It is easy to make mistakes when selling your own home in Utah. Here are the 6 most common mistakes make by inexperienced home sellers.
Costly Mistake #1
Every seller, including yourself, wants to get as much money as possible when selling. But an asking price that is too high can often result in a seller getting less than market value. If your house is not competitively priced to other homes on the market, people looking in your price range will choose larger homes or homes with more desirable amenities over yours.
When this happens, your home ends up staying on the market for a longer period of time giving the perception that it is not salable or that something is wrong with it. This stigma, once established, is hard to fix in the marketplace.
In addition to this challenge, the cost of carrying the overhead on your home while it is on the market can affect your profits.
When pricing your home, consider:
- Your Selling Timeline. The time you have to sell your home effects your choice of the asking price.
- Current Market Value. What your property’s current market value actually is and how it is determined.
- Negotiating Room. The amount of negotiating room to leave in your asking price.
- Your competition. Other homes on the market can be a tipping point when it comes to your home and what it offers.
- Terms Offered. Terms of an offer can play a key role in the price you get for your home.
Costly Mistake #2
Failing to “Showcase” or “Stage” Your Home
Understanding how home-shoppers choose a home is key. It is a combination of logic and emotion. Emotion comes into play when they are driving through neighborhoods and see a home with a “For Sale” sign. In less than 10 seconds they make an assessment on whether they can see themselves living there. Preparing your home for sale is critical.
Thoughts like “I love the flowers” or “Honey, it has a porch!” or “Wow, I love the lawn” all are things that capture home-shoppers attention. This is known as curb appeal. Curb appeal is the first impression that determines if they want to go to the next step, which is seeing inside the house.
Home-Shoppers use a Critical Eye
At the front door and then inside, they will scrutinize everything. Owners who fail to make the necessary repairs, touch up the paint, or clear out the clutter can cause buyers to emotionally check-out, walk away, and never return again.
Prepare the Property for Sale:
Just like selling any big-ticket item, like a car, to get top dollar it needs to be detailed inside and out. The same applies to selling your home. Remember, buyers who look at your property are trying to envision what it would be like to live there. Clutter, collections, an abundance of family photos, dings, disarray, and unrepaired maintenance all distract from buyers feeling “at home” in your property.
Costly Mistake #3
Over-selling During Showings
Since the home buying process is an emotional decision, the buyer needs to feel comfortable when looking through your home to determine if it fits their needs. They will quickly become uncomfortable if you are closely following them around and pointing out every improvement or repair you have ever made. It is nearly impossible to envision living in your home when you are constantly talking.
To avoid over-selling:
- Resist the temptation to talk too much. A kitchen is obviously a kitchen.
- Give them space so that they can get a “feel” for the house to see if this would be the “home” for them.
- Try placing small info cards or signs in certain areas that showcase the special features
- Instead of saying “Look at this, Look at that”, try “Did you happen to notice …”
Costly Mistake #4
Mistaking Lookers for Buyers
Most owners selling without a professional will get more showing activity than properties listed with a Realtor. Experienced and trained agents will pre-screen home-shoppers and only bring buyers that are qualified to purchase your home.
As an “For Sale By Owner”, it is critical to decipher between a home-shopper who is “ready, willing, and able” to purchase and a shopper who is 6 – 9 months, or more, down the road from the actual buying process.
Folks who are six months to a year out don’t want to talk to a Realtor. Instead, they start looking at For Sale By Owner properties to get a “feel” for the market and discover what they can afford. Because they may have condition such as selling their home first, saving up for a down payment, or fixing credit issues, these lookers don’t want to talk to a Realtor.
To avoid unqualified “lookers”, ask the following before scheduling a showing:
- Have you spoken to a bank or a lender yet?
- If so, what is your price range?
- Do you have a home to sell before you can purchase a new one?
- What is your time-line for purchasing and closing?
- Do you have a qualification letter to present if you make an offer?
Costly Mistake #5
Limiting Exposure to Home Buyers
Searching the Internet for home has risen to dominate how home-shoppers look for a home. Listing your property on all the major real estate sites is essential for exposure. Search Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com to see which real estate sites pull up on the first page. Then, get your property listed on each of those sites.
Buyers overwhelmingly state that professional-quality photos are the most important thing they want when searching the Internet for homes. Bad photos will kill interest in your property.
Open Houses are often ineffective if no home-shoppers know about it. Be sure to use direct mail, classified websites, Facebook, and other media to announce when you are holding your home open.
Because so many home-shoppers cruise neighborhoods looking for properties, an attractive For Sale sign with a visible phone number is an essential tool to increase exposure.
Home-shoppers, especially those not using a Realtor, can easily lose track of which homes they have seen and where they were. A high-quality, full-color flyer helps remind them of your property.
93% of all home buyers are represented by a Realtor. Blocking this source of buyers can be devastating to you eventual sales price. Even while you are trying to sell on your own, agree to cooperate with Realtors representing buyers and offer a competitive commission.
Costly Mistake #6
Failing to Provide Easy Access for Showings
Accessibility for showings is a major key to selling quickly and for a high price. First, you must answer your phone or promptly return phone calls. Many home-shoppers won’t call twice and you can easily miss your best buyer.
Next, it is important to accommodate the schedules of home-shoppers. Often, the only time they can see inside a property is in the evening or on the weekend. Some are only in town for a short while and if they can’t see inside at their convenience, they will cross your home off their list.
The more accessible your home is for potential buyers to see inside, the better the odds are of finding a home-shopper willing to pay the price you’re asking for the home. While home-shoppers will use the Internet to search for homes, it is rare they will make an offer and complete the sale if they don’t see inside.