7 Deadly Mistakes Home Sellers Make

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Mistake 1: OVERIMPROVING – Homeowners often make improvements that they feel they’d enjoy in their homes.  But they run the risk that they may not recoup the costs of these improvements when they sell.  Consult a Realtor about any improvement projects you might consider to see if they make sense.  If you’d like to make the change regardless of recovering the costs, go for it!  But if you are hoping it will increase the value, use caution. 

Make sure to tackle structural and safety issues before adding to aesthetics and curb appeal.  These substantive issues will rear their ugly heads during inspections and could cost you the deal. 

Mistake 2: THE FATAL RUSH – First impressions are important in life, but crucial in real estate.  You only get one chance.  To rush putting your home on the market puts this at risk.  Make sure you are “show ready” when your property hits the market.  Use care to remove anything of value that is attached to the house (like a precious chandelier) or properly exclude it from the sale (in both the Listing Agreement and the MLS).  Polish and shine, clean and de-clutter.  It makes a difference in the time on the market as well as the price. And what seller doesn’t want to sell fast and for the highest price?

Mistake 3: PRICING ABOVE THE MARKET – The only thing that truly controls the price of a home is what a buyer is willing to pay.  Factor into this the price that an appraiser will value the home and you have the formula for pricing a home.  The appraiser cares only about comparable homes that sold in the last six months (but prefers the last three months).  Notice what is not a factor: 1) what the Seller spent on improvements, 2) what the Seller needs from the proceeds to buy his/her next home, 3) the current mortgage payoff, or 4) what the Seller thinks the home should be worth.  Buyers and appraiser are comparing your home to other homes for sale and will base their offer on what recently sold that is similar.  If you price your home too high, it is likely that your house will be the worst house in that price range.  Wouldn’t you rather be the best house in the correct price range?

Mistake 4: INFERIOR AGENT -. Stories abound of folks who have had a bad experience with a real estate agent. The best agent is one who is a professional with a proven track record (who returns your calls!). Their references are a good way to ensure that what they tell you is actually true.  Call them!  You want someone attentive to your needs.  Make sure to inquire about their responsiveness. 

Mistake 5: LETTING EMOTION TAKE OVER – A home is a very personal thing.  For Sellers, their home is an extension of themselves – a representation of much that they love and cherish.  They can become very offended if feedback is harsh or insulting.  While it’s hard to take, please use this criticism constructively.  For example, keep hearing about the carpet?  It’s time to change it or offer and incentive.  Look at your home through a buyer’s eyes.  And put your emotions on the shelf.  They will not serve you in a real estate transaction.

Mistake 6: DISHONESTY IS NOT THE BEST POLICY – All home sellers in Pennsylvania must complete a form called Seller’s Property Disclosures. This will be signed by both the Seller and the Buyer.  Fill this out honestly, since covering up problems, or not disclosing them can lead to lawsuits down the road.

Mistake 7: BE PREPARED  – Reviewing your situation is an important step Make sure your mortgage does not have a prepayment penalty. Once your home is on the market, stay abreast of the changing market by reviewing the current inventory as well as what has sold to ensure that your home is priced correctly. Make adjustments early.  Delaying a needed price adjustment can be bad news for your bottom line.  Make sure you have reviewed the financial analysis for the costs for the new home you will be buying compared with the proceeds from the house you are selling.  Your Realtor or mortgage professional can help you with this.

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