First published on USNews.com. Don’t get in your own way when you try to sell your home this year.
It’s a new year and it’s time for a fresh start. If you’re planning to sell your home in 2017, here are a few mistakes you should avoid to maximize your results and minimize your headache. Selling a home can be difficult. Side step these common mistakes to increase your chances for a smoother, faster, and more gainful transaction.
Skipping the necessary preparation. Once the decision has been made to sell, it’s understandable that many sellers want to get their homes on the market as quickly as possible. However, taking the time to get your home ready for sale is one of the most important steps in the selling process.
Skipping or skimping on this step is one of the biggest mistakes a home seller can make. You only get one chance to make a first impression and a great first impression can translate to actual dollar value – especially in a competitive market.
Take the time to paint, make repairs, declutter, tidy landscaping and stage the home, if needed. An experienced real estate professional can help you to determine what work needs to be done and how it could affect the value of your home in the local market.
Clean up and declutter. Potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves in your home – too much clutter, personal items or disorder can be distracting and turn buyers off.
Repair and upgrade. Even small cosmetic issues can be a red flag for potential buyers. Chipping paint, water stains, cracks or stained carpets can be signs of neglect or larger problems with the property. Your home should look well cared for and maintained.
Stage. Staging can range from simply refreshing and rearranging current furnishings, to editing and adding accessories, to complete professional staging.
Take great photos. Proper preparation also translates to a well-executed marketing plan. Your home should show at its best in person as well as in the property photos and collateral materials. As more and more buyers are turning to the internet to begin their home search, we rely on excellent photography to make a great first impression. Ditch those iPhone or point-and-shoot images. Professionally shot and staged property photos are an absolutely essential sales tool.
Pricing too high for the market. Pricing is the most important decision, and the one that will have the largest impact on your sales outcome. The biggest mistake sellers make is overpricing their property for the market.
Overpricing typically leads to more days on market, which can negatively affect your final sale price. Whether you’re in a hurry to sell or not, time is a critical factor in selling your home. In general, the longer a property sits on the market, the less urgency buyers will feel, the more leverage they will feel they have and the less likely you will be to attract the attention for multiple offers.
Pricing can be a sensitive topic of discussion, and it’s a good idea to work with an experienced professional who knows the market as well as your specific neighborhood. As a seller, it can be difficult to see your own home with unbiased eyes. Emotional attachments and financial obligations can cause sellers to reach for more value than the market will bear.
Review comparable deals in the area, take a realistic look at your home and discuss the positives and negatives of different pricing strategies with your agent to determine what will work best for you.
Even with thoughtful pricing, it’s still possible to miss the mark. Sellers who are able to keep their emotions and expectations in check will be better able to reassess a situation and find a successful outcome.
Being present for showings and open houses. As much as you may want to be completely hands-on in the sale of your home, it’s almost never a good idea to linger during showings or open houses. When the seller is present, it can create an awkward situation for potential buyers.
Buyers may feel they’re intruding on your home, which can make it even more difficult for them to imagine themselves living there. They may feel rushed or inhibited by the seller’s presence and may not take the extra time they need to go through the home at their own pace. In addition, buyers may not feel comfortable expressing their true feelings about a property which can lead to frustration and inaccurate feedback.
Not working with an experienced professional. Working with an experienced real estate professional can make all the difference in your home selling experience. A good agent can provide you with support, advice and resources to help you avoid many of these common pitfalls.
From preparation and pricing to marketing and showing your property, a good agent can alleviate much of the stress, time and legwork necessary to get your home sold. Real estate transactions can get complicated and once a buyer makes an offer on your home or you enter escrow, a seasoned professional who is skilled in negotiation and familiar with the process can be invaluable.
When you’re interviewing and hiring an agent to sell your home, it’s important to ask questions. Not all agents are created equal, so choosing the best person to represent you is key. Working with an underqualified agent, or even someone who just doesn’t mesh with your personality and goals, can be just as detrimental as going it on your own.
Consider experience, past and current deals, market knowledge and marketing know-how. Equally important is to hire someone you respect, trust and feel you can work well with.
Avoid these common home selling mistakes and set yourself up for a positive and prosperous 2017.