With buyer sentiment off the charts and healthy recent jobs and economic news, it's tempting to think that you can now get the best price for your home without a strenuous effort to optimize every aspect of the sale.
While it's true that selling a home is a relatively straightforward endeavor, compared with the dark ages of the last recession, there are still plenty of traps you can fall into that can have a negative impact on what the home ultimately sells for.
Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Over-reliance on generic website prices - We all love to look at estimated prices on the big generic real estate websites and find out what they reckon our home's worth or, let's be honest, our neighbors' homes. Sadly, the pricing on these sites is notoriously inaccurate and can lead to disappointment when your realtor reveals the level of the discrepancy with what homes like yours are currently selling for. Generic sites, by definition, have to rely on historic publicly available information, with zero knowledge of the actual condition of your home and any features/extensions you've added. The inaccuracies can work both ways, therefore, and you might be amazed to learn that your home is actually worth far more than these automated pricing estimators have suggested. There's simply no substitute for the vast knowledge of your realtor, who has a firm day-to-day grasp of current prices. Resist the temptation to put too much store in any price you obtain online.
Unrealistic expectations of your home's value - Some homeowners have an unrealistic perception of their home's actual market value. A similar/identical neighborhood property may be listed at a much higher price than has been suggested for your home, but it's a sad fact of life that many realtors will concentrate on agreeing to any price to acquire the listing and then gradually persuade clients to drop it until it finds its true level. The best agents work on a far more professional level and are completely transparent with clients if they feel that the home is worth less than the client believes to be the case. This advice is based on a lot of experience and intimate awareness of what homes are selling for right now. So what may seem like the wrong realtor, because he/she is challenging your perceived price level, is actually the right one who will get your home sold fastest and for the best return.
Unquestioning hire of someone you know who is a realtor - If you know, or perhaps are related to, a top producing realtor then there's every reason to hire him/her. However, did you know that the average agent in this area sells less than a handful of homes each year. It therefore follows that it's very easy to engage an agent who doesn't even work full time in real estate! It may seem a great idea to work with someone who is familiar, but the harsh reality is that unless that person is a high performer, it's going to hit you in the pocket via compromised sales processes. Ask yourself if it is worth risking ending up with a home that remains unsold through a lack of know-how and/or effort. Always insist on evidence of the agent's recent track record and a clear outline of his/her marketing strategy and established techniques to get your home sold.
Attempting to hide problems with your home - Disclosure requirements are there for the protection of home buyers. They are something we all benefit from and you should never give in to the temptation to hide problems you're aware of with the home that will, most likely, be discovered during the home inspection and may end up in you losing the sale altogether or having to agree to a reduced offer. Honesty isn't the best policy, it's the only one.
Underestimating the importance of home staging - Just because homes are selling fast doesn't mean that you can safely ignore the presentation of your property. Despite low inventory of available homes for sale, buyers still have choices and statistics suggest that only around 10% of home viewers can see beyond the presented condition of the home and envisage their own changes. Proper staging is as important as it’s ever been, in terms of making your home the buyer's first choice and keeping your asking price as robust as possible. Indeed, with the right staging you could be the happy recipient of multiple offers above your asking price - and it surely doesn't get any better than that!
Putting too many limitations on home viewing times - People work to all kinds of schedules, or course, so you need to adopt a very flexible attitude to allowing them to visit your home when it suits them best. Some people’s schedules are so restricted that the viewing shortlist will be strictly limited to those homes they can view at times that fit in with their lifestyle. Remember that highly paid professionals are the most likely people to make the right offer and that they may work some very odd hours. Be accommodating and keep your eye on the prize! Flexibility also shows that you are someone the buyer can do business with.
Expecting the first offer to be bettered - While it's great to get an early offer, some sellers are inclined to think that the next offer will be even better and don't want to commit themselves too early. This is a delicate balancing act, of course, but here's where your professional realtor will be able to guide you as to the quality of any offer and likelihood of it being exceeded. Remember that there's no guarantee of further offers and buyers will soon start looking elsewhere if their offer isn't accepted in a reasonable timeframe.
I hope you find this information helpful. Above all it demonstrates the key importance of partnering with the right realtor. Call us today to discuss how we work closely with our clients to avoid such traps and many other home selling pitfalls.