I just read a great article in last Sunday’s Chicago Tribune. It was the lead story on the front of the Money & Real Estate Section. Entitled “Don’t Try This at Home,” it lists common selling mistakes that can turn away potential buyers. I want to go over a few of them that I think are extremely important.
1. Being insulted by lowball offers. Considering the current state of the economy, buyers feel that no matter what they purchase it can be a great deal. While that may or may not be true, it’s important not to just turn your head at any lowball offer that comes through. The buyers could just be feeling you out to see if you’re willing to negotiate with them. Don’t just reject it and walk away. You’ll want to counteroffer (even if it’s not much) just to show that you’re interested in proceeding with them. It’s very possible that you’ll be able to agree on a deal that will make everyone happy. By not counteroffering at all, the buyers might just move on to the next house.
2. Similarly, always accepting the most money in a multiple offer situation. It is still possible to receive multiple offers on your home. And sellers that automatically go for the most money, might be missing the best deal. You want to qualify all the buyers rather than just looking at the quantity of the deal. See who is putting the most down, who can close the fastest, if anybody waived their inspection rights, etc. The person offering the most money might be the least qualified in terms of a mortgage and you could end up losing the deal later on. Go over every scenario.
3. Being your own home’s tour guide. I can’t be clear about this enough. Please do your best not to be home during showings. Even if you are and you can go sit in the backyard, that will make a huge difference. People don’t want you to give a full tour for many reasons. One, they want to go through the home at their own pace. Two, they won’t feel comfortable opening closet doors or shower doors with you hovering over their shoulders. Three, you could accidentally share “too much information too soon.” You’ll also want to keep pets out of the way. Some people may be afraid, others may be allergic, and you don’t want anything affecting the buyers’ opinions of the home.
4. Not being honest with your agent about problems. If something was a problem and you fixed it, great. Just tell them everything. It will save so much time and hassle in the end. You’d rather deal with anything up front than arguing about it over home inspection issues when it’s going to keep everything from closing on time. If something is a problem, let the agent know. They’ll help you determine how to present it to buyers, or maybe recommend fixing it, or letting the attorney know.
5. Having a great condo but a less than appealing lobby or other common areas. If this is a problem in your building, contact your home owner’s association ASAP. You’re paying for the upkeep of the common areas, so make sure they’re taking care of them. If they can’t get there fast enough and you’re trying to sell your unit, grab your vacuum cleaner and start cleaning yourself. A dirty building can be a big turnoff, even if you have a beautiful home inside it.
These mistakes can often cost you a sale. Take your Realtor’s advice when preparing your home for sale. They’re the ones that are constantly seeing what’s going on in the market and are there to help you get your home sold for top dollar. Visit me online for more advice or for a free market analysis.