1: Pricing Incorrectly
Every seller wants to get as much money as possible when selling a home. A listing priced too high often gets the seller less money. If your home is not priced competitively, people looking in your price range will reject it in favour of other, larger homes for the same price. At the same time, the people who should be looking at your home will not see it because it is overpriced! Overpricing increases time on the market, and adds to the carrying costs. Ultimately, many overpriced properties end up selling below market value.
2: Failing to Showcase The Home
Buyers look for a home in which they would like to live, not a house. Owners who fail to make necessary repairs, such as sprucing up the house, touching up the paint and keeping it clean can chase buyers away.
If you were selling a car, you would wash it, or maybe even detail it to get the highest price. Houses are no different.
3: Using the "Hard Sell" During Showings
Buying a home is an emotional decision. People like to "try on" a house and see if it is comfortable for them. It's difficult for them to do that if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you've made. It may even have the opposite effect you want.
Resist the temptation to talk the entire time a buyer is there, and let them discover things on their own. Try a tasteful sign to point out some hidden amenity that they might miss.
If at all possible, leave your home while it is being shown.
4: Mistaking Lookers for Buyers
For Sale by Owners nearly always get more activity than homes listed with an agent. No question about it, agents will only bring qualified buyers. A qualified buyer is one who is ready, willing and able to buy your home. We find that most people who look at For Sale By Owners are just starting to think about moving. They may be good buyers, but they are six to nine months away from being ready. They don't want to bother an agent yet, so they call the "by Owner" ads to get a feel for what's available. They may have a house to sell first, may need to save some more money, or may have credit that needs fixing. When everything is in place, that's when they start looking with an agent.
An agent will ask buyers how much they can really spend for a home, discuss down payment, evaluate credit, and decide a realistic monthly payment. Also, it's necessary to find out how much will be realized (realistically!) when their present home closes. Numerous other questions will be asked and answered as well.
5: Not Knowing Your Rights & Obligations
Real Estate law is extensive and complex: the contract for sale and purchase is a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can cause the sale to fall through, or cost you thousands for repairs, inspections, and remedies for title defects. You must know whether the property can legally be sold "as is" and how deed restrictions and local zoning will affect the transaction. If there are defects in your title, or if the title or the property is in conflict with local restrictions, you or your Agent must remedy them. Also, the purchase agreement allows the buyer an option to have the home inspected and approve any inspection reports and repairs required. Know your alternatives here.
6: Signing a Listing Contract With No Way Out
Many times an agent will have good intentions about marketing your home, but circumstances can change. Personal situations change, or an agent may even decide to quit the business. In cases where the agent couldn't or wouldn't perform, you should have the right to fire your agent. In some companies the broker will assign your listing to someone else in the office, someone you didn't personally select. Always protect yourself by getting a guarantee of performance, which gives you the right to cancel anytime for any reason.
7: Limiting Marketing & Exposure of Property
The two most obvious marketing tools (open houses and classified ads) are only moderately effective. Surprisingly, less that 1% of homes are sold at an open house. Agents use them to attract future prospects, not sell the house!
Advertising studies show that less than 3% of people purchased their home because they called on an ad. And if a machine answers, most callers just hang up without leaving a message.
The right Agent will employ a broad spectrum of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones he or she believes will work best for you. There are dozens of more effective ways to find buyers that just open houses and advertising. Did you know that most calls come in during business hours when sellers are away at work, and most home showings are between 9:00 and 5:00 Monday through Friday? We market homes 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, and 365 days a year! Ask about our 24-hour a day Marketing System.
8: Believing an Appraisal is the Market Value of Your Home
An appraisal or tax assessment is an opinion of value for a certain purpose. If the lender wants to lend you money, they are motivated to have the appraisal come in high. The appraiser may ignore foreclosure or distress sales in order to justify the high value. But a real buyer in the real world will not ignore these properties. They are your competitors when you try to sell.
I can't tell you how many ridiculous appraisals and tax assessments I've seen. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the value you were told 6 month ago when you re-financed your home is the price a real buyer would pay. Ask your Agent for all the solds and market conditions in your area and then decide. There are lots of opinions, but only one set of facts. Insist on FACTS!
9: Choosing the Wrong Agent
It's very likely that you don't interview people very often, and yet in order to find the right Agent, you may interview several. The quality of your home selling experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the person best qualified.
The sale of your home could well be the most important financial transaction you have ever been involved with. The person you select can make it a satisfying and profitable activity, or a terrible experience. It's your home, and your money. The choice of your agent is up to you. Make the selection carefully.