Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
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The Top Five Mistakes that Sellers Make and How to Avoid Them
Sellers are notorious for thinking that their homes are worth far more than
the market will bear. It's an understandable mistake, but one that could prove
costly if it slows down the sale and/or makes other homes look like a good value
in comparison. On the other hand, you don't want to price your home below it's
Here's a list of the top five mistakes sellers often make, and how to avoid
them in order to get the best price for your home in the shortest amount of
1) Over-pricing -- It's easy to think your home is worth more, based on an
emotional assessment, than the current market may support. After all, it has been
special to you and your family, and what about those little additions, changes
and improvements you've made over the years?
The question is, how important are those changes to a potential buyer? How up
to date are they? Considering your home and other comparable homes on the
market, how does your home really stand up to the others? There are many things
To determine a reasonable listing price, talk to real estate agents familiar
with your area. Ask for sales statistics on homes in the neighborhood including
listing prices and actual sales prices, how long it took for the homes to sell,
and government valuation comparisons. Be sure to ask your agent for a market
appraisal on your property. Talk to friends or neighbors who've recently bought
or sold a home. Visit homes for sale in your area and compare what you see in
terms of sales appeal.
Remember that real estate markets can change quickly, and that comparables from
several months ago may not give you an exact picture of the current market.
Determine if there are more or fewer new listings at present. Are prices up or
down? If it's a soft market, there's likely to be a larger gap between listing
and selling prices. If homes are selling with multiple offers, and selling
quickly, demand may be outstripping the current supply of available properties
for sale. All of these factors will play a role in determining your listing
2) Negligent Housekeeping -- Second, take a good, objective look at the condition
of your home. Is the paint fresh on walls and wood trim? Is the carpet clean?
Are windows sparkling? Are tiles chipped and in need of repair? Does the front
of the house have "curb appeal," meaning is it inviting and attractive? Clean,
well-kept homes with an updated appearance always have an advantage, and a
little decorating appeal can go a long way. Be sure to gather up any clutter and
put it away. Potential buyers don't want to see your "messes." They need to
envision themselves living in the home. Consider that home developers spend
hundreds of thousands of dollars "marketing" model homes that are picture-
perfect with attractive wall paper, carpet, furnishing and accessories for a
reason. They create a mood, an ambiance, an overwhelming sales appeal that
makes the potential buyer fall in love. Would-be buyers, after all, are looking
for a "lifestyle" as well as shelter. Give it to them. You don't have to buy
new furniture to create charm, but you can put toys and clutter away, freshen up
paint and carpet, make the most of window coverings, and add a few key
accessories in order to send out welcoming signals. You want to put out the
message that life will be good, better, best in your home!
3) Failing to Fix-It -- In keeping with the sales appeal message above, consider
that new buyers are probably going to be happiest moving into a new home that is
in perfect or near-perfect condition. If they have to fix the roof, fix the
broken tile floor, fix the garage door, fix sagging wallpaper or, fix just about
anything, this may give them pause about buying. At the least, it may lower the
value of the home in the prospective buyer's mind. For best results, make sure
any work on the home and the landscaping is done ahead of time. A model-perfect
home is going to attract the highest price.
4) Failing to Identify Exclusions - This can be a cause of contention just at a
critical point in the sale. To avoid any problems, be sure to specify any
special sales considerations or exclusions from the chattel list. Generally,
anything permanently fixed to the house is a "chattel" or asset that stays with
the home after the sale. If your grandmother's antique chandelier is hanging in
the dining room and you intend to take it with you, specify clearly that it is
not included in the sale price.
5) Failure to Understand Your Agent Agreement-- Be sure to check on fees,
agent percentages and time frames. Understand the types of agency agreements
when you sign with a real estate agent or company. The agent should explain the
differences between exclusive and general agencies. Understand exactly what the
agent's fee percentage is and get it in writing. You may want to get several
written quotes on fees before you select an agent. And, be sure that you
understand your agreement in terms of the time frame you are contracting for
with your agent. Discuss details such as when you want to hold open houses.
Your sales endeavor is likely to go the smoothest when all parties have a clear
understanding of what is expected and nothing is left to question.
"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: email@example.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
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