Avoid these home seller mistakes

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Christmas is over, it’s time for homeowners to get their homes ready for sale in the spring, and they’re contemplating what steps to take, what needs to be done and what’s it all going to cost to sell the home for the top dollar in the hot spring sellers’ market. To eliminate stress from the formula when just the thought of all that lies ahead is already creating this sinking feeling of despair deep inside homeowners everywhere as the anxiety is already starting to mount.

Don’t worry, read through these tips to identify common sellers mistakes and how to avoid them.

First, don’t consider an agent who is quick to agree on what price to sell the home. That’s what sellers don’t want, a “yes man.” Remember, the seller pays the agent a serious commission for their expertise. Why hire a mechanic and tell them how to do brakes? Or hire an accountant and stand over their shoulder telling them how to complete a tax form? I think not. So why would anyone hire a real estate agent who is quick to accept the seller’s price and not offer their expertise first? In the business, it’s called “buying the listing.” The agent knows that it won’t sell for this price and that they’ll be able to come to the seller at a later point for a price reduction, and the seller will find themselves “chasing the market,” which typically results in an ultimate selling price. Find an agent that’s trustworthy to give honest advice and not keep any dirty little secrets.

Next, get educated on the selling process. No one likes surprises when it comes to real estate. Read articles like this one, both online and in print. Gather as much information as possible on the entire process, let it all sink in, before discussing the entire process with a trusted real estate agent. Understanding the process and what to expect from each party will go a long way at reducing stress levels and allow the sale to proceed smoothly.

Never forget that preparation is king. There is a lot that goes into getting a home ready for sale. Start with the cleaning, take care of any needed repairs, update as possible and before putting the home on the market, declutter and stage the home so that another family can imagine living there with their personal belongings and not the sellers.

Don’t cut corners. It is OK to invest both time and money into making a few needed repairs. Now is not the time to cover things up and start cutting corners with cheap materials or quick temporary fixes. Duct tape is not a good friend. Do the job right and do it with the right products so that the repair will last for years to come.

Watch the calendar. Selling a home is a process that has some very important, even critical dates to which must be adhered. When tasked with these responsibilities, the seller needs to get them done and done on time. Their failure to comply may result in the buyer not believing they have to comply with their deadlines and may drag things out as well or worse, the entire deal could fall out of escrow.

Don’t blame the real estate agent. The contract belongs to the seller, not the agent. Sure, the real estate agent should go over all of the terms and conditions with the seller and explain each step of the process along with all relevant dates on the time line and let them know what to expect. Perhaps they did and the seller was just overwhelmed, or perhaps they didn’t. Either way, the contract has the seller’s signature on it and they are responsible for its execution. So, pay attention to what it says and don’t ever tell anyone that “you didn’t know.” Dumb is not a pretty look on anyone.

Selling a home is so inconvenient. Seriously, who keeps their home “show ready” day in and day out with the hope that today is the day that the right buyer will show up and make that great offer? Well it may be, so the seller needs to keep their house ready to show at all hours of the day, every day and on very short notice. Remember, the quicker the house sells, the more it will typically sell for and the quicker the seller will no longer have to endure this inconvenience. Remember, it’s only temporary, and there is a great reward once it’s done.

Do you judge a book by its cover? We all do and so will any potential buyers when considering or not considering a home. The judging starts with the photos and videos the agent takes or has taken and blasts across the internet. If the home is seen poorly by buyers on the internet, the odds of a quick sale for top dollar are greatly diminished.

Does the seller have a phantom house? If the house can’t be found, at all, on the internet, then the agent has really let down the seller. It’s a fact that over 90 percent of all homebuyers start their search on the internet. If a potential buyer cannot find the home, chances are very good that they may never get to see it, let alone write an offer and buy it.

Finally, communication is everything. Just like every other aspect of life when someone is looking for success, selling a home requires a clear channel of communication with the real estate agent. Sure, the agent may have been courting the heck out of the seller when trying to get the listing, but once the sign is in the yard and the lockbox is on the door, it may be impossible to get any sort of response about anything at all. If the seller can’t reasonably communicate with their agent, they may want to look at the terms of the listing agreement and go ahead and fire them. If nothing else, let any concerns be known to their broker, who actually owns the listing and not the agent, and ask for a replacement agent.

Call (951) 296-8887 and get the information needed to make an informed, educated decision.

Questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, [email protected]. Mike Mason, Realtor & Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate. LIC: 01483044, Temecula Valley resident for 30+ years, Board of Director (since 2011) Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors.

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