Most Sellers can benefit by avoiding these common selling mistakes when they decide to sell their home.
Selling Mistake # 1
The Wrong Price
Everyone wants to get the most money for their home. However, to get the maximum dollar value for your home, your asking price needs to consider the real estate market your area is experiencing. The best rule of thumb is to list your property slightly below the last comparable sale. Listing your home for more than 1% or 2% above the most recent sale could result in it taking longer to sell. If you have it priced more than 2% over what the market is indicating, Buyers might decide to wait it out, taking their chances that at some point you'll reduce the price or, worse yet, they might decide to buy something that shows better value.
Buyers often search for listings with specific features within their desired price range. If you have set your price too high, Buyers might not even see your listing in their results.
Selling Mistake #2
Confusing bank appraisals for market value
Unfortunately, a re-finance appraisal may indicate a price different than the current market price. Financial institutions request these appraisals to secure financing. Depending on a variety of factors, the resulting value may be high or low. The market value of your home could be much different than this appraisal value. Your best guide is an up-to-date and factually accurate comparative market analysis that weighs current market conditions.
Selling Mistake #3
Failing to "Showcase" your home
Showcasing your home is essential. When you decide to put up the "For Sale" sign, don't forget to make your home it's absolute best. Nothing beats "clean" when you're selling. Make your home as squeaky clean as possible and complete any minor repairs. A poorly kept home in need of repairs can knock thousands off of the selling price plus reduce the number of buyers who might be interested.
Selling Mistake # 4
Taking things personally
Buying a house is an emotional and challenging experience for most Buyers. Allow prospective Buyers privacy when they're viewing your home. It's a good idea to leave while a Realtor® is showing your home so they can speak freely with the Buyers. If you're selling privately, try not to become defensive at questions the Buyer might have and try to give them a bit of space. Always be friendly and hospitable. Don't be upset when your Realtor® gives you feedback. Not every person who looks at your home is going to like your decor or floorplan, so please don't take it personally. However, if the input indicates that prospective Buyers or their Realtors® feel it's too much money for what you're offering, it might be time to revisit your price.
Selling Mistake # 5
Mistaking lookers for buyers
Not everyone who calls because they've seen a "for sale" sign or an ad is genuinely interested in buying a home. Many people start casually looking at homes when they're 6-9 months away from buying. They're more interested in seeing what is out there than in actually making an immediate purchase; they may be in the process of selling their home or still saving up for a down payment. Some may not even be sure if they want to move!
A good Realtor® will vet prospective Buyers to determine if they're ready to buy in the immediate future or if they're out looking to get a feel for the market.
Selling Mistake # 6
Not being familiar with your rights & responsibilities
Sellers must be well-informed of the details of any contract they sign. The Real Estate & Business Brokers Act clearly states that all parties to a real estate transaction MUST receive a "true copy" of any contract they sign. Know what you're responsible for before signing the contract. Is the property being sold "as is"? Are there any local zoning laws that affect your transaction? If you're making certain representations, make sure that they are 100% accurate.
Selling Mistake # 7
Signing a listing without obtaining a service guarantee
Even if you've chosen an excellent Realtor®, sometimes things don't work out as planned. A lot of Realtors® or their Brokerages have service guarantees that allow you to cancel your listing agreement if they don't provide a certain level of service. Some real estate companies will offer to replace your sales rep with another one if necessary. A Seller and their Realtor® usually work as a team; honesty, trust and reliability are critical to the relationship. Just as in many other types of relationships, communication and trust can break down; address issues immediately.
If you realize that you can no longer work together, then as a last option, ask for a release from the listing agreement. The listing agreement is a bona fide contract between you and the Listing Brokerage; they do not have to release you. It's much better to have a clear understanding of the services your Realtor® will be providing you when the listing is signed; this is a good step in preventing misunderstandings down the road.
Selling Mistake # 8
Underestimating your CMA, pictures and features
These are the four marketing tools most Realtors® use: the MLS® listing, a listing on realtor.ca, a sign on the front lawn and an Open House. How well do these tools work? In hot markets where everything sells, the marketing tools a Realtor® uses aren't as crucial as the competency of Realtor® in determining the right list price. If your property is priced too low, even if it sells with multiple offers, you can't be sure that you haven't left money on the table. How much would you have gotten if your asking price was more in-line with the value in your CMA? Ask too much, and you might be watching the seasons roll by without a sold sign.
In today's real estate environment, your local real estate association's MLS® is a marketing essential; it is where local real estate professionals get all of their listing information. Not only is the accuracy of the listing information on your MLS® listing vital, but the pictures and virtual tours attached are just as important.
Once on the local MLS, your listing uploads to CREA's realtor.ca, a public website that compiles MLS information from real estate associations across the Country.
First impressions are important; if you have incorrect information or poor pictures, with the speed of distribution to realtor.ca, you have little time to correct any errors before it's on computer screens coast to coast. We're in the visual age, and the first thing a prospective purchaser is going to do is look at your interior pictures. The best photos will be of high quality and show the best your house has to offer.
Never underestimate the power of the "For Sale" sign on your front lawn; it's an important advertising tool that advertises your home 24/7 to anyone passing by.
Lastly, Open Houses; they can pay dividends if strategically done. A well-priced home new on the market could attract a lot of attention if there's an Open House just a few days into the listing. It allows for many interested parties to view the home within a designated time frame. On the other hand, regardless of the market, Open Houses week after week might have a negative impact.
There's a careful balancing act in marketing these days. One thing is for sure, as a Seller, you need your home to look its best and your listing accurate on realtor.ca along with other online realty sites.
Selling Mistake # 9
Choosing a Realtor® for the wrong reasons
Selling your home shouldn't be taken lightly; it's a huge financial transaction. The selection of your Realtor®, the professional who is going to guide you and represent you in this transaction, is critical.
If you have dealt with a Realtor® in the past and were happy with their services, contact them asap; you've already established and experienced a good working relationship with them. If the person you dealt with before is no longer in the business or you weren't happy with their service, ask your friends and family who they would recommend. Interview a few; ask them questions. Do you feel comfortable with them? Did they appear to be professional, confident and well prepared?
There's nothing wrong with selecting a Realtor® based on their commission rate or the fact they're the nephew of your neighbour; just make sure you feel confident in their abilities to get your home sold!