Friday, November 21, 2014

10 Mistakes Home Sellers Make - Part 1

Selling your home - especially if you've never done it before - can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging. Strangers will come into your home and poke around in your closets and cabinets. They will criticize a place that has probably become more than just four walls and a roof to you, and then, to top it all off, they will offer you less money than you think your home is worth. With no experience and a complex, emotional transaction on your hands, it's easy for first-time home sellers to make lots of mistakes, but with a little know-how, many of these pitfalls can be avoided altogether. Read on to find out how you can get the highest possible price for your home within a reasonable time frame - without losing your mind.

Mistake No.1 - Getting Emotionally Involved
Once you decide to sell your home, it can be helpful to start thinking of yourself as a businessperson and a home seller rather than as the home's owner. By looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you'll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property that you've undoubtedly created many memories in.

Also, try to remember how you felt when you were shopping for that home. Most buyers will also be in an emotional state. If you can remember that you are selling not just a piece of property but also an image, a dream and a lifestyle, you'll be more likely to put in the extra effort of staging and perhaps some minor remodeling to get top dollar for your home. These changes in appearance will not only help the sales price, they'll also help you create that emotional distance because the home will look less familiar.

Mistake No.2 - Not Hiring an Agent

Although real estate agents command a hefty commission (usually 5-6% of the sale price of your home), trying to sell your home on your own, especially if you haven't done it before, is probably ill advised. A good agent will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home that will increase your odds of a quick sale. An agent can also help take some of the high emotion out of the process by interacting directly with potential buyers so you don't have to, and eliminating tire kickers who only want to look at your property but have no intention of putting in an offer.

An agent will also have more experience negotiating home sales than you do, potentially helping you get more money than you could on your own. Further, if any problems crop up during the process - and they commonly do - an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly. (Keep reading on this subject in Do You Need A Real Estate Agent? and Finding A Listing Agent.)

Mistake No.3 - Setting an Unrealistic Price
Whether you're working with an agent or going it alone, setting the right asking price is key. Remember the comparable market analysis you did when you bought a home to figure out a fair offering price? Buyers will do this for your home, too, so as a seller you should be one step ahead of the game.

Absent a housing bubble, overpriced homes do not sell. Don't worry too much about setting a price that's on the low side because, in theory, this will generate multiple offers and bid the price up to the home's true market value. In fact, underpricing your home a bit can actually be a strategy to generate extra interest in your listing.

Mistake No.4 - Expecting To Get Your Asking Price
Any smart buyer will negotiate, and if you want to complete the sale, you'll have to play the game. Most people want to list their homes at a price that will attract buyers while still leaving some breathing room for negotiations. This will allow the buyer to feel like he or she is getting a good value and allow you to get the amount of money you need from the sale. Of course, whether you end up with more or less than your asking price will likely depend on whether you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market and on how well you have staged your home.

Mistake No.5 - Skimping on Listing Photos
So many buyers look for homes online these days and so many of those homes have photos that you'll be doing yourself a real disservice if you don't offer photos as well. At the same time, there are so many poor photos of homes for sale that if you do a good job, it will set your listing apart and help generate extra interest. Good photos should be crisp and clear, should taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light available, and should showcase your home's best assets. Consider using a wide-angle lens if possible - this will allow you to give potential buyers a better idea of what entire rooms look like.
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The Foster Beckman Group specializes in helping you sell your home for the best price in the shortest amount of time. When you are ready to list your home, trust a specialist who has helped hundreds of clients through successful home sales; contact Mary Kay Beckman today at 702.686.2695.