Buying a home is in all likelihood the most expensive and complex purchase you’re ever likely to make in your life. But selling a home, while having the potential to generate significant revenues, is equal in challenges and complexity. If handling the sale of your home on your own without professional assistance there is the risk of mistakes being made in the proceedings – errors that could cost you time and money. Here are just a few of the pitfalls to be avoided when selling your home.
Pricing Your Home: Your home is your castle. If you are like most sellers you have established a long and personal relationship with it, a relationship that can color what you think it will sell for. Setting the wrong price for your home, whether asking too much or too little, is probably the single biggest mistake a home seller can make. A working REALTOR® has access to the latest market sales data and will know what comparable homes have successfully sold for in the past. A do it yourself seller is not privy to that same information, making it difficult to set an accurate price.
Fix What You Can: That nick in the bathroom wall, the missing closet door handle in the master bedroom, and the mismatched paint in the kitchen are the tangible evidence that your family has lived in your home. To you they may conjure happy memories. But to a potential buyer they are just damage and can potentially put an otherwise successful sale in jeopardy. The sale will fail or you will lose money if all necessary repairs are not made prior to the home being placed on the market. Do a walk around your home, take notes of blemishes, chips and minor damage and attend to them before ever placing a For Sale sign on the lawn.
Clear All Debris: An otherwise immaculate property will lose points from the buying public if the exterior is a mess. Clean up the yard, especially that portion that faces the road of trash, toys and other clutter. This includes lawn and shrubbery maintenance. A neat and inviting exterior will encourage future buyers to stop by to check out the interior.
Aggressive Negotiating: An aggressive and defensive negotiating stance is about as inviting as a porcupine in a balloon store. When a potential buyer wants to sit at your table and talk about price, keep your ego out of the equation and your head squarely in the game. Far too many transactions have collapsed when price negotiations turned personal. Flaring tempers will not help to bring a sale to a satisfactory conclusion.
Full Disclosure: Failing to reveal some shortcoming of a property to a potential buyer is a dangerous and unethical approach to doing business. Sales professionals must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics in all of their dealings, including with providing full disclosure of any issues, potential or present. Eliminate the risks of hard feelings or even legal action by telling the truth every time, even if that truth has a direct impact on the sale or its price. Head off any troubles well in advance of their arrival.
Fair Representation: If you are marketing your own property ensure that any imagery used is an accurate representation of what the property actually looks like. If you have a photo of a living room with a beige wall, but you’ve actually painted that wall bright red then you are misrepresenting the home. If photographing the ocean view from the deck, ensure the view is as it would appear to the human eye. Photo-shopping trees or telephone wires out of the view is fraudulent and unethical.
The list could go on but you get the idea. The simplest and most stress free way to sell a home is to hire a professional. But if you’ve opted for another route always ensure that every step you take is legal and morally sound to make certain any sale is valid and uncontested.