Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make

Posted by Tamara Berryman on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 10:34am.

Home sellers often make the same mistakes, regardless of property type and/or geography. Everyone who sells their home knows it's got to be spruced up, cleaned from top to bottom and inside and out. It's also common knowledge that buyers will be looking for a deal, but that might get lost in the seller's mindset and emotion. When selling a property, it's all too often the case sellers have trouble mentally and emotionally preparing themselves for the final transaction.

Looking at the latest market data here in Sarasota is one way to get your mind into a frame of selling a commodity, not memories, after all, you'll have those to take with you. A home is a commodity; and, according to the latest figures, sellers ought to take advantage of the current market climate. In December 2013, home sales doubled their pace from a year prior, with 920 properties selling over 906 in December 2012. The median price increased from $155,000 up to $184,900, a 20 percent rise over the same period in 2012.

Many homeowners now have recouped their equity and that's great news for the real estate market at-large. With figures like these, and knowing interest rates and inflation are rising, it's now time to sell to gain the most. The first step is to look at your home and it's most attractive features, then capitalize on them to entice buyers--of course, a little incentive always helps.

Giving Buyers the Right Incentive

Where many sellers go wrong is not putting themselves into the buyer's shoes. They are too busy thinking about purchasing another property, selling their current home, and all the stress which comes with moving. This leaves room for a lot of error. Sellers who are serious think of clever ways to make their home more appealing to buyers. After all, buyers are probably looking at more than one property and a little extra incentive can go a long, long way.

"Most Realtors say that the very best incentive to sell your house in any market is to price it fairly and make sure it’s in excellent condition. If for some reason you need to sell your home quickly and don’t have the time or money to make home improvements, you can try to sell it “as is” — but you’ll definitely need to lower your price below the market rate for comparable properties. Other than pricing, you can also offer financial incentives in the form of closing cost assistance, but how much you can offer depends on the rules of the particular loan program that your buyer is using to finance the purchase." --Realtor.com

Seller incentives were at the height of their popularity just a few years ago, but that doesn't mean they no longer are necessary. For instance, if your home is on or near the water, throw in  a jet ski, a kayak, or some beach chairs, picnic basket, and beach umbrellas. In this same scenario, fishing gear works nicely as well. If your home is in a HOA community, then paying the association fees for six months to a year is a great incentive because buyers who do not live in such communities often see this as a big negative. Golf course community sellers can throw in a year's worth of club membership, and a gift card to a furniture store always does the trick.

Don't Make these Costly Home Seller Mistakes

Incentives, though, won't be enough, especially if you're committing one or more of these costly home seller mistakes:

  • Not having a pre-listing home inspection. This is a big, huge mistake because you're not in the know about the very things which could later kill an otherwise viable deal. Get an inspection before you list your home and take care of any problems.
  • Skimping on presentation. While you may have deep-cleaned your home, you're taking a real gamble with not refreshing the paint or sprucing up the curb appeal with fresh plants and flowers.
  • Overpricing for the sake of negotiation. You might be tempted to up the price a little to have room to negotiate, but this will probably just result in buyers passing up your property.
  • Letting kids and pets spoil the sale. Okay, so they're both cute and you love them, but buyers are interested in your house, not your kids or pets.
If you are considering selling your home here in Sarasota, and want professional advice, call us for a free consultation. We can discuss the many factors which go into pricing your home correctly, marketing to the right audience, and staging your home to be the most attractive to buyers. We have years of experience in selling and buying condos, townhomes, and single family properties right here on the west coast of Florida.

Tamara Berryman
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