Don't Make These 7 Mistakes When Selling Your Home

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Real Estate

 

Dave’s Top 7 Mistakes When Selling A Home.

So, you’re selling your home. And you want to make sure you get the best price possible? I’m going to share the top 7 mistakes homeowners make when selling their home that cause people to lose tens of thousands of dollars... And I’m going to give you solutions to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

Hello, my name is Dave Jackley And I’m your local realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty. I specialize in helping homeowners all northern Pittsburgh suburbs including running through north Allegheny County through McCandless and Wexford and into southern Butler County into Cranberry and Adams Township and vicinity:

  • Sell their home above asking price
  • In less than 30 days So they can move into a new home and enjoy their next chapter of life
  • Without having to worry about a thing

 

 In today’s video, I’m going to talk about the top 7 biggest mistakes that homeowners make when they go to sell their home. Now before I get into the content let share three quick stories: Number 1 was overpriced and un-staged ; Number 2 priced right and staged and Number 3: is what I call a “gem” home. 

In Case 1 I suggested a list price on a home that had some normal wear and tear and updating needed after raising the kids there.  The sellers decided to list at $60,000 over my suggested list price and made no immediate updates.  After one year and only one showing, we cancelled the listing agreement. Another year later the home sold for substantially LESS than my originally suggested list price with a realtor who was a relative and “there to help.”. The result?:  Over $50,000 from the original list price lost PLUS an extra 2 years of carrying costs of taxes, utilities and mortgage payments!

In Example 2, the owners agreed to the right price in a hot market.  They followed all the staging recommendations and were confident enough to take a trip during the first weekend of showings.  That home drew 69 buyers for showings that first weekend and had 10 offers in play by Sunday evening.  It sold for 8% over list in 3 days of showings and thousands of dollars over appraised value.

Finally, in recent example Case 3: the “gem” home.  The owners had carefully invested in tasteful and functional improvements over the years. The home was priced at the top of homes in their range – a place they deserved to be. They presented a nicely staged home that sold in 2 days at 9% over list price. Great things are possible with the right approach.

Look, you would not want to miss out on opportunity to maximize value, would you? I hold the Pricing Strategy Advisor certification AND I do the needed analysis to price it right for the market and THEN I have a process to put your home in the best light, market it well, and negotiate the best return for you.  There are numerous decisions to make during the selling process and I help you evaluate and weigh each one carefully, offering best practices and my recommendation for each one, so YOU can be in control and informed.

With my clients, we develop a working relationship and communicate frequently. I provide a staging consultant--- at my expense--- to help you make decisions on staging and then we help you evaluate what improvements, if any, should be made and how to present your home to the market that will yield the best return.  Then I take the ball with our Listing Concierge service that triggers professional photography, advertising and brochures and a whole sequence of potential buyer communication.

So, let’s look at 7 mistakes homeowners can make when selling their home and some advice on how working with an experienced agent like me can prevent those mistakes from happening to you.

 

  • Don’t Neglect The RIGHT Repairs And Updates

You are unlikely to get all the money that you put into an upgrade back out on top of a recommended list price but there are some key factors in what to do or not do.  I can tell you what a certain improvement brings back as an average percentage. BUT presenting your home is a whole package. For example, does your home have one or more “star” features?  Maybe it’s the kitchen or the yard or the basement you finished. Look---each buyer has a certain amount of time and money resources they can put into their home when they move in and even a deadline in mind when they would have to get something done. When the time, money or deadline lists get too long, they turn on their heels and walk away from your house.  So the balance you are looking for is maximum attractiveness and minimum detractors from move-in ready or projects that would be straight-forward to address.

Safety and security items like furnaces, roofs or even doors and windows always outweigh décor items.  Yet kitchens, bathrooms and living or family rooms are where buyers picture themselves living. So – the right money there can a huge difference in the price you sell at and the elapsed time it takes you to sell.

A subset under repairs are what I call “lurking problems.” If you are suspicious about lurking problems, perhaps you need a pre-inspection to bring them to the surface and to decide what to deal with. If you are suspicious, your buyers will be first be suspicious, then fearful and want to take back $2 for every $1 it might take you to fix something.

You might say “I lived with that issue so they can too”, or you might say, “They’re going to change it any way.”  But these features are all part of the package and the first impressions we will talk more about in a minute. Think about buying a car with a scratch in the paint or lacking the sun roof you always wanted.  You may ask for a big discount or look elsewhere.

By the way, in conjunction with Coldwell Banker Realty, I offer vetted contractors for almost any job through our contractor concierge.  And check this out, through our RealVitalize Program we will front the money for improvements at no interest cost to you and get that money back at closing.

So that is potential mistake 1: Make the right improvements, alleviate suspicious problems, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and get the right help or money if you need it.

 

  • Don’t Minimize Making A Good First Impression

My staging consultant and I will sit down with you and help you make the right decisions about what to fix and how to show it.

Next, the first place 92% of buyers will see your home is on-line through its pictures. This is one place not to skimp or think you can do yourself. I will link you up with and pay for professional photography that makes your rooms pop. We can even a virtual reality model of your home if needed.

A close second to pictures is curb appeal. I have seen buyers look at the outside of a home, form a negative impression, and drive away without entering.  Your home needs to look maintained and well cared for.

While we think of buying a home as a logical decision, it is also quite an emotional and subjective experience.  That is why the presentation of your home in terms of staging, lighting, smells and even music is important. Make sure your place is cleaned up for each showing (look—and I know this is hard with kids and pets and living). So little things make a big difference like: Put the toilet lids down. Remove some of the personal stuff, so your buyers can imagine their furnishings and collectibles in the home. Or, air out the smell of last night’s dinner aroma.

Pricing is also part of the first impression and we will talk about that in a minute.

So avoid Mistake Number 2 by the right staging, pictures, curb appeal, and creating the right emotional experience for buyers.

 

  • Not understanding the Big Financial Picture

Money is a central issue in the sale of a home.  However, you need to look at the big picture of how the home attracts the final best return to you.  There are costs, taxes and fees in selling and buying homes.    Don’t underestimate these costs and incorporate them in your plans.  It is not just about price and commission.  It is about making the best deal with the best buyer in the best terms. Further there is the vetting of your buyer and the negotiation process, which we will talk about in a minute.

We have already talked about deciding about improvements. On the negative side, deferred maintenance items can become a big price adjustment factor during negotiations.  You could be called on to contribute to or pay for that roof or furnace or water heater you never replaced.  

Time and money work together in selling a home. You need to decide whether to buy first or sell first. In a hot market like we have experienced lately, you neeProd to have your home at least under agreement to be able to make a strong offer.  Some people worry about selling first and not having a place to live. This is a real concern but there are ways to minimize that risk or to plan ahead if your situation reaches that state.

Pricing. If you price too high, you lose potential buyers and potentially risk having your house on the market longer, even reaching a “stale” status. Studies have shown that overpriced homes actually end up selling for less than they would have at market price. Price your home right and don’t make showing times difficult so that time goes by and it gets “stale” on the market.  During the first few weeks, people say, “Hey, look at this home just on the market!!”  Starting about weeks 3 through 6, especially in this pandemic market, people approach the home with “I wonder what is wrong with this one why it hasn’t sold yet???”

Working with a Certified Pricing Strategy Advisor, like me, provides assurance of pricing in tune with the most market traffic.  While agent fees can be significant, the right agent orchestrates the whole marketing system to draw in agents with the right buyers (with whom fees are split), to provide the best and widest market exposure, and to guide on the details and strategy of real estate contracts to your best advantage. You will want a knowledgeable professional, like me, who you can trust to provide guidance in strategy, details, and execution.

The other problem that can come up in pricing to high is “chasing the market.” If the market is cooling, you do not want to be in a position of having to make multiple price adjustments.  If you price too low, it is difficult to raise the price without making improvements or some time off the market. 

Finally, you should seriously consider offering a home warranty to your buyer and making sure you are also covered as a seller during the listing period until closing.  Some home warranties may even cover various home inspection findings. A home warranty provides peace of mind to both you and your buyer and minimizes financial risk.

So avoiding Mistake 3 means understanding the big financial picture and that covers everything from pricing strategy, understanding fees, evaluating buyers and negotiating with them, what improvements to make, whether to offer a home warranty and what to do at each step as you move from pre-listing to listing to settlement

 

  • Using Poor Negotiation Tactics

While selling your home is always an emotional experience both in terms of your attachment to the physical home and your experiences while living there, it is also emotional in the deal-making.  But these emotions need to be managed.

For example, “Don’t be insulted by a low ball.”  Price offers on a home and the associated terms asked for are a way of communicating. Your agent can help you formulate questions about the offer and a response.  Buyers are also looking at how you respond as a form of communication. A low ball may be a deal seeker or uninformed or trying to move up.  You can signal you will not deal with that in a number of ways through counter offers or even a simple rejection. Make sure your agent is not the type who shames a buyer making an earnest offer. Instead, work with your agent to understand your buyers making offers and how you might work with them.

When buyers compete for your home, the highest offer is not always the best. Remember your goal is to get to the settlement table with a deal both parties are happy with. Not all offers have the same likelihood of making it through closing and an offer that fails can take you off the market during precious time when buyers could have been looking at your home. A slightly lower offer with more solid financing or higher hand money or a better closing date may be more advantageous to you.  Another thing that weakens an offer one with the contingency to sell or close the sale on their current home. You then need to evaluate the deal your buyer has made to sell their home to see if you and I think their deal will close, so they can proceed with buying your home. Their deal affects your deal.

My negotiation style is key in this process and it should not be as simple as split the difference.  Ask your agent how they intend to negotiate and involve you in the process.

So avoid Mistake 4 by working with an agent like me who uses the negotiation process to bring buyer information to the surface to make the best deal, to actively share that information with you, and to avoid as much of the emotional roller coaster as possible.

 

  • Not Choosing The Right Agent

When choosing an agent, some people choose their neighbor or even avoid choosing their neighbor for privacy.  Or they pick a relative or the first agent they talk to.  You need to ask questions and even interview a couple of agents. How will they help you prep your home?  How will the market your home?  What is their track record? How will they communicate with you?  Will they be handling your case personally or delegating to assistants? While there are lots of agents out there, 10% of them do the bulk of the business.

Should you choose yourself as the agent and become a “for sale by owner?FSBO or [FIZZ-BOW]” as we call them.  About 8% of homes are for sale by owner and half of those are to a known acquaintance or relative. so 1 out of 25 homes navigates the public “for sale by owner” process and there are no real comparative measures on how well they did versus the vast majority of the market.  So, yes, it can be done, but there are pitfalls.  Buyers and sellers without agent representation are unlikely to know the legal requirements and forms.  To begin with, FSBO’s don’t usually have good information or know-how to price their home. Then, they stand alone without an intermediary, if problems and negotiations pop up. They run into obstacles like how to escrow hand money or getting the home onto the Multi-List that drives where everyone looks for homes.  Furthermore, as a FSBO you need to do all the things an agent can do for you and do efficiently: Price your home with justification, Set up showings and open house, stage your own home, negotiate offers and conditions, get high-quality photos of your home, write an accurate and appealing description of your property, Advertise and market your listing and bring all the pieces together to hold a successful closing.

Low or No service agents who offer to get you into Multi-List for minimal commission will likely leave you on your own for many of those elements.  My estimate is that it takes 50 to 200 interactions to sell, negotiate and settle the sale of  a home.  Do you have the time and knowledge to handle that?

When you deal with me, I will offer you a proven marketing, transaction management and communication plan.  It is a process, which brings me to the next mistake.

So avoid Mistake 5 by picking an experience agent like me with a process that provides comprehensive service and who knows the contractual ins and outs.

 

  • Not Staying Engaged With The Process

Even with the emotional ups and downs and work you need to do with the Home Selling process, a Realtor who stays in constant communication with you is essential. You also need to recognize what is happening and what comes next.  Ask questions of your agent. I will work out with you a strategy to deal with offers or lack of offers.  I will help you use Realtor and Buyer comments after showings to your advantage and put them into perspective.  Each showing and offer and expression of potential interest in your property has information and a story with it that could eventually lead you to the right deal.

Remember from the solution to mistake number 4 that I will keep you engaged and guide you on how best to deal with and negotiate inspection findings and appraisals.

So avoid Mistake 6 by working with an agent like me who has a process and communicates frequently. Then, take the responsibility for staying engaged in that process because it will change daily and can move quickly.

  • Underexposing The Home.

The first exposure is the how I will market your home on line, social media, in brochures and mailings.  An initial blast with timely subsequent posts keeps interest high.  Ask me about how I do reverse marketing directly to people searching for a home in your category.

The next exposure is keeping your home “show ready.” Look, I get it. It is difficult to keep or get your home show ready for each showing.  But the effort is worth it. And don’t stay home during showings and risk awkwardness with buyers who might feel more that they are in your home, rather than their future home.

As a result of the effort and interruption required, some sellers want to opt for limited showings because of convenience.  Some sellers shy away from open houses because of worry about traffic through the house but a good agent has plans to manage that and create buzz.

Mistake 7 can be avoided by maximizing market exposure and showing availability and readiness.

So, there you have it: Seven mistakes that I can help you avoid.

One. Don’t neglect the right updates or,

Two, making the right first impressions.

Three, Get straight on the big financial picture and prepare for it.

Four, Teaming with your Realtor, keep a level head during negotiations. 

Five, Choose the right agent with some thought. 

Six, Stay engaged with an agent with a process and,

Seven, make sure your home is openly exposed to the marketplace.

I came into the real estate business to help people like you navigate the best way through the home selling process, to defend my clients’ interests and help them get the most value with the fewest headaches. I will be your advocate, your coach and your Wayfinder to see you through. So, remember, “If you want real estate done exactly, call Dave Jackley.”