Avoid These Seller Mistakes
You want to get the best price for your home, plus sell it in the least amount of time. In a buyers' market such as the one emerging now, homes will take longer to sell. Therefore, it's important that you make the right moves at the very beginning of your homeselling process to remain competitive. Here are some common traps that many homeowners fall into and how to avoid them.
Over-pricing — It's easy to think your home is worth more than the current market
may support, particularly after the long run-up in home prices. Since home prices have cooled in markets around the country, home sellers must be prepared to negotiate on price and terms, and stay flexible to other stipulations benefiting the buyer. Sellers must also keep their emotions in check during the process. After all, your home is special to you and your family, and you're proud of the improvements you've made
over the years. But, how does your home really stand up to the others? And are those improvements important to a potential buyer?
To determine a reasonable listing price, get sales statistics on homes in the neighborhood including listing prices and actual sales prices, how long it took for
the homes to sell, and government valuation comparisons. You'll also want a market appraisal on your property. Visit homes for sale in your area and compare what you
see in terms of sales appeal.
Negligent Housekeeping — Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in the home. Take a good, objective look at the condition of your home. Clean, well-kept homes with an updated appearance always stand out, and a little decorating appeal can go a long way. You don't have to buy new furniture to create charm, but you can put toys and clutter away, freshen up paint and carpet, make the most of window coverings, and add a few key accessories in order to send out welcoming signals.
- Failing to Fix-It — Buyers, unless they are looking for a fixer-upper, would prefer to move into a home that is in perfect or near-perfect condition. If they have to fix the roof, a broken tile floor, the garage door, worn carpet or just about anything, this may give them pause about buying. At the very least, it may lower the value of the home in the prospective buyer's mind.
Not Identifying Exclusions — This can be a cause of contention just at a critical point in the sale. Be sure to specify any special sales considerations or exclusions from the fixtures and furnishings list. Generally, anything permanently fixed to the house is an asset that stays with the home after the sale. So if you intend to take your grandmother's antique chandelier that's hanging in the dining room, clearly specify that the chandelier is not included in the sale price.
- Not Understanding the Agent Agreement — Your sales endeavor will go smoothest when all parties have a clear understanding of what is expected. Understand the types of agency agreements when you sign with a real estate professional or company.
Be sure to check on fees, commission percentages, marketing plans and time frames. Most importantly, get everything in writing.
How Important is a Home Inspection?
For sellers, conducting a home inspection (or pre-inspection) before listing their homes puts the control back into their hands.
When the buyer inspection finds problems, it can impede negotiations and cost the seller more in repairs. By having a pre-inspection, the seller can help eliminate any surprise findings after an offer has been made. The seller can make repairs before placing the home on the market and possibly even increase the value of the home.
A pre-inspection can also serve as a great marketing tool. Sellers are required by law to disclose any known defects in the home. Having a pre-inspection report available for buyers tells them that the seller has nothing to hide. It also gives them a clearer picture of the condition of the home.
If there are major problems found during the pre-inspection, it gives the seller an opportunity to disclose the condition up-front, making it less likely for the buyer to pull out of the deal or try to renegotiate the price.
Knowing the true condition of a home can bring peace of mind to buyers and sellers; and be one less hurdle in the home buying and selling process. Ask your real estate sales professional for a list of certified independent home inspectors in your area.