Not Cleaning & De-Cluttering: It may seem obvious, but real estate agents everywhere are nodding their heads in agreement as they read this. Inviting potential buyers in to see an unkempt home is like going on a job interview without freshening up after you cleaned your garage. How can the employer notice your fantastic talents and skills if they’re hidden underneath a sloppy exterior? How you show your home tells the buyer what type of care you, the seller, has put into the home?
If you can’t take the time to wipe the grime off the refrigerator doors, tidy up the kids’ rooms, take out the messy diapers, put away the food, and take the dogs out of the house for a while, then you’ll likely find buyers will quickly move on to the next home on their list.
Not Staging Your Home: Most sellers understand that cleaning and de-cluttering the home will add value far out of proportion to the cost. Not all sellers realize, though, that the bar has been raised far beyond this. Staging a home means going the extra step to make buyers feel welcome and that they are touring their own next home. This involves strategically organizing furniture to maximize the sense of space; adding or substituting furniture where necessary; adding appropriate (attractive and non-controversial) artwork; and adding small decorative touches to give that ‘model home’ feel. Staging is also aimed at making your home look great in photos – remember that buyers shop on-line and that attractive photos are critical to get them to visit. If your home is well staged and presented on-line with great photos, buyers will be 75% sold even before they walk in the front door. Proper staging is not for amateurs – you need a qualified professional. Your realtor can recommend a good home stager and, in some cases, will even include the staging cost in the commission.
Lingering During Showings: Yes, we all want to know how the open house or showing went, but hanging around during either of those events is not a good idea. Sellers who tend to linger during showings often make the buyers uncomfortable. Buyers like to have time to explore the home at their own pace and without feeling any pressure. Sometimes buyers want to sit on the porch or out in the backyard as they discuss the home’s possibilities. And if buyers are willing to sit for a bit and talk about the home, that’s a great sign. However, the chances of their doing that with the seller present is unlikely. Many times buyers will say, “Let’s skip the home if the sellers are there.”
If you’re selling your home, do yourself a favor and hit the road. Take a walk or head to the coffee shop. As soon as the showing is over, you can get all the details from your agent. That’s why you’re paying your agent! Let him do his job. Just make sure that your agent has all the home’s selling points and any additional features that make this home standout.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Trap: Some people are convinced that they can do it on their own. Maybe they can sell their own home, but it likely won’t happen without some headaches. Trained specialists are called “experts” for a reason. An expert real estate agent knows the market, has connections, guides you through the process, negotiates on your behalf, and will make the process of selling your home simpler.
One potential land mine that FSBOs face is the flood of people popping in to see their home. It sounds great that there’s so much traffic, but the problem is that many times the people who pop into FSBO properties aren’t actually qualified for a mortgage or may not be serious buyers. Instead they’re just looking and satisfying their curiosity at your expense. Agents know to ask the right questions to make certain the lookers are truly potential home buyers.
But the most important consideration is money: for the above reasons, and others, private sellers get lower prices, on average, than sellers who hire a Realtor — and the difference is usually more than the commission they are ‘saving’. So you get to do all the work and end up putting less money in your pocket.
Not interviewing agents: If you have kids, chances are you interviewed the nanny or babysitter. Take the time to seek out top real estate agents in your area. Setting up interviews with them is equally important. Choosing the wrong agent for the job will be a headache and slow the process down. There must be a connection, an understanding, and good communication between the seller and the agent. There are many things that go on during the sale of a home. Communicating with the agent should be one of the easier tasks.
Pricing a home incorrectly: This could be the worst mistake sellers make. Yet, this is where so much help can be found. Real estate agents see homes every single day. They know the neighbourhoods and the comparables. They are there to help you understand what homes have sold for in the recent past and what they’ll likely sell for during the current market conditions. Get a market evaluation from your agent and understand what is a fair price for your home in today’s market.