Your friends and family aren’t trying to steer you wrong when they give you selling advice, but they may be perpetuating myths about successful techniques to sell houses. Here are common seller misconceptions.
1. Set your price too high to leave room for negotiation? Homeowners fall into this trap all the time. They aim high so they can “come down” on the price when a buyer wants to haggle. And there’s always a chance someone will pay their inflated asking price, right?
A pricing strategy like this backfires more often than not. A rule of thumb: Sellers get the most activity/showings on their property the first 30 days it is on the market. For starters, many potential buyers won’t even view your property if you value it above their price range. And if your home doesn’t compare favorably to others offered for the same price, you are just helping sell other people’s homes.
Even worse, when an overpriced home sits on the market, buyers wonder what’s wrong with it. Many times, sellers wind up lowering their price below the level that would have attracted a sale had it been priced properly from the start.
2. You will make more money selling it yourself: Maybe you will. Maybe you won’t. Realtors don’t work for free. It’s true. Keep in mind, however, that selling a home can be an emotional experience. Realtors objectively guide clients through the intricacies of property transactions every day. They know your housing market and are required to be up-to-date on the latest forms and legal issues, different financing options and ramifications. Remember, too, that selling a home requires a great deal of time. You’ll need to hold open houses on weekends and be available to show your home whenever a prospective buyer wants to see it.
Without proper market analysis, you could set the price too low, costing you money. A bungled negotiation would cut into your bottom line, too. Be sure to weigh any hypothetical savings against the time, effort and risk you take by selling the property yourself.
3. Just paint the front door and plant some flowers: You may think that your house is ready for buyers, but there’s more to preparing your home for the market than beefing up the curb appeal. Houses that show the best allow potential buyers to envision themselves in the homes. The pool table and dart board in your third bedroom need to go, and the room should be reconfigured as a bedroom. You also will want to banish clutter and make repairs that would otherwise deter potential purchasers. Strive for a neutral environment that will appeal to the vast majority of homebuyers.
4. Not every offer is worth your time: Don’t be insulted if a potential buyer presents an offer way below your asking price. It’s nothing personal, and you’re not required to reduce your price. Some buyers use such offers as a way to start the negotiating process, and it doesn’t take much effort to see if the person genuinely wants to purchase your home.
One caveat about negotiating: When buyers and sellers get close on a sales price, often someone suggests splitting the difference. If a low-ball initial offer caused to you counter with a significant price reduction, meeting halfway later in the negotiations might not be in your best interest financially.
If you are selling your home, you will truly benefit from hiring a Realtor as your advocate. Your Realtor can help you steer clear of these and other seller mistakes, so you achieve the best result possible. For more information about buying or selling real estate or to find a Realtor, please visit HAR.com.
John Nugent, with RE/MAX Space Center, is 2020 chairman of the Houston Association of Realtors/HAR.com.