The 5 Most Costly Seller Mistakes
These are the biggest mistakes sellers often make which cost tens of thousands of dollars in the final sales price.
1. Selecting the Wrong Listing Agent: Not all real estate agents are the best choice when you put your home on the market. The most common ways that agents fail their sellers and cost them thousands of dollars are:
- Poor Quality Photos – Many agents try to save money by not providing their sellers with Professional Photo Shoots, HD Virtual Tours and the maximum number of high quality photos in the MLS listing. Since 89% of home buyers start their search online, if your agent doesn’t make your listing stand out, buyers will skip your listing and buy another home.
- Typos & Bad MLS Listing Remarks – It’s amazing, but even agents who list very nice and expensive homes for sale have typos and spelling errors in the MLS Listing remarks for your house. Some agents also seem to lack the creativity to write compelling MLS Listing Remarks and take the short cut of writing short, non-descriptive MLS Listing Remarks. What kind of impression does this leave with buyers who see your listing online?
- Poor Marketing Skills – Some agents cheat their sellers by doing only the minimum marketing possible. These agents don’t produce high print quality brochures and postcard announcements. Nor, do they take the extra step of sending letters to neighbors who might know people who might want to buy your house.
- Insufficient Market Data – Sellers need to know that their agent will provide them with thorough Market Data & Analysis to help them make informed decisions. Most agents don’t provide a Market Absorption Analysis which is critical in order to maximize the Sales Price and minimize the Days on Market.
- Don’t Provide Critical Seller Net Proceeds Analysis – Many agents are afraid of working with numbers and therefore don’t provide their sellers with a detailed Net Proceeds Analysis that will help them know the true settlement costs and proceeds they will be able to take from the sale.
- Disorganized Agents – A significant part of getting you to the finish line of a successful sale is managing the transaction start to finish from contract to closing. Many agents are not natural project managers with systems, processes, checklists and staff that carefully guide the sale of your home through the process to ensure a smooth experience. As a result, details fall through the cracks and important steps are forgotten until the last minute.
- Technophobes – Many agents in the market are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to using technology that can make your home selling process go smoothly. Hard to believe, but some agents still rely on fax machines! It’s the 21st Century, you should expect your agent to use high quality scans of contract documents. The vast majority of agents are still not using Docusign digital signatures to save you time and effort when it comes to signing and initialing the countless transaction documents. Instead, they waste your time with unnecessary interruptions for time consuming meetings just to get “one last initial.”
- Don’t Use Social Media – Over 60% of Americans are using social media to get the latest updates. In order to provide your property listing with the maximum exposure to potential buyers, your listing agent needs to be using social media to broadcast important information about your property listing. If they aren’t using social media, are you going to find the right buyer and attract the highest offer?
- Don’t Provide the Maximum Internet Exposure – Since 89% of home buyers start their property search on the internet, does your listing agent post your listing on over 400 websites? Do they pay for Premium Listings on Realtor.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com and Yahoo Real Estate so that your property rises to the top and breaks through the chatter to be noticed by buyers?
2. First Impressions Really Do Matter: The average home buyer often visits 20, 30, 40 or even 50+ homes before finding the right home and making an offer. Most of these homes are in poor showing condition and are quickly forgotten as soon as the buyers leave the house and move on to the next property. In order to be sure that your home stands out and attracts the attention of buyers, you need to make sure that it shows like a model home! This is really easy to do, and your agent should guide you through the process. However, it is amazing how many sellers don't take a few extra steps to properly prepare their home to go on the market. It’s a fact that the way you live in your house is not the way you sell your house. So many sellers make the critical mistake of putting a cluttered home on the market, which is an immediate turn off for buyers. In order to sell your home for the highest price in the shortest time, you’ll want to declutter and properly stage your home so that buyers can immediately imagine themselves living in your home and feel compelled to submit the highest priced offer. At Upham Real Estate, we pay for your consultation with a certified home staging professional that can help you optimize the curb appeal and showing condition of your home.
3. Avoiding Necessary Repairs or Maintenance: There are so many homes on the market where the seller has neglected to complete necessary repairs or maintenance before putting their home on the market. The fact is that if you do manage to attract a buyer despite glaring deficiencies, the buyer’s home inspection will reveal these problems and the buyers will make their purchase contingent on you making these repairs prior to settlement anyway. Or, the buyers will ask for ridiculous closing cost credits that will cost you thousands of dollars. The real problem, however, is that these deferred repairs and maintenance tend to scare buyers away before they ever consider making an offer on your home. So many buyers have heard the stories of “money pit” homes and if they notice even the slightest problem that you may have ignored for years, you’ll find them “blowing things out of proportion” costing you thousands of dollars, or causing the buyers to back out of the sale. Do the right thing and ensure that you take care of these issues before putting your home on the market!
4. Ineffective Pricing Strategies – Too many home sellers still believe the myth that they need to “leave some negotiating room” when they price their home. You can’t fool buyers when it comes to the value of your home. The buyers who visit your home will have visited between 20-50+ other homes similar to yours and have viewed hundreds of property listings online. They immediately can get a sense for whether your home is priced correctly, or not. When your home is overpriced, buyers will pass it over for another property where they see a value for the location, size, condition and features. Your home will get the most traffic from buyers in the first two weeks it is on the market and after 30 days on the market buyers will start to wonder what is wrong with your house since it hasn’t already sold. When your home sits on the market and the Days on Market count gets higher, buyers will start to smell blood in the water and if they do submit an offer, it will be a shocking low-ball price. It’s a fact that the longer your home is on the market, the lower the final sales price. You will get the highest price for your home if you price it correctly from the beginning so that when buyers compare it to the other competing listings, your house seems like the best value for their money. Overpricing their home is one of the single biggest mistakes sellers make which costs them tens of thousands of dollars.
5. Making Access for Showings Difficult: This might seem like common sense, but you will sell your home in the shortest time and for the most money if you make it easy for buyers to visit your home. So many sellers say they want to sell their home for the highest price, but then they set up all sorts of roadblocks making it difficult for real estate agents to show their home to potential buyers. If the instructions you provide for agents to show your home are too restrictive, agents will skip showing your house and sell another house to their buyers. Since other properties will sell before your home, your house will sit on the market longer, costing you tens of thousands of dollars in the final sales price.