Top 10 mistakes of home sellers
You've advertised your home in the local paper. You've planted
a big "Open House" sign on your front lawn. You've even baked fresh
cookies to pass out to potential buyers. So why aren't people lining up at your
a home is a complex, multi-faceted process. From choosing a trustworthy real estate agent
to pricing your home accurately and presenting it properly, the selling process
can be downright daunting, especially for first-time sellers.
As eager as you may be to close the sale -- perhaps you have a new
mortgage or luxury sports car waiting to be financed -- you must
not rush the process. Take the time to research the real estate
marketplace as well as the credentials of your potential buyers
and never hesitate to bombard your agent with any questions you
You don't want to fall victim to Bankrate's top-10
list of sellers' biggest mistakes:
1. Overpricing your home.
It's important to be realistic about the value
of your home. "Sellers must make their agents present them with objective
criteria for pricing," says Terry Hankner, a Realtor with Comey & Shepherd
Realtors in Cincinnati, Ohio. "Comparative information is most critical in
getting a house priced properly." While all sellers are tempted to see how
much they can get for their homes, Hankner says once you ask for too much, it's
hard to ask for less later on in the process. "You run the risk of buyers
thinking 'Oh boy, I wonder why they had to reduce this one. There must be something
wrong with it.'" To get a realistic assessment of your home's worth, research
the cost of similar homes in your neighborhood and price it accordingly.
Not displaying curb appeal.
You don't have to invest thousands of dollars into
redecorating your home. But there are some basic
steps you must take to present your house in the
most positive light. "When people drive by
a home they're either turned on or turned off. There's
nothing more important than the exterior of your
home," says Richard F. Gaylord, a broker with
RE/Max Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif.
"I once showed a home that was magnificent.
But it had an old, ugly front door that hadn't been
painted in years," he says. "People were
only able to focus on that front door."
Don't go overboard with staging your home. "You
don't want your house to be so pristine that it
feels cold or so overdone that it looks like it's
out of a magazine," says Allyson Bernard, 2005
regional vice president for the National Association
of Realtors. "You want it to feel warm and
welcoming." Do, however, spruce up the yard,
plant some flowers, de-clutter the home's interior,
rid the home of unpleasant smells, and apply fresh
coats of paint to all walls and doors.
the buyer's offer.
Carefully reviewing and understanding the offer or
purchase contract is imperative. Here are a few things to look for: How much deposit
the buyer has agreed to put down -- is it a significant deposit? Has the buyer
asked for some credits to cover loan costs? Is the offer contingent upon the owner
selling his or her current home? If so, how is the selling process going? "In
most cases that contingency stays into effect until their deal closes so you better
find out if their home is priced properly," Gaylord says. "These kinds
of things are worth investigating."