When you are selling your home, it can be easy to be in a bubble. You have a certain idea of what the market should pay for your home and what may or may not be an issue. You’ve talked with your agent about the comps, determined that the leaky faucet in the master suite isn’t that big of a deal, and had a clear pest inspection. After all, you are king of your castle, right? Your home has everything that a Nevada County buyer could want. However, when buyers and agents are coming through your home, it can be where distorted perception meets reality. They start to point out things you have, up until this point, either ignored or thought would be fine. Here are the top mistakes sellers make and how to avoid them.
1. Overpricing Your Home
If your home is overpriced, two things won’t happen: showings or offers. The price is what sets the tone for showings. It is the nonverbal message that either invites or discourages activity. If it is too high, buyers that can afford it may be interested in something else, and the audience for whom it was intended price-wise are usually shut out. If it is out of people’s budgets, they will be less willing to look at your home. Why suffer the heartache of seeing a home you can’t afford? To avoid frustration over offers much lower than your set price, have an open discussion with your real estate agent to set the right price for your home. Take their advice to heart: your agent is up-to-date on the market and knows how to price the home so it sells.
2. Making Showings Difficult
Restricted showing times, no lockbox, or having to be present for all showings can impact the ability of showing traffic through your home. If there are lots of instructions or restrictions, agents and their buyers will simply move on to those properties with less rules. Who wants to have a print out of things they can and cannot do when viewing your home? Work with your real estate agent to find a way to make showings convenient for both you as the seller as well as potential buyers. Remember, when coming up with the showing instructions, you are trying to let go of the home, not hold on to it for the next few years.
3. Not Countering an Offer
While everyone would love to get the most for their home, a seller also needs to keep a realistic balance. It is too easy to get hung up on the starting number in an offer when the focus should be on what the end result is. The opening offer is simply that –a starting point. It gets a conversation going and results in hopefully a happy medium that is amenable to the buyer and seller. Not countering an offer is like having a one-way conversation. It won’t work. How can you move to sold if you can’t have a dialogue of back and forth? It doesn’t mean that the buyers aren’t serious, they are simply being conservative in their first offer to get a feel for how the negotiation is going to go. It doesn’t mean that is the most they are willing to pay unless the offer was positioned that way. Failure to counter sends a discouraging signal to the buyer that can create an uncomfortable situation, perceived or real. Buyers want to do business with sellers who want to do business with them. You don’t have to give away everything and the kitchen sink to do so, but certainly responding with a number in good faith is a step in the right direction.
4. Property Condition Denial
Would you as a buyer pay top dollar for a home with original systems approaching the end of their life? In today’s real estate climate, buyers, lenders, appraisers and inspectors are more critical than ever. It is not only the buyer, but the lender, appraiser and the buyer’s insurance company that could be making the call on a home’s condition. Before you sell, be realistic about the condition of your home. It will save you and any potential buyers a lot of heartache.
5. Selective Memory
Sellers often fear that if they disclose too much or provide too many details, that it could affect their ability to sell for top dollar. However, failure to disclose could open you up to liability after the sale. That means that you, your agent, and your agent’s company could be sued because you didn’t disclose something about the home. Leaving questions blank, or not being clear on the age of certain things only creates more red flags and concern for a potential buyer. If you answer the questions honestly and fully disclose any known issues or repairs that were made (with receipts to document and provide a history) it will eliminate buyer fear and doubt. Pro-tip: keep receipts for home improvements or fixes in a binder. Write the date at the top of the receipt and include a short write-up about the fix. That way, when it comes time to sell your home, you can provide the binder to any potential buyers and agents.