Don'ts In Selling Your Home
- Don't put your house on the market until both you and it are
ready. While this may sound obvious, eager sellers often list
their home before it is ready to show and before they fully understand
the consequences of a sale. Make sure you've done your homework
on pricing and have decided on both the listing price and what you
wish to net from the sale. You should have already made the decision
on selling by owner or with the help of an agent, and you know which
firm you will use to help you. You've checked your closing papers
or with your mortgage company to see if your loan has a pre-payment
penalty, and all of your touch-ups, clean-up, repairs, or improvements
are 100% complete.
- Don't let emotions cloud your decision making process. Once
you've decided to sell, the house is no longer your home; it's a
commodity you wish to dispose of. When you're too emotionally attached
to it, it's difficult to be objective. Remember, buyers aren't trying
to offend you with low offers or criticisms of your home; they are
looking for the right home for themselves at the lowest possible
price. You will probably do the same thing when you look for a replacement.
Never counter an offer with, "take it or leave it." Most
often, even if they are interested, they'll leave it. Being turned
off by a buyer's comment or offer makes it difficult to analyze
and make a proper counter offer.
- Don't panic if the home doesn't sell quickly. If the home
hasn't sold within a reasonable time, (ninety-days) don't assume
you have to lower the price. If your home looks great and you've
done your homework on pricing, remain firm, but try to discover
the cause of the sluggish response. Are you getting enough traffic?
Do you have meaningful feedback? Is there something else you can
do to make the home more appealing?
- Don't call your agent for daily updates. Your agent should
call you regularly to report on activity. Don't bother them with
constant calls. You need them on your team, and will turn them off
by pestering them with constant requests for updates. A good agent
will keep you informed; it's in their best interest. If they don't,
you may have made the wrong choice. (To avoid this problem, click
on the tab, Recruiting the Experts.
- Don't price your home at your "must have price."
Few buyers will be willing to pay your asking price. Everyone wants
to negotiate with the assumption you've added in more than you are
willing to take. Give potential buyers the satisfaction of getting
a better deal. But, you must be realistic in your initial price.
If the market doesn't justify your asking price, you're asking for
trouble by pricing it too high. If you truly want to sell your house,
you must be flexible. And, don't price it high just to see if you
can snare an uneducated buyer. You'll make it more difficult to
sell and when you do lower the price later, buyers may wonder if
there's a problem with the house.
- Never disclose your "must have price" to your agent.
While your agent represents you, they also have a vested interest
in making a sale. They may reveal your information to another agent
if they think it might make the deal. Of course it's unethical to
disclose confidential pricing information to the buyer's agent,
but it's happened many times.
- Don't do extensive remodeling prior to sale. Especially don't
over-improve for your neighborhood. While there are legitimate repairs
or improvements that you may need to make, understand that major
renovations rarely recoup their costs. Put your money where it will
benefit you the most. For more information, click on the tab, Must
Do Repairs Prior To Sale.
- Don't select your agent based upon a relationship with them.
Ask neighbors for recommendations. Find out which agent is most
effective your area. Doing your homework here will pay huge rewards
and can save a lot of grief or hurt feelings.
- Don't try to cover up problems with your home. Most states
require sellers to disclose problems-potential or actual-with their
homes. Not being honest opens you to a lawsuit after the sale. Consider
hiring a home inspector to do a pre-inspection. While you'll have
to pay $250-$400 for their services, you'll be aware of potential
problem areas and can begin addressing them. Buyers will respect
your openness and, though they probably will still want their own
inspection, they will be more comfortable knowing that someone has
already thoroughly reviewed the home.
- Don't accept an offer you don't fully understand. And, don't
just accept your agent's explanation. If you don't understand something,
get clarification or consult a good real estate attorney. The price
you'll pay will be worth it in peace of mind.