Here are 10 of the most serious mistakes sellers make when selling their homes.

  1. Listing price too high. Every seller wants to realize as much money as possible from the sale, but a listing priced too high often eventually sells for less than market value.  (See below for more information about Pricing Strategy)  
  2. Choosing the wrong agent, or choosing an Agent for the wrong reasons. Never select an agent simply because he or she suggested the highest listing price. Instead choose an experienced and trained agent with a solid marketing plan to sell your home. It doesn't cost any more to have a highly trained and experienced agent, but it could cost you thousands not to have a well-trained professional. That experience and training could mean a higher price for you at the negotiating table, selling your home in less time, and with a minimum amount of fuss.
  3. Failing to make a good "First Impression". In selling your home as in job interviews, first impressions are everything. If you are serious about selling your home make necessary repairs, and spruce up the house inside and out; keep it clean and neat.
  4. Over improvement. Sellers often spend thousands of dollars doing upgrades to their home prior to selling, thinking that they will recoup the cost, only to find out too late that they made the wrong upgrades. You should be aware that not all upgrades are cost effective. Always talk this over with your agent BEFORE upgrading your home.
  5. Three's a crowd during showings. Avoid having too many people present during showings. The potential buyer will feel like an intruder and will hurry through the house. Buyers want to "try on" a house and see if it is comfortable to them. This is impossible to do if you follow them around pointing out every feature and forcing conversation with them. They want to inspect your home, not pay a social call. The good agent knows the buyer's requirements and let's the buyer discover your home on their own, pointing out features they know are important to them. Many sales are lost by overselling, your home will sell itself if it's what the buyer is looking for.
  6. Failing to effectively market and expose your property. An effective marketing plan exposes your property to the greatest number of buyers. The right agent will employ a wide variety of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones believed to work best for your home.
  7. Not knowing your rights and options. The agreement of purchase and sale you sign is a complex and legally binding contract. If improperly written it can allow the buyer to void the sale, or cost you thousands of dollars unnecessarily. Having an experienced and trained agent who keeps up-to-date on the latest changes and can fully explain the contract is a very important factor in keeping a sale together.
  8. Not considering the first offer more seriously. Most sellers feel that the first offer received will be one of many to come. The tendency to not take it seriously, and to hold out for a higher price, has grieved many home sellers. Most experienced agents often have seen that the first buyer ends up being the best buyer, and too many sellers have had to accept less money than the initial offer later in the selling process. It is an all too common mistake made by sellers. Getting solid advice, understanding your true market value and how the length of time on the market effects final sale price is so important.
  9. Failing to understand true "Market Value". Many sellers think that the mortgage appraisal or the property assessment are market value. This is just not the case. Mortgage appraisals are done for a varity of reasons; assessments are for property tax purposes and often do not reflect true market value. A recent professionally prepared "Competitive Market Analysis" (CMA) backed up with solid market data is the only way to be sure.
  10. Failing to understand Agency and Disclosure. A lot of changes have taken place in real estate in recent years. One of the major changes is how and for whom the agent works. It is important for the seller to understand the change, for example: when selling you should not provide a REALTOR© who is not your agent with any information that you would not provide directly to his or her principal (person who the agent represents).

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