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The Top 10 Ways Home Sellers Blow a Sale


Even in a true sellers market like the one we have been seeing recently, there are mistakes sellers often make which can destroy their chances of making a successful home sale. The top ten ways home sellers torpedo the sale of their homes are:

  1. Setting too high an asking price. Selling a home can be difficult, and just because you are in a seller's market does not mean you can name your own price. It is important for home sellers to obtain objective pricing criteria. While it is tempting to see just how much you can get for your home, a home that is seriously overpriced is likely to sit on the market for quite awhile. Getting a realistic assessment of the value of your home will mean looking at what other properties in your area have sold for. If you price your home too high, then lower the price later on, many people will think there is something wrong with the home.

  2. Failing to understand the importance of curb appeal. In many cases, the appeal of the exterior of the home is even more important than the charms contained on the inside. That is because if the home does not provide a charm and beauty from the outside, potential buyers may never see the inside of the home. It is important to remember that most people shopping for a home will drive around the neighborhoods they are considering. It is important that your home is presented in the best possible light to these "drive bys". It is important to light your home attractively as well, since some of these "drive bys" may take place at twilight or even after dark.

  3. Going overboard on home improvements. While making needed home repairs is an essential first step to a successful sale, doing too many home improvements can backfire on the seller. With the exception of kitchen and bath remodeling, few home improvements are able to pay for themselves through increased value. In addition, a home that is in too new a condition may feel unwelcoming and cold to potential buyers. While it is important to not go overboard on home improvements, however, it is a good idea to remove clutter from the exterior and exterior of the home, give the house a fresh coat of paint and eliminate any stains or unpleasant odors.

  4. Not understanding the offer made by a potential buyer. It is important for the seller to review the offers carefully, and to fully understand the purchase contract. It is important to insure that the buyer has put up a good sized deposit, whether or not the buyer has requested credits to cover the cost of the loan, as well as whether or not the offer to buy is contingent on the sale of the buyer's existing home.

  5. Failing to get a home inspection. This is a big mistake many home sellers make. It is important to thoroughly assess the condition of your home in order to price it effectively, and to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. Many sellers assume that since the buyer will get their own home inspection they do not need one. However, it can be very costly for a sale to fall through due to an item uncovered on the buyer's home inspection. Taking care of any problems ahead of time is the smartest way to go.

  6. Not providing complete information to potential buyers. Withholding information is one of the most serious mistakes made by home sellers. It can be tempting to try to hide, or to fail to mention, any potential problems, but it is likely that those problems will be uncovered eventually as the sales process moves forward. It is important to provide potential buyers with a full disclosure on both the benefits and the problems of the property.

  7. Falling into the trap of subjective thinking. It can be quite difficult to be objective about your own home. After all, you probably have grown quite attached to the property, and it can be difficult to see it through a buyer's eyes. Many sellers are offended when the taste and style of potential buyers does no match their own, but it is important to see the sale as a business transaction, and not to let your emotions take over. It is also important to give buyers their space as they move around the home during a tour. Buyers will need time to discuss their feelings about the home privately.

  8. Not communicating with the real estate agent. Proper communication is a vital part of the sales process, and sellers who take a proactive approach to selling their home are often the most successful. Sellers should be sure to ask their agents for regular updates about the home, and to not simply assume that the agent has taken care of every aspect of the marketing of the home.

  9. Failing to investigate the potential buyer. After an offer is on the table, it is vital to get the loan approval and prequalification letter for the buyers. It is important that these letters not only state that the buyer's credit has been checked carefully, but also that the buyer's credit is acceptable by the mortgage lender. It is also important to have the buyer fill out a loan application and submit it to the lender within a couple of days after the offer has been accepted.

  10. Failing to proofread the closing documents. It is important to carefully review the closing statement, paying careful attention to the loan balance, any needed repairs and other expenses and the results of the home inspection. Reading the closing statement carefully is vital to avoiding any unpleasant surprises.


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