Mistake:  My home is my castle – they will think it’s a castle, too!

Its’ About Dollars and Sense


So you have decided to sell what was the home of your dreams when you purchased it. The feelings about it and your memories now need to be replaced by a businesslike approach to quickly sell it at the best price.

Mistake:  I can sell it myself and make more money

DIY Sale of My Home?

Even if you have been a master at selling for other people do not sell your home DIY.  You will have a fool for a client.  The commission paid a sellers’ agent can be built into your selling price and passed on to the buyer, who is the one writing the check at closing. And you pay nothing unless your home sells. This also applies to using discount realty services or flat rate brokers.  Don’t fall for the “I’ll list your home for free.”   The fees come when it sells.

Full service sellers’ agents will give you a clear-eyed assessment of your property, a market study-backed assessment of the market for you home and its current market value. Based upon this analysis they will be able to advise you whether and what to change in your home to cost-effectively prepare   and stage it for sale.  Valuable market time is wasted when sellers ask well over-market prices and get no offers.


Mistake: Market efforts should focus on the buyers

Sellers’ agents will market your home to buyers and, more importantly, to buyers’ agents. They will promote your property, using a combination of the internet, social media, open houses, direct mail. Advertising and buyer showings. Their work will include staging your home for visual appeal, photographing it for maximum impact in listings, and creating attractive virtual tours on the internet. They will gather accurately the information to be included in your listing.


Mistake: Thinking you will net more if you ask more

Seller’s agents are expert at determining the right asking price for your home. The right price means it’s within a reasonable market range and will result and showings and offers within a reasonable time period. They will understand the price related to its features and condition and with reference to the current sales market in your neighborhood. It is important that your sellers’ agent perform a market study of the correct price for your home. This study, called a CMA, compares like properties recently sold or currently on the market in your neighborhood to yours. 
A sellers ‘agent will advise you and represent you during negotiations. He will manage the process leading to the closing and collect needed documents and information .She will help you accurately and thoroughly complete legal disclosures regarding the property. And your agent will review the closing statement with you for accuracy and will attend your closing to make sure your best interests are protected.


Mistake:  Listening more to family and friends than your professional agent

Your Sellers’ Agent: The Key to Selling Success

 All sellers want to quickly sell their home for the best price possible and with no headaches. Yet many times the most important decision   in this process is made relying on the suggestions of friends and family. Your choice of a sellers” agent impacts everything about the sale of your home. And this decision should be made in a businesslike way. This means interviewing more than one successful agent who knows your neighborhood market. Ask them to share a list of their closed listings for the past year, providing type of home, address, length of time on market, listing price, sales price and average List Price to Sales Price Ratio. Ask for references. And view current listing marketing materials, online listings and virtual tours. The quality of these marketing tools, including quality of sales copy and visuals are your very first chance to attract buyers.  Also ask:

Why are you, your team and your brokerage different and better than others for selling this home in this neighborhood in the current real estate market?

What is your marketing strategy for selling my home?

How will you perform market research to arrive at my home’s market value?

What are three things that could keep me from getting a top price for this home?

What is the correct pricing strategy for my home in view of its market value and the current market?


Mistake: I’m typical of the market – they think as I do

What You Think vs. What The Market Thinks 

Sellers have a tendency to think more of their home than what is suggested by market study. Unfortunately some sellers’ agents use this to their advantage to win the listing by agreeing to initially list your home at a price that is too high for the current market. Later this is discovered and the selling price is reduced but the wasted time and lost opportunities for sale cannot be recovered. 
Listing your home at a correct price is good for you. It will attract immediate buyer interest and may lead to multiple competing offers. Accurate pricing will lead to a faster sale. And it will help ensure that you get the best price in the current market. Your sellers’ agent has a stake in this because she is paid only when your home is sold. And he wants the best price too because the size of his commission is tied to the size of your selling price.
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Mistake: I won’t remodel – buyers prefer to make their own choices

Remodeling: Cost vs Benefit

Should you remodel that outdated bathroom? Or sell your home with older appliances “as is”? Sellers fail to treat this as a business decision by comparing the cost to the impact on the sales price and presentation of your home to potential buyers. This is where a sellers’ agent who knows your neighborhood market is valuable. Your sellers’ agent can help you decide whether to sell your home “As Is” or after some cost-effective upgrades, such as painting or new flooring or carpeting.
Her market study of your sale price with and without this remodeling will help you make a financial and not emotional decision about your favorite color of walls or that dining room light fixture you bought while on your anniversary honeymoon.


Mistake: Buyers can envision my home as their home

First Impressions Matter Always

You live in the space you will be presenting to strangers who you want to entice to buy. It is hard to see your home through their eyes. And first impressions can be everything in real estate. Clean, uncluttered, and depersonalized is best in preparing to show your home. The photos of your bowling team and the statute of your spouse made in college have to be stored away for now. When in doubt, less is more in presentation. So too, when it comes to showing an empty home. Your sellers’ agent can identify professionals who can stage your vacant home. In the same way, damaged or nonfunctional fixtures or cracked windows, for example, give a bad impression so make sure everything is in good repair.

Mistake: Who wouldn’t love my pets?

What About Fifi and Fido?

When it is time to invite strangers in to see your home, consider your pets. If possible, take them with you when you step out for a showing or open house. Otherwise establish a place where they can be, whether it is a designated room with the door closed, the back yard or a neighbors’ home. Prepare your home for presentation by eliminating pet smells, having stains removed, vacuuming before a showing and storing pet supplies and the litter box out of the way


Mistake: Listing in April is the best time

When Should I list? Marketing Timing.

If you have the opportunity to plan for when you list your home, it is wise to ask your sellers’ agent when is the best time of year to list. You can expect a real estate agent to say anytime is a good time, but when your market study is prepared, ask that it show month to month statistics for home sales in your neighborhood for the past two years. At any rate, this information should be taken into account in marketing and pricing.


Mistake:  Open houses are a waste of time

Welcome Buyers! Showings and Open Houses

 It is never easy to balance living in your home with keeping it presentable and accommodating showing requests. Especially since your selling agent will recommend you not be present when there is a showing. Discuss what you need in blackout days or times and advance notice needs with your agent so you can be welcoming to someone who might become your buyer while you live in the house you sell.   Take your agent’s advice about open houses. In some markets, buyer’s prefer going to an open house before requesting a showing.


Mistake:   Too proud to respond to an offer

Negotiating to Yes

 Your selling agent is experienced in representing sellers during negotiations. And she knows that she is there to represent YOU. Trust your decision to hire your agent and listen to him. Take a deep breath when an offer is presented and try to keep your emotions out of this process. Discuss the offer with your agent and know that you should always respond to anoffer, even if your positions are far apart.    Discuss with your agent what is non-negotiable versus what is negotiable for a price. Do not fight over minor items, but keep in mind the big picture of getting your home sold promptly


Mistake: They won’t notice if I paint over the water damage

The Truth Always

The saying, “The Buyer Beware” does not apply to the sale of your home. This is because you are legally required to make certain disclosures in listing and selling your home, which you should discuss with your agent. And anything that could become an issue to a buyer will undoubtedly be discovered in a home inspection prior to closing. Discuss all you know in this regard with your agent at the time you list your property so that there are no unpleasant surprises or deal breakers later. No home is perfect. Any impediments can be addressed in the presentation or pricing of your home. If something is a concern, for example, you can give a credit to the buyer to fix the problem or if it makes financial sense, fix it now so you can get a higher price later.


Mistake:  Not understanding tax implications

Taxes Anyone?

 There are always possible tax implications to the sale of a home. It is wise to discuss the sale of your home with your tax advisor prior to listing so that you can know if there are things you need to do, and can do, to minimize or avoid taxation on your sale proceeds.  Learn about the various city, county and state taxes when the real estate changes hands.


Mistake: Putting the home on the market before you are ready

How Long Can it Take to Sell My Home?

When selling we hope that the process goes smoothly, but also as quick as possible. What does that actually mean? An informed seller can find out from her seller’ broker or his mortgage broker about the process leading to the close on the sale and the typical length of time it takes. This is important to negotiation of the purchase agreement and your management of when you move. The steps in the process are designed with you in mind, so that you are protected and informed along the way.

Mistake: Not studying the numbers

The Bottom Line

Prior to listing, speak with your agent about a seller’s net sheet so you have an estimate of what your proceeds will be after all the fees, taxes and potential selling costs are taking into account. The final closing statement can vary slightly from these estimates. Review your closing statement estimate with your attorney beforehand so there are no surprises on the day of closing and you have funds available and in the proper format for Closing.


Mistake: No Plan B

Have a Backup Plan on Housing

When you negotiate the sale of your home, one item that may be negotiated is the date of possession. Buyers may want to delay closing until they can move, or will close on the sale of their existing home. Or because a closing is imminent, they may want to take possession as soon as possible. Your flexibility, to the extent possible, on this item can carry the day on closing your sale. This means having a plan for whether you need to move sooner or later, depending on negotiations.

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