Never, ever do these ten items.
Selling your home seems simple enough, but there are hidden dangers out there. Simple mistakes that could easily cost you a sale. Some are so simple that you’ll want to have a “I could have had a V8” moment. Some are emotional gut checks. And some are just good practices to remember when going through the offer phase of negotiations. Stick with these ten things to not do when selling your home and the process will flow much more smoothly to the final days of closing.
- Stick around for the showings: It makes people uncomfortable. Buyers suddenly clam up if they feel they’re being watched by a stranger. They are less likely to really take time to go through and appreciate all that your house has to offer and they may walk away with unresolved feelings about the home because they didn’t feel they could speak openly with their partner or agent with you around.
- Neglect the yard: First impressions are critical, and a good deal of that revolves around landscaping. Especially during times of drought, it is worth it to make sure those sprinklers are set correctly or to take the extra time to hand water. Buyers do notice if you have the greenest grass on the block. And they like it. Unruly bushes and trees suggest something unfinished or unattended to and makes them wonder about everything else.
- Take offers personally: Many buyers have been told that they can get a good deal on a home and a lowball offer may just be their way of testing the waters. They don’t know you personally. They aren’t trying to insult your property. They may just be trying to seem savvy in what they consider to be strictly a business transaction. Look at things from that perspective.
- Take repair requests personally: See above about the offers. Also consider that some buyers may not have a handy bone in their body, so the thought of “arc fault protectors” may scare them half to death.
- Price yourself out of the market: We know your home is beautiful and you’ve put a lot of money and effort into it. But the truth is that the market is what it is and most of the time there’s nothing you can do about it. If your neighbors sold low because of a divorce or emergency job relocation, you may pay the price for that in your own sale. It’s not that anyone is against you making money, but more that there are some conditions you can’t control. If you’re priced too high, you could miss out on some valuable first days on market when the property is likely to gather the most attention. You may flat out turn off some potential buyers and you may even have your house listed longer as it could stagnate. Really analyze the sales data and trust in the experts. It will pay off in the long run.
- Settle for good enough: Buyers are snatching up properties these days and the homes that are going quickly (often with multiple offers or above list sales prices) are those that have been well maintained and show impeccably. Take the extra time to plug in some air fresheners, to clean the windows, and dust the tops of those cabinets you don’t think anyone really sees most of the time. It’s the little details that can add up to make a big difference. Let your property shine and take the advice of your agents as to how to get your home to that next level of awesome.
- Pack up and move right away: Start making a plan, but unless you have to move, you’re better off waiting until a buyer makes it through the option period – and even the financing period – before getting those boxes out. Unpacking is never fun and neither is carrying the expense of multiple households should anything go wrong on the deal. Consider a leaseback as an option in the contract that could save you a lot of frustration in those final days before closing.
- Conceal facts: State law requires a seller’s disclosure and “forgetting” is not really an admissible excuse in court. Be as honest and forthcoming as possible about property conditions and save yourself a lot of headaches (and liability) down the road. Dig up those old receipts to show where a problem was resolved and keep good maintenance records to help with those memory glitches. If you’d want to know as a buyer, you should probably tell it as a seller.
- Turn down showings: If no one can see your house, no one will buy your house. Having your house listed for sale is a chore, but you have to participate to get your desired result. There are many times when it is really and truly not possible to show your house – family member’s illness, tornado in the living room, out of town company cramming their suitcases in every corner – and we get that, but try to be as accommodating as possible and you’ll likely get an offer as quickly as possible.
- Go it alone: Real estate purchase contracts are legally binding documents full of small caveats and provisions that you may not even consider when thinking of buying a home. Even when buying a new home, it’s completely worth it to use the expertise of a quality Realtor to provide a wealth of information and negotiating skill. From comps to property condition pitfalls to resale considerations and negotiating skills, agents deal with these matters day in and day out. Go with a pro.
image courtesy of yoppy