uppose you want to sell your home. More than that, you want to attract as many serious bids as possible so you can sell your home for the highest possible price. Unfortunately, accomplishing that goal is not as simple as it seems. There’s a good chance other people are trying to sell their homes, which means you have competition for prospective buyers. When the real estate market is sluggish, even the smallest missteps can sabotage your efforts.
If you intend to put your house on the market, take a few minutes to learn from the mistakes made by others. Manage to avoid making them yourself, and you’ll stand a much better chance of selling your home quickly for top dollar.
#1 – Waiting For Housing Prices To Rise
When prices head south, many homeowners postpone selling their properties until the market makes a turnaround. But taking that approach is usually a bad idea. If prices continue to drop, the price at which you could sell your home may erode further, erasing thousands of dollars in value.
Also, a lot of prospective buyers sit on the sidelines when local real estate markets show signs of weakness. They anticipate a further decline in prices and don’t want to pay more than necessary. The lesson? If you wait too long to put your house on the market, you might find there are very few buyers.
#2 – Listing Your House Before Its Time
You wouldn’t sell your car without giving it a quick wash. Likewise, you shouldn’t list your home for sale before it’s presentable. For example, have you been meaning to replace the carpet, or get rid of the dreadful stains on it? Are there small repairs on your home’s exterior that need to be addressed? Is there a heap of junk in the middle of your garage that you’ve been meaning to discard? Take care of these items before placing your property on the market. That way, they won’t dissuade potential buyers from submitting bids.
#3 – Trusting The Wrong Real Estate Agent
A good real agent will work hard to attract bids, negotiate the best price, and provide you with insight into the local market. The problem is, agents vary in terms of experience, market knowledge, motivation, and marketing skills. Hire the right one, and you can be confident that your property is in good hands. Hire the wrong one, and you might watch with growing frustration as your home languishes on the market for months without attracting serious bids.
Before hiring an agent, find out about his or her track record. Has the individual managed to sell a high percentage of homes near their owners’ listing prices? How long did it take to sell the properties? The more due diligence you do on the front-end, the less you’ll need to worry down the road.
#4 – Failing To Learn Whether A Buyer Has Financing
When you list your house for sale and open it to prospective buyers, you’ll find that an alarming percentage of them will lack financing. They might compliment you on your home, express their interest in buying it, and even try to convince you to hold it for them. However, aside from their verbal assurances, many will lack proof that they can actually afford it.
Serious buyers will have secured financing prior to visiting a home they are interested in purchasing. They will either be pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Be aware that these terms mean different things. Being pre-qualified simply means a lender has evaluated a person’s financial situation and noted that he or she is qualified to borrow a certain amount of money. Being pre-approved for a loan means a lender has closely examined a person’s finances and made a conditional commitment to lend a certain amount of money.
The bottom line is that buyers who are pre-approved for a mortgage loan should be given priority over everyone else (unless someone is paying cash, of course).
#5 – Pricing Your Home Too High
It’s tempting to price your home based on what you paid for it or what it was worth at the height of the most recent market boom. But realize that prospective buyers care very little about either detail. Instead, they are motivated to pay as little as possible. Rarely will they pay a premium on a house’s appraised value.
Before deciding on a price at which to list your property, take into account the prices similar homes in your neighborhood are selling for. If yours is priced much higher, you may have a difficult time attracting buyers.
Also, note the homes’ days on market, or DOM. How long have the properties remained for sale? If they have been listed for several months, consider pricing your home a bit lower.
#6 – Making Life Difficult For Real Estate Agents
Few people buy houses without first visiting them. When they visit, they expect to be taken on a short tour. That way, they can glance at the rooms, take stock of the floor layout, and determine whether the property meets their needs.
Real estate agents will want to show your home to potential buyers. That means they need to gain entry to your house. If you don’t provide them with a key – for example, via a lockbox – it will be nearly impossible for them to do their job.
Make life easy for buyers’ agents. Make sure they can get inside your home when the time comes to show your property to interested parties.
Selling your house can be a stressful task. Not only must you attract serious buyers and present your home in the best possible light, but there are countless opportunities to make major blunders. When it’s time to place your property on the market, revisit this article to ensure you avoid the six mistakes we’ve covered above.
About the author:
Lisa Smith’s experience paired with her passion for writing has led her to sharing her knowledge across publications on the web. With a degree in economics and a number of years working at a major Canadian lender under her belt, Lisa know what’s what when it comes to mortgages.