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4 Mistakes Home Seller’s Make

Thursday, April 2, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

As the spring home selling season approaches, many homeowner’s rush to put their houses on the market.   Interest rates are low, tax rebates and sales incentives abound, and home prices are more affordable than they have been in a decade. 

But, before you throw the ‘for sale’ sign in the yard, please educate yourself about the common mistakes you should avoid, if you want to sell your home.  Decades of real estate experience have proven again and again, that making these mistakes, even once, will stop any sale in its tracks.

  1. Pricing:  Setting an unrealistic price is the biggest mistake home seller’s make.  The home MUST be initially priced at or under its competition, or you are simply wasting time and money.  Some seller’s toy with the notion of “low balling” their asking price, hoping for bidding wars and a quick sale.  While this strategy sometimes works on lower priced property, it doesn’t work in higher price ranges.   Buyer’s in a higher price range simply think that the seller is desperate, which always results in even lower offers, not bidding wars.   We won’t address overpricing, because there is nothing to say.  The truth is no one will overpay for your home, it won’t appraise anyway, so please keep it off the market, until you are ready to be realistic. 
  2. Property Condition:  Know as much as you can about the condition of your property, fix everything that will stop a sale, and disclose everything you know about the property condition to the buyer.   If you don’t, when the problematic inspection report is revealed, the buyer will cancel the contract and walk.   Afterward, the seller will find themselves in a much worse position because they lost momentum, valuable time on the market, and the cancelation signals that something was wrong with the house.  The seller will also be required by law to disclose everything found on the prior inspection report, so there is nothing to gain and a lot to lose by hiding the facts.  
  3. Working with Today’s Buyer’s:  It is a mistake to not entertain any offer, no matter how low the inital offer is.  Buyer’s in this market make low ball offer’s first, to test the desperation of the seller.  You will never know what price a buyer may be willing to pay for your home, if you don’t negotiate with them.
  4. Potentially Unqualified Buyer’s:  NEVER get into a contract with a buyer who isn’t financially qualified for a loan.  A letter of prequalification is not enough to take a home off the market.  First, know who the lender is and require full underwriting approval within days of the acceptance of the offer.  Be sure to write this loan approval (not prequalification) provision into your contract.  Maintain your Active Listing Status and DO NOT indicate that your home is Contract Pending until the buyer has verifiable loan approval.

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