The 10 Most Costly Home Selling Mistakes, And How To Avoid Them
Here are the 10 mistakes you must avoid:
- Not Hiring A Professional To Sell Your HomeTrying to sell your home by yourself is sheer madness. You need the expertise of a professional. The numbers also don't lie about home sellers who try to do it themselves often end up taking longer to sell and sell for far less than homeowners who work with an agent.
- Mis-Pricing Your HomeOver-pricing or under-pricing is a huge money-losing mistake. It's so critical to know your market and get familiar with comps of similar homes currently for sale (and those that have recently sold) to understand exactly what price tag your home needs. Neglecting Necessary Repairs Prior To SaleYou will lose money if you don't take care of repairs before the house goes on the market. It's always going to cost you less out of pocket to fix things ahead of time, rather than have buyers see your house in disrepair. I promise they'll offer less or ask for a credit back for the work that needs to be done before the deal closes.
- Refusing To Remove Your Clutter And Junk Prior To The SaleClutter eats equity and kills deals. One of the least expensive improvements you can make to your home is to declutter and create a sense of spaciousness throughout, from the kitchen countertops to the overstuffed closets to the trophy-lined shelves in the den. It costs you nothing to get rid of all that stuff, and yet it reaps big rewards.
- Selling Your House EmptySelling an empty house makes buyers feel the same way: empty. I'm a firm believer that a home should be dressed or staged. Don't worry, you won't need to go out and buy new furniture and accessories. Chances are, you have plenty to choose from already; in fact, that's usually the problem (see tip four, above). Editing out items and lots of them, may just leave you with the perfect amount of furnishings for a simply staged home (space is your friend, after all). If your furniture is already in another house or taking a cross-country trek, I highly recommend making the small (but mighty) investment in a local stager to give the for-sale home a new look that will charm potential buyers.
- Letting Your Ego Get In The Way When NegotiatingToo many sellers take negotiating personally and lose out on creating a win-win deal. Remember, this is a business transaction and perhaps the biggest one of your life. Take your ego out of the equation and put your head back into it.
- Failing To Complete A Full Set Of Disclosures Prior To ClosingI've watched too many sellers pay big bucks because they didn't reveal it all. Being upfront and forthcoming about any of your home's issues, will save you lots of money and time, especially if the buyers end up uncovering problems themselves. And they will.
- Mis-timing The Sale For Maximum Tax BenefitsEven a sale miss scheduled by one day can cost you tens of thousands in extra taxes. Don't be left a day late and many dollars short. Make sure you talk to your accountant to find out if any long term capital gains tax breaks apply to you, and check your calendar to determine when they come into play.
- Overlooking Junk Fees And Extra Expenses At ClosingHome sellers throw thousands away by not requesting and confirming a list of fees and expenses long before closing day. Make sure you and your real estate agent review estimated closing cost statements long before it's time to hand over the keys. Because the closing table on sale day is way too late to be fixing costly mistakes or asking for discounts and credits.
- Using Lousy Photos This is my pet peeve. I do segments on several TV shows, and I'm always looking for great houses to showcase on-air. I can't tell you how many awesome homes have horrible camera phone photos in their sale listings. Now, more than 90% of all buyers start their home search online, so you'd better make sure you and your agent nail your homes close up! You won't ever get a second chance to make the perfect first impression.
Prepare your home when selling.
It's a challenge to keep your home in tip-top, showing condition at all times. Children, pets, and personal living habits tend to add some clutter. Also, the Realtor's call informing you that he's coming by with a potential buyer often comes as a surprise. Here is a list of last-minute items to attend to between the Realtor's call and his arrival to show your home.
- Box up and remove extra clutter, toys, etc. from the home. Put what you can in storage, and do all you can to make the home, the garage, and the storage areas as open, clean, and clutter free as possible.
- Repair and replace anything that is broken, worn, or unsightly. This includes painting the soffit and fascia, cleaning the porch and entryway, spraying and cleaning windows, etc. Make sure the doorknobs, faucets, and handles all work properly. You may even consider new carpet and interior paint -- as it may be an investment that will bring give you a much greater return in the end.
- Clean and put away dirty dishes.
- Clear tables of newspapers and clutter.
- Send children and pets outdoors to play, or have them visit a neighbor. You should also prepare to step out for a few minutes. It is better if you are not at home while it is being shown.
- Turn off appliances, including the television and radio.
- Day or evening, turn on all the lights. Your home will appear brighter. Shadows will be reduced. During the daytime, open the drapes. At night, turn on the porch light.
- Close the garage door.
- Put away children's toys.
- Open some windows unless there are noise considerations. (Weather permitting).
- Remove any ashtrays and evidence of tobacco.
- Eliminate any bad or stale odors. Use air freshener, especially if you smoke, have pets, or the house has been sealed for some time. Gingerbread cooling in the oven is a great touch! Other good fragrances are cinnamon and spices.
- In Winter, light a fire in the fireplace. In Summer, have the wood stacked neatly beside the fireplace.
- Be sure your plants have been watered and look healthy.
- It is best to leave your home whenever possible. If you can't leave, greet your guests politely and retreat to another room. By staying out of the way, your Realtor can expertly guide prospective buyers, answer their questions, and more effectively sell your home.