Of the top mistakes, most are ultimately in the hands of the seller. Working with your real estate agent to minimize the impact of each of these mistakes will make the sale of your home a reality.
Here are the top mistakes real estate agents commonly see made by homeowners looking to sell their house.
1. Overpriced Home
Nothing shocking here. This was far and away the most common mistake sellers make that prevent them from selling their home.
If you overprice your home there is a pretty good chance no one is going to want to buy it. Real estate agents do not set the real estate market. A great real estate agent will suggest a price at which to list your home based on comparable homes that have already sold in the market. Overpricing a home to ‘see if you can get someone to bite’ is not a strategy employed by someone really serious about selling. Overpricing a home will lead to missed opportunities with buyers that are serious about buying in the range at which your home should be listed.
2. Showing Availability – It’s Difficult to Set a Showing
The chances your home will sell when buyers can’t get in to physically inspect the property are minuscule. Sellers need to understand that listing a home for sale is going to lead to some inconveniences in your normal routine. Many serious buyers may want to physically inspect a property during times which may not be convenient for the seller. Knowing this, motivated sellers need to understand that flexibility in when you allow the home to be sold could have a direct impact on the sale of your home.
3. Cluttered Space – Unwilling to Depersonalize or Remove Clutter
Sellers are sometimes unwilling to either make the effort, or unwilling to compromise how they live in their home during the time the home is on the market for showings. Serious sellers realize that by depersonalizing the home and removing unwarranted clutter, it allows potential buyers to more easily visualize their own things in the house.
Many agents will make recommendations about ways to remove clutter or depersonalize your home. Some will even suggest that a professional home stager be brought in to completely maximize the space and create a setting maximizes the buyer’s ability to visualize their own things. The key thing to remember here is these suggestions are not personal and you may have to be a little uncomfortable so that your house puts it’s best foot forward.
4. Unpleasant Odors in the House
“Mr. and Mrs. Seller, your house stinks!”
Most agents aren’t going to be this blunt. But in some cases, they wish they could be. They’ll take a more tactical approach and say something like…..’during the time your house is on the market, it might be a good idea to smoke outside’. But what they know is that nothing will stop a potential buyer in their tracks faster than a strong odor of any sort. In some cases, this could just be the leftover smell from last nights dinner. In more extreme cases, agents tell horror stories of entering homes that have a bad smell of pet urine or smoking.
5. Seller Unwilling to Make Repairs Prior to Listing
No seller wants to spend a few thousand dollars making repairs to a house you are about to sell. Agents understand that. But they also understand that few buyers want to move into a house that needs a bunch of work done immediately upon moving in.
One of your objectives to selling your home is to make it as appealing as possible to as wide of an audience as possible. If the seller is unwilling to make repairs, and a buyer doesn’t want a bunch of work upon moving in, you’ve shrunk the pool of potential buyers for your property.
6. Sellers Unwilling to Negotiate with Buyers
Setting a market price on a home is not an exact science. Many real estate agents will give the seller a range in which they predict the home will sell. As a seller, you should always want the most money the market will bear. That being said, the unwillingness to negotiate with buyers can turn away even the most serious buyers.
Price is not the only condition which is open to negotiation. Buyers and sellers can negotiate on dates, fixtures that might stay with the home, repairs and a host of other sticking points. Sellers that refuse to negotiate and are set on digging in their heels are much less likely to find a willing and able buyer.
Don’t be insulted by low offers. Buyers want to get the home for the best price and on the best terms, they can. Just like a sellers wants to sell for the best price on the best terms. It’s rare that either party walks away from a negotiation with everything they want. Motivated sellers understand this and are willing to negotiate.
7. Bad Photos in the MLS
This one will most likely fall on your real estate agent. But knowing that bad photos in the MLS can be an impediment to the sale of your home, as a seller, it’s imperative that you demand great photography from your agent. The old adage will always hold true: “A picture is worth a thousand words”.
Studies show that greater than 85% of people are going online as a part of their research for buying a home. Most buyers will probably first be introduced to your home online. Poor photos could be cause for them to disregard your home before they ever set foot in it.
The photos used to market your home are generally the first impression any buyer will have of your home. When picking an agent to list your home, ask to see examples of photos from previous listings. Do their photos make you want to take a look at the home?
Never let your home go on the market without photos! If it means waiting a day or two before listing, wait. A large number of potential buyers in your market will be exposed to your home the first day it goes on the market. Having great photos the first day the home hits the market is a must.
8. The Home is Just Plain Messy
You were late for work this morning so you ran out of the house without picking up from last night’s dinner. Not a big deal…..unless you have potential buyers that will be stopping by.
Some people may be able to look past the dishes stacked up in the sink, but enough buyers won’t be able to look past the mess. Remember, buyers want to envision their things in your house. The more obstacles you put in the way, the harder time they have connecting with the home emotionally. Take the time every day to make sure everything is cleaned up and the home is in showing condition.
9. Sellers Who Like to Play Tour Guide During Showings
Almost every real estate agent who participated agreed that sellers should leave the house during showings. Some sellers want to stick around and make sure buyers see all the important features of a home. The problem with that……… as a seller you don’t know what’s important to a buyer.
Sellers that hover around during a showing will make the buyer nervous. They won’t feel comfortable discussing things they like or dislike about the house with their agent. In addition, most buyers like to explore a little bit. Interested buyers tend to do things like open cabinets and check in closets to get a better sense for the entire home. A hovering seller can make this very uncomfortable for some buyers.
10. Picking the Wrong Agent
You decided to list with your aunt or with your friend that just got in the business. You paid no attention to their experience or what they do to market a home. Definitely not the best idea!
Real Estate agents will often suggest interviewing more than one agent. You’ll never know if your aunt is going to do a good job of marketing your home for sale if you have nothing to which to compare her.
Don’t be scared to ask a real estate agent questions about why they are a better choice than anyone else you may be considering. Just like with any profession, there are good real estate agents and there are bad real estate agents.