THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN PREPARING TO LIST YOUR HOME FOR SALE.
GETTING EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED
When you decide to list your home for sale treat it as a business decision and you'll detach yourself from the emotional aspects of selling a property where you may have quite a few fond memories.
NOT HIRING A REALTOR
Although a Realtor may charge a considerable commission, trying to sell your home on your own can be more work and take more time than you think. Find a real estate broker who listens to your needs.
SETTING AN UNREALISTIC PRICE
Setting the right asking price is crucial. Despite the occasional bouts of irrational exuberance in the housing market; overpriced homes do not sell. Don't worry about pricing the home too low. This can be an effective strategy to generate multiple offers on your home.
MAJOR REMODELING BEFORE SELLING
Extensive remodeling projects always cost more than you think they will, and they can take longer than expected. In the time it takes to remodel and then find a Buyer, a Seller may have missed opportunities to buy a better property with better terms. The price of the home you are looking at buying may have went up 10% or more. Combine rising prices and rising borrowing rates with the fact that nearly all remodeling projects return less than their costs and it may have been better for the Seller to only do small necessary repairs to get the home sold now, maybe for a little less money rather than spending more time and money to still get less. If the cost of a project or repair exceeds the incremental value it would gain by doing it then it’s better to just move on. Let the new owners remodel the home to their tastes.
YOU MAY NOT GET YOUR ASKING PRICE
Most people want to list their homes at a price that will attract buyers while still leaving room to negotiate. Whether you end up with more or less than you are asking will depend on whether you're in a Buyer's market or a Seller's market and how well your home stacks up against the competition.
POOR QUALITY OR SCARCE LISTING PHOTOS
Most buyers look for homes online these days. It would be a mistake not to have photos of your home available. There are many homes with poor photos online. Taking some decent photos could set your listing apart. Photos should be bright and clear and should showcase the property's best assets. I use a professional photographer for my listings. Period.
NOT BEING PROPERLY INSURED
With the large number of people who will hopefully be visiting your property, you'll want to make sure you are insured in case someone has an accident on the premises and tries to sue you for damages. Identify any obvious hazards at the property and take steps to mitigate them. For example, a Swimming Pool or an aggressive pet. Consult with your insurance Agent.
TRYING TO HIDE SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS
Any problems with the property now will be a bigger problem later if not addressed. You could lower the asking price to account for the problem but if you don't fix the problem in advance, you may discourage Buyers or push them toward new construction homes. A Home Inspection before listing is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises once you have a mutually accepted offer. Whatever you decide, do not attempt to hide a major issue from a potential buyer. Disclose all defects not readily apparent to a Buyer or face potential legal consequences for misrepresentation.
BEING HOME DURING SHOWINGS
The Seller being home is a frequent complaint from Agents and their Clients. Please try to vacate the home before the Buyer tours the property. If someone wants to view your house, you need to accommodate this person, even if it is inconvenient for you. Caged exotic animals, hunting trophies on the wall and inaccessible areas of the home can also repel Buyers.
NEGOTIATING WITH AN UNQUALIFIED BUYER
It's reasonable to expect a Buyer to include a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender or proof of funds for a Cash purchase when making an offer on your home. A Realtor will ensure that any offer for your home comes from a fully qualified buyer. However, sometimes a Buyer's financing does fall apart in the late stages of a transaction.
Please review my SELLING GUIDE for more information about preparing your home for sale. Also review REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE IN WASHINGTON PAMPHLET which outlines your legal rights when dealing with a Real Estate Brokerage Firm or Realtor.
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"Even if you avoid these mistakes, your house may still sit on the market for longer than you expect, especially in a slowing market. However, recognizing and addressing these pitfalls should get the results you want more quickly."