today’s buyers are very well informed and will quickly pass over an overpriced home. Your home will quickly get labeled by other agents as “Overpriced”.  Make sure you get your pricing advice from a professional agent who knows the market.
 
 
2. Deferred Maintenance:
A home that is in poor condition with deferred maintenance does not excite buyers. Buyers look at these homes as a work in project and money pit.  Buyers are frightened by the unknown costs associated with repairing or restoring the home and will greatly discount their offering price to cover these unknowns.  Still, others buyers will be too frightened and pass on the home all together.  Buyers who aren’t swayed by taking on the repairs, will use the repair items identified by their home inspector to renegotiate and reduce the originally agreed upon sale price.  Having your home in good repair and great showing condition will significantly improve your chances for a sale at top dollar value.  Select an agent who has experience with construction repairs and get advice on what to repairs or improvements will generate the best return for your dollar.
 

3. Poor Curb Appeal:
Many buyers will judge a home by how it appears or how it is groomed on the outside.  They will often drive by it before making an appointment to come see it.  If your home has an attractive drive-by appeal, it will gain more attention and certainly more showings. Doing the little things such as fertilizing to green up the lawn, manicuring bushes and trees, and planting seasonal color will help make a huge difference in your home's curb appeal.
 

4. Dark Homes Don’t Sell: 
Buyers like light and bright homes.  Dark carpets, paint, and curtains are often buyer turn-offs.  They can make a home seem dark and dingy.  Buyers want to live in homes that make them feel uplifted and cheerful.  Go through your home and remove clutter, repaint with lighter brighter colors. Open up or remove dark draperies and blinds, make sure the sun shines in.  During showings make sure all interior light are turned on, even during the day.
 

5. Offensive Odors:
Offensive odors from pets and smoking can be huge turn-offs to many buyers. In most cases, pet owners or smokers can’t tell that their home has an unpleasant order as they are accustomed to it. Buyers can tell as soon as they walk through the front door.  If in doubt ask a non pet owning and non smoking friend to come over to see if they smell anything out of the ordinary.  A clean home always appeals to buyers.  Rid your home of offensive smells by having your home professionally cleaned.  Repaint if necessary.  Replace soiled carpets, furniture, and drapery or have it professionally cleaned.  Make sure bathrooms, tubs, and showers are clean, have clean grout, and fresh caulking.  After cleaning make sure that there is adequate ventilation in the home by opening windows and letting cleaned surfaces dry.
 

6. Trying To Sell It Yourself:
According to a 2012 National Association of Realtors survey typical homes that were sold without agent representation sold for 18% less than typical homes with agent representation.  If you do decide to sell your own home, keep in mind that you will be responsible for setting the right price, developing, implementing, and paying for your marketing plan, screening everyone that sees the house, financially qualifying buyers, and being available during the day for showings. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the negotiation process, inspection process, State of California required disclosures, and feel comfortable completing a legal sale contract.  If there is ever a good reason to have a veteran agent working for you, it's during the sales contract negotiation of your home sale. A good negotiator will protect your interests and could mean thousands of dollars to you.
 
 
7. Preventing Buyers From Accessing Your Home:
Buyers do not work around your ideal schedule. If a buyer asks to see your home and it’s a reasonable time of day, be flexible and permit the showing of your home. Even if the buyer's agent doesn't give you much notice.  Many times a last minute home will get added on to a buyers showing schedule or a buyer will spot a sign and ask about a particular home that is not on the list. I’ve had clients who were prepared to make an offer on one property, but by chance view, and then purchase another home that was initially outside their criteria.  It’s a good idea to always keep your home tidy and clean during the sales process allowing you to have a little extra showing flexibility.
 
8. Being Present During Showings: 
When your home is being shown, take yourself, your family, and pets go for a drive or a walk.  Let the buyers and their agent have the freedom they need. An agent can always do their best job of showing your home when you are not underfoot. Buyers are more at ease and much more likely to spend time looking at your home's features and benefits.
 

9.Becoming Emotionally Involved:
Selling a home can be very tough emotionally, especially if you have lived in the home for a long time.  It’s your castle and it can very difficult to make distinctions between emotions and business during the selling process.  Unfortunately for sellers, buyers view their home selection with a totally different mindset.  They look for house that is cheerful and fulfills their needs at the best price.  Select an agent that has the personal time to spend with you addressing all of your concerns, letting yourself feel more calm and relaxed.  Try to remain cool and reserved relying on your agent advocate throughout the sales process.
 
 
10. Acting Slow With Offers: 
When you receive an offer on your home, act quickly and decisively. Acting quickly while the excitement and interest level are at a high point can be very important. Typically, a buyer's motivation level decreases with time, if a Buyer senses that it’s being strung along they will often drop your property in fear of missing out on their second choice.  Don’t be surprised about receiving an offer when your home first hits the market.  Often times there are serious buyers who have already shopped the market and are ready to buy as soon as they see the right home.  When your home represents the right fit for a buyer, they will act quickly and decisively with their offer.  Don’t discount an early offer by thinking that it’s came too quickly or that it’s too near full price.  In a good market, an accurately priced home will sell quickly near or at list price.  Acting in a timely manner is essential.



 
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