3 Mistakes Sellers Often Make

April 13, 2015

Home owners can get emotional about their home when it's time to sell. Here are a few mistakes sellers often make in letting emotions override logic during a transaction:

1. Being unrealistic about the home’s value.

Too often, what the seller believes their home is worth is not realistic. Despite tight inventories of homes for-sale in many markets, sellers still need to be careful not to get too greedy with their list price, say real estate professionals.

Home owners tend to get a much lower price when they overprice a home at the onset and then drop the price several times. The longer the home lingers on a market, the more likely it will receive a deeper discount, notes realtor.com®. McEnearney Associates, a real estate company in McLean, Va., found that to be true. Homes for sale in August 2013 sold within the first week on the market for an average of 2.08 percent above list price, while homes that stayed on the market four months sold for an average of 11.53 percent below the original price.

A reasonable price would be based on comparable properties that are selling for and the home's appraised value. "No offers within a 30-day period means the price is too high," real estate sales associate Djana Morris told The Washington Post.

2. Not making a better home presentation.

Another big mistake: Home owners who fail to spruce up their home's interiors and exteriors. "At a minimum, home owners should conduct a thorough cleaning, haul out clutter, make sure the home is well-lit and fix any major aesthetic issues," Chris Polychron, the president of the National Association of REALTORS®, said in a statement about findings from NAR's 2015 Profile of Home Staging, a survey of more than 2,300 REALTORS® representing buyers and sellers. 

Eighty-one percent of REALTORS® who represent buyers surveyed by NAR said that staged homes make it easier for their home buyers to visualize a property as their future home. Forty-six percent of buyer agents also reported that staging makes their buyers more willing to tour a home they viewed online, and 45 percent say that buyers tend to view the value of the home more positively if it is decorated to buyers’ tastes. 28 percent of agents said their buyers are even more willing to overlook other property faults if a home is staged.

3. Not being honest about the home’s history.

It can be tempting for some home owners to hide their home's history and fail to disclose flaws. But agents need to remind their sellers that covering up serious flaws – such as foundation problems, leaky roofs, mold, or more – could come back to haunt them later. The buyer may uncover the flaws during the home inspection and may want to then back out of the deal or ask the seller to fix the problem then. If the issues aren't discovered until after the sale, sellers may even find themselves in a legal battle later on. It's important to remind sellers upfront about any potential issues with the home.

Source: "5 Mistakes People Make When Selling a Home," CheatSheet.com (April 11, 2015) and "Your Home’s First Price Should Be Its Best Price," realtor.com® (2015)