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9 Deadly Mistakes Home Sellers Make
- Using a real estate
agent instead of a Realtor.
When you're looking for help buying
or selling property, it's important to remember that the
terms "real estate agent" and "Realtor"
are not synonymous. Realtors can provide an extra level
of service, and to be a Realtor you must be a member of
the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The equivalent
organization in Canada is the Canadian Real Estate Association
(CREA). Both are non-profit trade organizations that promote
real estate information, education and professional standards.
The National Association of Realtors also has earned a strong
reputation for actively championing private property rights
and working to make home ownership affordable and accessible.
The NAR and CREA members adhere to a strict code of ethics
founded on the principle of providing fair and honest service
to all consumers. Realtor business practices are monitored
at local board levels. Arbitration and disciplinary systems
are in place to address complaints from the public or board
members. This local monitoring keeps Realtors directly accountable
to the individual consumers they serve and therefore the
consumer is more likely to find better service and accountability
by using a Realtor
- Complacent marketing
when selling a home.
When selling your home there are no
guarantees that the ultimate buyer of your home will have
simply walked through the front door. In many cases you
may have to bring your home to the buyer. Effective marketing
will help ensure that your property receives maximum exposure
to attract a ready, willing and able buyer in the shortest
period of time. Ask your Realtor to list for you all of
the ways he/she intends to market your home and on what
time-line. Also, be sure to ask about the home being advertised
on the Internet.
- Taking for granted
the "curb appeal" of your home.
When you're preparing your house for
sale, remember the importance of first impressions. A buyer's
first impression can make or break whether they even want
to go inside for a look. It is estimated that more than
half of all houses are sold before the buyers even get out
of their cars. With that in mind, be sure to stand outside
of your home and take a realistic "fresh look"
and then ask yourself what can be done to make the "curb
appeal" improve. Also ask your Realtor's opinion as
to how to improve the curb appeal. It could make a huge
difference in your final sales price
- Forgetting about
health and safety issues.
Be upfront and disclose to your Realtor
any problems with the property. The problems are going to
be discovered anyway. A decade ago, health and safety issues
were rarely a part of the typical real estate transaction.
Today, however, it's common for inspections relating to
health, safety, and even environmental concerns to be a
part of most sales contracts. Moreover, in many states,
the seller must disclose to the buyer any knowledge of existing
property problems. In many cases, these issues have been
or can be factored into the home's listing price.
- Forgetting what
you would want to see if you were the buyer of your home.
Remember that although people can
be different in personality, they tend to be the same when
it comes to expectations at someone else's expense. In other
words, a prospective buyer would probably like to see a
perfect home from top to bottom, inside and out, when it
comes to your home. Try to do as many of the following items
as possible to improve the likelihood of an expedient home
On the outside
- Sweep front walkway.
- Remove newspapers, bikes and toys.
- Park extra cars away from the property.
- Trim back the shrubs.
- Apply fresh, clean paint throughout.
- Clean windows and window coverings
- Keep plumbing and all appliances in
- Maintain all sealant (window, tub,
shower, sink, etc.) in good condition.
- Make sure roof and gutters are clean
and in good condition.
- Mow the lawn frequently and plant
- Keep pet areas clean.
On the inside
- The kitchen and bathroom should shine.
- Quick once-over with the vacuum; carpets
should be clean.
- Place fresh flowers in the main rooms.
- Put dishes away, unless setting a
formal display for decoration.
- Make all beds and put all clothes
- Open drapes and turn on lights for
a brighter feel.
- Straighten closets.
- Put toys away.
- Turn off television.
- Play soft music on the radio/stereo.
- Keep pets out of the way and pet areas
clean and odor-free.
- Secure jewelry, cash, prescription
medication and other valuables.
- Enhance the spaciousness of each room.
- Thinking you need
to be in the home to explain things to a prospective buyer.
You will be better served if you allow
your Realtor to do their job without you there. Most potential
buyers usually feel more comfortable if they can speak freely
to the real estate professional without the owners being
present. If people unaccompanied by an agent request to
see your property, you should refer them to your real estate
professional for an appointment.
- Not knowing how
to price your home to sell
Perhaps the most challenging aspect
of selling a home is listing it at the correct price. It's
one of several areas where the assistance of a skilled real
estate agent can more than pay for itself. Listing the home
too high can be as bad as too low. If the listing price
is too high, you'll miss out on a percentage of buyers looking
in the price range where your home should be. This is the
flaw in thinking that you'll always have the opportunity
to accept a lower offer. Chances are the offers won't even
come in, because the buyers who would be most interested
in your home have been scared off by the price and aren't
even taking the time to look. By the time the price is corrected,
you've already lost exposure to a large group of potential
buyers. The listing price becomes even trickier to set when
prices are quickly rising or falling. It's critical to be
aware of where and how fast the market is moving - both
when setting the price and when negotiating an offer. Again,
an experienced, well-trained agent is always in touch with
market trends - often even to a greater extent than appraisers,
who typically focus on what a property is worth if sold
as-is, right now.
- Not planning your
move earlier enough
Many sellers simply don't plan
their move early enough and then feel totally overwhelmed
at the time of moving out of the house. If you are able
to move at any time of the year, don't wait until summer,
the peak-moving season. Consider also that the first and
last few days of the month are extra busy. If you plan to
sell your house, get it on the market as soon as possible.
Keep a record of all expenses related to the move, some
of which may be tax deductible. Fill out the Personal Household
Inventory for each room. This is important for establishing
the amount of declared valuation for the shipment and as
a permanent inventory for insurance purposes. List, as nearly
as possible, the year of purchase and original cost of each
item. Attach any invoices or records of purchase to the
completed inventory. Prepare a separate high-value inventory
if the shipment will contain articles of "extraordinary"
The following list includes items that might fall into this
- Art Collections
- China Collections
- Computer Equipment
- Oriental Rugs
- Stones Or Gems
- Stereo Equipment
Also, unless you have been given a
binding moving estimate where a firm cost is established
in advance, the exact cost of a move cannot be determined
until after the shipment has been loaded on the van
and weighed. The weight on which charges are based is
calculated by weighing the van before and after loading.
The total cost of the move will include transportation
charges, any charges for declared valuation, plus charges
for any extra services performed at your request. All
of these charges are based on tariff rate schedules.
- Using a "convenient" Realtor
rather than using an experienced Realtor.
When working with a real estate agent, it's critical that
you have full confidence in that agent's experience and
education. A skilled, knowledgeable agent should be able
to explain to you exactly why your home needs to be priced
at a certain level - compared to recent listings and sales
of homes similar to yours. Experienced agents also know
exactly what the current pool of buyers are looking for
in relation to particular styles and price ranges of properties.
A skilled agent can recommend changes that will enhance
the salability of your home, thus increasing the price -
and/or decreasing the length of time before a sale.