When you decide to sell your home, many people start the process by interviewing several real estate agents. The most important question is always "what do you think my home is worth?" In your exuberance to get the most money out of your home, you hire the agent that promises you the highest price , even when you know it is unrealistic. You have just fallen for a common real estate practice known as "buying a listing" (more here )
My advice: Check actual comparables and avoid falling into the trap of listing with an agent who promises to sell your home for an unrealistic price.
You will be far better off listing your home for a realistic price than letting it idle on the market as an over-priced property. If you do feel an agent is suggesting an unrealistic price:
Ask to see active and sold comps in your neighborhood that justify the suggested price.
Ask for three recent sold references (sales in the last six months)
Ask the agent to print out his/her sales, active listings, and expired listings. Check if there were massive price cuts or if the home had been on the market for an unusually long period of time.
2. Over pricing or over valuing your home
Many buyers feel that they already know the value of their home. In some cases, this is because a home in the neighborhood sold for "X" last year, or perhaps they feel their home is better and has many more desirable features than the other home that sold recently.
My advice: Get a reality check !
Forget about what your neighbor's home sold for a year ago. Rely on honest comparables combined with current market statistics to set the initial price for your home.
One of the steps to selling is to prepare the home properly for showings. Many sellers believe buyers may be impressed with their kid's trophies, fishing lure collection, or family photos. In reality, the cleaner and less cluttered the home is, the more specious it will appear and the more buyers will be able to visualize themselves in the home.
My advice: Prepare the home for showing !
This is one tip that all the professionals would agree on and I think is an obvious one. Treasures to you may be junk to others, so de-clutter and de-personalize. Just get all that "stuff "out of there! Once the clutter is gone, it is always a good idea to have your home professionally cleaned and have the carpets shampooed. I will be happy to walk the home with you and help you "stage" it for showings. I may also suggest several inexpensive changes you can make to update the home, such as removing dated wall paper, painting kitchen cabinets, or changing wall colors. For additional tips, see my page on home preparation here: 10 selling tips .
4. Making the home difficult to show
You are interested in selling, right? Yet some sellers heavily restrict showing days or times, or they do not check their messages frequently enough to confirm showing appointments.
My advice: Make your home easy to show !
While most buyers tour homes over the weekend, there may be some requests for alternate showing times due to work schedules, etc. Be flexible and accommodating with showing times. Also, agents will typically phone you in advance for showing appointments, so make sure you check your phone messages frequently to avoid "surprise" showings.
5. Being home during showings or giving buyers a "guided tour"
Being home during a buyer showing is generally considered to be a "no-no". To make matters worse, some sellers feel they need to act as a tour guide for the buyers and point out every wonderful feature, upgrade, or repair they have done to the home. Both of these actions should be avoided.
My advice: Step out while the buyers and their agent are in your home !
This is a good time to take the dog for a walk! Buyers really do prefer to view the home alone with their agent and they consider the presence of the sellers to be intimidating and intrusive.
6. Not accepting the first offer
Many sellers are wary of the first offer that comes in, feeling that either the price is too low or that the offer came in too quickly. They often think that better offers are sure to follow. I have seen sellers smugly turn this offer away, only to contact this buyer again weeks later when no new offers have come in.
My advice: Your first offer may very well be the best one !
In many cases your first offer may be from a buyer who has been anxiously looking for a home like yours. It is far better to try to work with the buyer than to assume better offers will follow (a "bird in the hand", so to speak).
7. Being " offended" by an offer
Unfortunately, real estate can be an extremely emotional business. I have had many transactions in which the seller was "offended" by my buyer's offer, even when there were no other offers on the table. In one case, I was told to "not to bother to even send in another offer form this buyer" (absurd!). As it happened, this seller called me a few weeks later to ask, "was our original offer was still good?"
My advice: Do not drive off a potentially solid buyer by letting your emotions get the better of you !
Keep your emotions in check! An offer is an offer -- Treat it as a business transaction, not as some negative reflection of you or your home. Many buyers are simply trying to get a good deal (as you would, if you were buying). Show your sincere appreciation for the offer and your willingness to compromise by responding with a reasonable counter offer. The buyer will respect you for it and chances are they will respond with a much better second offer.
My team will be very happy to assist you with your home sale! We are specialists in Orange County, CA real estate, short sales, bank owned properties, leasing, lease-options, and homes listings. Please call me!