Costly Home Seller Mistakes to Avoid

    By Chris Handy

    As a Sellers’ Representative, my customers ask me to get the most amount of money for their homes, and usually in the shortest amount of time possible. As we began to recover locally approximately 18 months ago, and the market is stabilizing, a mix of time-tested methods and modern strategies, when put in place, allow me to help them achieve the goals they demand of their trusted professional.

    Pre-listing Home Inspection and Repairs

    As every buyer has a professional home inspector inspect the property prior to closing, and any flaw, from the minor to the major, can hinder not only the sale itself, but the financing and ability of the buyer to get homeowners’ insurance, a prelisting home inspection, especially for homes over 10 years old is a must. Jay Gregg, director of Marketing for Pillar to Post, estimates that, “For every flaw a buyer finds that would cost $1,000, you stand to lose $3,000 – $5,000 off of your asking price.” Why not eliminate any potential reasons for a buyer to back out of the contract or justify a lower offered price by having a home inspection and getting a contractor to make repairs? Disclosures clean as well.

    Plenty of Quality Photos

    According to online marketing and lead capture firm “Point 2”, 10 – 15 quality photos “…is definitely the sweet spot…” for helping sell a home. Our local MLS increased the maximum photos from 12 to 24 in the last 5 years. I generally take 60 – 80 photos and narrow it down to the best 24. The best photos are taken on a sunny day, between 10:00 and 3:00.

    Firms with a Large Internet Presence and Global Exposure

    Buyers typically preview an average of 12 properties and spend 10 – 12 weeks searching for the right home according to “Real Estate Tech Trends”. When interviewed about their methods, 89% said their search involved using the Internet, and quality photos and detailed property information were cited as most helpful. At Bosshardt Realty, we have 3 full-time, amazing IT professionals who help get our marketed properties the most amount of exposure. Professionally, I try to utilize all 750 character spaces allowed by our MLS (up from 500 in the last 5 years) so as to maximize the number of key words that draw our listings to the top of search engines. Finally, Bosshardt is an affiliate of “Leading Real Estate Companies of the World,” providing world-class marketing and resources, producing over $315 billion, representing over 1 million transactions world-wide

    De-Cluttering and Curb Appeal

    From a buyer’s perspective, creating a chain of positive impressions begins from the moment they drive up to a property to the walk-through to the backyard. Spritzing up the property includes landscape maintenance, including pressure washing from curb to the front door, to de-cluttering dressers and countertops, to depersonalizing shelves and walls. The hardest thing I have to tell sellers is to remove their cherished family photos, but I remind them that soon they will be moving. So, why not start the packing now?

    Using a Full-time Agent and Full-service Firm

    “Real Estate Tech Trends” identified that between 75% and 85% of sellers and buyers expected their representatives to respond to their phone and/or email communications. Only a full-time Realtor can be expected to satisfy those expectations, and using a full-service brokerage, with full-time staff, marketing, and IT services can guarantee accurate information in a timely manner. I don’t know how many times I’ve had sellers or buyers hire me because of poor response time from another Realtor at another firm. Time is money, and today’s savvy buyers and sellers understand that an expect it. According to Dave Ramsey, you should only use a Realtor who averages 35 sales or more per year (Chris Handy averages over 45 sales a year.).

    Price Points

    Locally 3 out of 4 sellers overprice their properties, costing them both time and money. Your property is the hottest and most likely to generate the highest offer in the first 3 weeks to buyers who have seen your competition, or who have lost another property to a bidding war, or who fall in love with your home the first time they see it. Everyone wants to get the most money for their properties, but buyers, their representatives, and appraisers have access to current data. Pricing your home according to current, sold data according to Dave T. Garland from “Rainmakers Group” is one of the most important aspects of generating a market-value (or better) offer for your home. The median error for Zillow, for example, has fallen to 6.9% (from 57% in its inception), and “…you can expect that number to shrink as the new data are introduced and their estimation algorithm becomes further refined.”

    The Showing

    Finally, when that call comes to show your home, be prepared, be available, make it easy for the buyer’s representative to show your home, and make him or her EXCITED to do so. Answer the phone. Call back immediately if you miss the call, and greet them with excitement, enthusiasm, and respect. More than likely the agent who’s about to show your home has shown the buyers numerous properties, is tired, overworked, and would love to be rejuvenated by a happy, inviting voice, who welcomes them into the home at even a moment’s notice. Why not invite them over as soon as convenient, open all the blinds, turn on all the lights, and leave some tasty snacks, and drinks, with a kind note, for them when they arrive. Often the human element is left out of sales, but it can be the most important factor; and who could deliver a low-ball offer to someone who just invited them over, welcoming them like a friend or family member!

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