7 Costly Mistakes in the Selling Process

Sellers dream of a flawlessly executed home sale where everything goes smoothly, and they end up with a satisfied buyer. To achieve this ideal end goal, it’s important to be aware of the mistakes along the way that could potentially derail the sale. Mistakes in the selling process come in all sizes, but some can be more costly than others.

 

1. Incorrect Pricing

Simply put, sellers want to get the most value for their home. Inaccurately priced homes create complications in the selling process and can be costly. Overpriced homes are unable to compete with other homes in a more expensive bracket, reducing its appeal to buyers. The longer a home stays on the market, the more likely the seller will have to lower the price, and this could result in a final asking price that is well below what the home is worth. Underpricing can be used as a strategy to generate added interest among buyers and thereby drive up the home’s market value, but it requires that a bidding war take place among buyers.

 

2. Underestimating Selling Costs

There are many costs associated with selling a home that can easily pile up if not planned for. Commission fees take up a significant portion of selling costs, typically between five to six percent of the sale price. Sellers must budget for home inspections, making repairs, and staging the home to get it market-ready. During closing, sellers need to prepare for various costs including sales tax, attorney fees, and any fees related to the transfer of the title, and more. Not accounting for any of these costs can come as an unpleasant surprise.

 

3. Selling When Underwater

It may be tempting to think of selling a home solely as a revenue-generating event. However, if a seller still owes more on their mortgage than what their home is worth, or if the property has gone down in value, they still may not make enough money on the sale to pay off the mortgage. Any homeowner who finds themselves underwater on their mortgage should consider building more equity before they sell.

 

4. Selling FSBO

Selling a home “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) presents sellers with the opportunity to save on commission fees but is a complex and risky process that can easily lead to serious costs. Not only does selling FSBO mean that the seller will incur all costs an agent would have taken on to market the home, but they are accepting added liability as well. If any mistake occurs during the offer process, negotiations, or closing, the seller finds themselves without the representation of an experienced professional. This leaves a great opportunity for costly mistakes that could potentially jeopardize the sale.

 

5. Failing to Disclose Repairs

If a seller fails to disclose any outstanding repairs and issues inherent in the home, they will likely come to light during the buyer’s inspection and can create a very costly situation for the seller. These losses can be avoided by being transparent about what repairs are needed ahead of time. Sellers can also opt to conduct a pre-listing inspection, which can be especially helpful in competitive markets. Disclosure rules vary by state.

 

6. Neglecting to Stage Your Home

Home staging is a critical element for getting the most value for a home and selling it quickly. By neglecting to stage, sellers are opening the door for lowered offers and reduced sale prices. The staging process is also the perfect time for sellers to inspect their home for any minor or cosmetic repairs that can be addressed quickly.

 

7. Not Choosing the Best Offer

Naturally, the highest offer received on a home may seem like the most enticing. But just because an offer may be higher than another doesn’t mean it’s the best one. It’s critical for sellers to communicate with their agent about the full terms of the offer to understand its contingencies, how it affects their bottom line, and how those components align with their needs and preferences.

 

If you’d like more information on selling your home and how to avoid costly mistakes, an experienced Windermere agent is ready to help. Click here to connect with an agent today.

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The Risks of FSBO

Selling a home is a complex process that requires patience, knowledge of the market, and a deep understanding of the financial processes. And that’s just the beginning. Accordingly, many homeowners trust in a professional to sell their home by working with a real estate agent. Despite the expertise an agent brings to the table, some homeowners choose to go it alone, bearing the responsibility of a successful home sale on their own shoulders. If you’re thinking about selling “For Sale by Owner”, or FSBO, know that there are certain risks and obstacles  that can easily cause your home selling journey to veer off course.

 

The Risks of FSBO 

Real estate agents are professionals who possess a vast knowledge of both the industry at large and local market conditions acquired through years of training, certifications, and working with clients. For FSBO sellers, the complexities of the home selling process can easily illuminate a lack of experience and leave them feeling unsure of how to continue, or worse, situations may arise where proceeding incorrectly could jeopardize the transaction. This lack of expertise could lead to incorrectly pricing your home, which will attract the wrong buyers. An accurately priced home requires market knowledge and an objective approach to the home’s value, which can be tough for homeowners. The more time an overpriced home spends on the market, the more likely the price will have to be lowered. A home with a lowered price that has been on the market for some time is less appealing to buyers than an accurately priced new listing. An underpriced home could leave significant money on the table for the seller.

 

A common motivating factor for wanting to sell FSBO is that, in the case of a successful sale, the seller avoids paying commission to an agent. However, what that commission ultimately pays for is a vast skill set that is specifically trained to get you the most money for your home. Agents not only have access to all kinds of information on local market conditions, trends in the real estate market, and data on comparable homes in your area, they are also connected to a network of potential buyers and have the marketing know-how for appealing to them and any others in your market. To attempt to approach this same level of visibility while selling FSBO means incurring additional expenses like ad placement, signage, hiring a photographer, and more.

 

Selling a home takes up a great deal of time. FSBO sellers can expect to stage the home, host showings and tours, answer phone calls from buyers, interview home inspectors, and coordinate open houses, all while gathering data on the local market—and that’s all before any negotiations or paperwork. When an offer comes through, FSBO sellers must dive into the extensive documentation required for the mortgage, title transfer, and any other legalese involved in the transaction. It’s like having another job that you may simply not have time for, whereas a real estate agent’s job is to dedicate their time, energy, and experience to the successful sale of your home.

 

All these factors make selling FSBO a risky proposition. Mistakes in the selling process can lead to both financial and legal implications, but part of a real estate agent’s expertise is knowing how and when these dangers can arise and navigating them properly. If you’re looking to sell your home, we’re happy to connect you with an agent here: Connect With an Agent

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The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection

Pre-listing inspections can help sellers better understand the condition of their home before putting it on the market. They can also strengthen a home’s appeal to potential buyers and help to streamline the offer process, which is especially important in competitive markets. However, pre-listing inspections can also open sellers up to added liability. Talk to your Windermere agent to understand if conducting a pre-listing inspection is right for your home.

 

What is a Home Inspection?

Conducted by a licensed home inspector, a home inspection is a detailed review of the condition of a home and property. Inspectors examine everything from a home’s electrical work and sewage to its heating and cooling systems, searching for any evidence of damage or structural issues that may affect its value. By having your home inspected before you sell, you’ll have the chance to discover whether it needs any repairs or upgrades.

 

Pre-Listing Inspections

Pre-listing inspections not only help identify repairs, but they can also make the selling process more efficient. A pre-listing inspection discloses a home’s condition to buyers up front and gives them confidence that the seller is being transparent about any possible issues. This can save significant time for both buyers and sellers, especially in competitive markets where there are multiple offers on the table.

Something for sellers to keep in mind is that if a home in a competitive market does not provide a pre-inspection report, buyers may be hesitant to make an offer knowing the time it takes to perform an inspection and the fact that they are likely competing against several other buyers who are willing to waive this step.

 

The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection

Home inspections give a good baseline of your home’s condition. The information gathered during this process is exactly the kind of in-depth knowledge that buyers want to know when considering placing an offer on a home.

Since buyers will know right away what repairs are needed, they can factor them into their initial offer, as opposed to discovering them during the inspection contingency and getting entangled in negotiations. Being forthcoming about your home also reduces the chances of an offer falling through and the buyer walking away.

An added benefit of a pre-listing inspection is that it helps your real estate agent more accurately price the home and enables them to market it with the knowledge that everything is being presented in the most transparent way possible.

 

If you have any questions about home inspections or any of the steps in the selling process, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent here: Connect with an agent

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Why Should You Stage Your Home When it’s For Sale?

In order to sell your home, it must be successfully marketed to potential home buyers. Developing a winning strategy to attract as many buyers as possible to your home is something your real estate agent will work on, and part of that process may include staging.

Staging doesn’t just involve decorating your home; it’s using furniture and décor to reveal the possibilities in the space in order to make it appealing to a wide variety of buyers. It is an important step to helping buyers imagine the space for their own use, and it often leads to a higher dollar value and quicker sale time.

 

Staging for Buyers

A well-staged home creates stunning photographs that will attract buyers as they search online. In 2020, 97% of home buyers used the internet to search for prospective homes, and about half of them used mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. Because photos on a mobile device can be quite small and easily swipeable, staging has the potential to grab a buyer’s eye and pull them into the listing. Once they visit in person, staging serves to elevate your space while allowing buyers to visualize themselves living in your home.

 

Investment and ROI

For a relatively low investment, the return on investment (ROI) for a staged listing is worth it for just about any home seller. No matter the size of your home, the average investment on staging is 1% of the sale price of the home. And that 1% investment can lead to amazing gains. According to a 2020 survey by the Real Estate Staging Association, of those who spent 1% on staging, 75% saw a return of 5-15% over the asking price. As this shows, investing in staging can turn into one of the best ways to add value to your home.

In addition to increasing the dollar value of your home, staging is also likely to lead to a quicker sale. In 2020, staged listings sold after an average of 23 days on market. That’s two days faster than the national average of 25 days on market in the same year.

Your real estate agent can connect you with a professional stager who they will work side-by-side with to create a cost-effective strategy for staging your home and getting it sold in the most efficient and effective manner.

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Finding the Right Agent to Sell Your Home

Selling your home is a collaborative effort between you and your real estate agent. As you prepare to sell your home, it’s important to find an agent who not only can answer your questions throughout the selling process, but who also cares about the happiness and goals of you and your household, as well.

 

Before You Begin Your Agent Search

 

Once you’ve made the decision to sell, there are some things to consider before selecting an agent to work with.

 

Communicate your reason for selling

  • Behind every homeowner who decides to sell their home there’s a story, and every story is unique. In the early stages of working together, your agent will be processing a lot of information about your timeline and financial goals. Having these details ironed out and ready to communicate will help them understand your motives and guide the process effectively.

 

Think about selling strategy

  • Part of a real estate agent’s expertise is knowing the optimal selling strategy to pursue, but no one knows your home better than you. Putting time and effort into thinking about things like how your home will be marketed and how showings will be conducted will help inform your agent’s strategic advice.

 

 

Finding the Right Agent for You

 

You and your agent will be communicating throughout the process of selling your home. You’ll be relying on them for updates and information each step of the way. Though your goal in working together is ultimately the sale of your home, your agent’s ability to connect with you on a human level through the emotional ups and downs of the selling process is just as important as their professional attributes. Accordingly, you’ll want to consider what qualities you’re looking for in an agent.

 

To set yourself up for identifying good candidates, talk to people you trust who know your personality and goals. Get referrals from your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. If they recommend someone, follow up with that agent to see if they are a good fit for you.

 

Searching for an Agent

 

To give yourself the best pool of potential agents, conduct your search both online and in-person. Exploring an agent’s social media profiles and reading reviews online can be useful in assessing whether they’re someone you want to work with. If in-person showings and open houses are occurring in your market, consider dropping by to get a chance to interact with the agent first-hand. After you have narrowed your agent search, ask for client references to get more insights into what it’s like to work with them.

 

Agent Certifications

 

Some agents choose to earn additional certifications or designations that showcase their commitment to additional training, coursework, and learning to help them specialize and advance their capabilities. Depending on your specific needs, certain designations may appeal to you as you go about finding the right agent to sell your home. The National Association of REALTORS® offers the largest number of professional designations. Explore them here: NAR Designations and Certifications

 

For help finding the right agent for you, we’re happy to connect you with an agent here.

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How to Price Your Home for Sale

It’s natural for sellers to want to get every step of the selling process right, but a successful home sale depends on an accurate listing price. Your real estate agent will work closely with you to set the price, but in the meantime, you can use  the following information to better understand what goes into this process. .

 

What factors influence home prices?

 

Understanding what factors influence home prices will give you a deeper knowledge of the market, give clarity to the selling process, and help you work toward the accurate listing price of your home.

 

Comparable home sales

Comparable home sales—or “comps”—have a major impact on the price of your home. Comps refer to the comparable homes in your area, both pending and sold, within the last six months. Your Windermere agent can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to better determine the price of your home. CMAs factor in aspects, such as square footage, age, and lot size compared to other homes in your area, to determine how your home should be priced among the competition.

 

Your home’s location

Naturally, you home’s location plays a significant role in its asking price. Depending on the market conditions in your area, whether you reside in a metropolitan, suburban, or rural location, and the home’s proximity to amenities, schools, and entertainment all contribute to the price.

 

The home’s condition

If you have recently invested in upgrades or other maintenance projects for your home, they could increase your asking price. However, the price increase potential depends on the kind of renovation, its ROI, and how valuable it is to buyers in your area. If the home is in need of repair, it will likely fetch less interest than better maintained homes at your price point. Any outstanding repairs or projects looming overhead will make the home less attractive to buyers and could lead to a low appraisal.

 

Seasonality

Any factors that impact market supply and demand are worth taking into consideration when preparing to price your home, and seasonality is one that cannot be overlooked. Typically, market activity slows in the winter and picks up during the spring and summer months. However, market seasonality varies region to region. Talk to your Windermere agent about the seasonality trends in your area and how they factor into your asking price. 

 

Market conditions

Naturally, all sellers want to price their home competitively, but what a competitive price looks like depends on the market conditions, such as whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. Some sellers think that pricing their home over market value means they’ll sell for more money, but the opposite is often true. Overpricing your home presents various dangers, such as sitting on the market too long, which can result in selling for well below what it’s worth.

 

What’s your home worth?

 

Nothing can replace the professional knowledge and local expertise of a real estate agent, but automated valuation models (AVMs) can be a helpful first step in determining what your home is worth. Like comps, AVMs assess your home by comparing its information with the listings in your area.

 

If you’re curious about your home’s value, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations on your property and the surrounding market. You can find it here.

 

These are the basic tenets for understanding what goes into the price of a home. When you’re ready, we’re happy to connect you with an agent who can interpret and expand on this information, perform a CMA for your home, and be the expert in your selling journey.

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