Five Mistakes in Selling a Home

Putting your home on the market can be a trying time. As a seller, you can make that time less stressful by following the advice of your Realtor. Most homes will sell within a reasonable length of time and for more money if you follow some common sense rules of real estate. Don’t make these mistakes when you put your home on the market:

1. Pricing too high. Your Realtor should provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) of your home prior to listing. This CMA will show you the selling price of comparable homes that have sold recently. Based on those sales, your Realtor should guide you in selecting a price point for your home. Don’t be tempted to price it higher to cover your Realtor fees or because “buyers always offer less than asking price.” Determine a fair price for the home and list it accordingly. When a home is priced right, Realtors know it and will be more willing to show your home to their clients.

2. You re-financed six months ago and the appraisal put an “appraised value” on your home. Now you’ve decided to sell and figure the price of your home should be about that figure from six months ago plus a percentage for appreciation. Don’t be fooled with this scenario. Appraisals for a refinance on your home are a poor indication of its true “market value”. Simply put, “market value” is what a buyer is willing to pay for your home in the current market. It may be more or less than its “appraised value”. Always have your Realtor prepare a CMA on your home prior to listing.

3. Don’t forget to “stage” your home.Staging your home is one of the most important steps you can take in preparing your home to sell. Staging a home for sale is different than how most of us live. It requires minimal furniture and personal items, such as photos, and furniture arranged for flow rather than comfort. However, staging allows the prospective buyer to mentally arrange their own furniture in the home and “attach” emotionally to the home. Your Realtor may be able to assist you in staging your home or professional stagers are available for a fee.

4. Vacate, vacate, vacate. The three most important things to remember when your home is listed. A Realtor’s job is to take their buyers through your home and point out the features of the home and answer any questions. If you’re sitting in front of the TV while the agent is taking the buyers through or, worse yet, following them around pointing out all the details of the home, the buyer is not going to take the time to really “look” at the home. Most buyers want to be able to leisurely walk through a home, noting its feature, asking their Realtor questions, getting to “know” the home without feeling self-conscious about the seller’s presence.

5. Pets. We all love them. But nothing will stop a home from being shown more than a barking dog at the front door. You may know that your pet wouldn’t bite, but the agent and buyer don’t know and will probably leave without seeing the property. When you list your home, make a plan for how to handle your pets. Leaving them in the garage or backyard isn’t the best solution as it will keep the buyer from seeing those areas. When possible, take the pets with you when you vacate. If that’s not possible, make sure that the agent knows about your pets.

Following these guidelines when you place your home on the market will increase the probability of your home selling within a reasonable time and for top dollar.