5 Most Common Seller Mistakes

Mistake #1 – Overpricing

Everyone wants to realize as much as possible when they list their home for sale. Here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, just like the rest of the country, the market is saturated with listings and there are very few buyers. Now, more than ever, if your house is not priced correctly people looking in your price range will see the deficiencies and instead opt to look at homes that are a better perceived value. If you price it too high thinking that you can negotiate downward, forget it! You may miss the many buyers who only search up to a certain price point. Inflating your price usually will lead to a much longer time on the market.  That could cost you money and inconvenience as well! Don’t become a stale listing because you overpriced your home. Overpricing can also occur when given bad advice from an agent who might not know the market very well or that is trying to “buy” your listing with a “pie-in-the-sky” number.  This leads us to:

Mistake #2. Picking an agent based on sales price or commission rate

Picking an agency and an agent in the Lakes Region to represent you can be confusing. A lot comes down to the agency’s reputation, their marketing program, how professional the agent is, or well…you just feel comfortable with the agent. Maybe you have used their services before. All good reasons.  But don’t base your choice on how much the agent tells you your property is worth or on the cheapest commission rate.

Many times an inexperienced agent will tend to overprice a home. Unsure of how to do an accurate Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), he may pick bad or wrong comparables for the market analysis and the eager seller looks past the accuracy of what is represented. Most sellers want to believe that their property is worth more than it actually is.  You should have more than one CMA and compare what agents tell you. I have faith in my potential clients that when they are presented with “real data” they will come to the same conclusion as me.

Sellers often wants to list their home with whoever will give them the cheapest commission rate. Note: Cheapest isn’t usually the best.  Why?

1. You usually get what you pay for. Believe it or not there are some heavy duty costs associated with running an agency and a lot of money is spent on advertising and marketing, equipment, office space, and support to get your property sold. If an agency is discounting commission rates they are undoubtedly cutting back on all the expenses it takes to sell your listing.

2. You usually get what you pay for. Full service counts for a lot in this business. Many times a seller will list with a discount broker from outside of our area (rather then utilize an agent in the Lakes Region). That agent (a.) doesn’t advertise in the lakes Region, (b.) doesn’t have buyers calling him looking for property in the Lakes Region because he’s not located here and (c.) doesn’t come to showingsbecause he lives too far away. Wouldn’t it make sense to pay that little extra and actually get the service you need to sell your house?

3. You usually get what you pay for. Professional, knowledgeable, successful agents in the Lakes Region—the agents that actually sell homes— don’t sell themselves, or you, short. If an agent is willing to discount his commission just to get the listing, he’ll discount his service when it comes to the hard line negotiations and other services you are paying him to perform. A good agent will more than earn that little extra you pay to get him by making your life easier, making sure the transaction is completed smoothly, and negotiating you a better deal.

4. Yes…….You usually get what you pay for. Most sellers don’t realize that commissions are split four ways between the listing broker and agent and the selling broker and agent. The smaller the commission, the smaller the split. Sometimes it is to the point where some agents may bypass listings—or move them to the last on the list—if they feel it is not worth their effort.

Mistake #3. Not heeding showing and agent feedback

Lakes Region REALTORS® make a living by knowing the market. Part of that knowledge comes from listening to the feedback from other agents and buyers who see your property. It is ultimately the buying public that sets the price that your home will ultimately sell for. So if your REALTOR® tells you that the feedback he is getting is telling him that the price needs to be adjusted, certain repairs need to be done, or the property needs some sprucing up….LISTEN!…or you may be sitting on your property for many months to come!!  It may take a few showings to come to a true consensus, but take all feedback seriously or you may be waiting a long time for that one buyer who is willing to overlook all the concerns. REALTORS® see hundreds of homes per month, so having your property toured by the agents in the listing office is a good way to test the price you have on your property.

Mistake #4.  Failure to make a good first impression.

First impressions are the key whether you are meeting someone for the first time or opening the front door to a property you are looking at to buy. So clean up, de-clutter, finish up projects that have been stopped midway, and freshen up wherever you can. You have to look at your own property with a very critical eye—the buyer certainly will. An uncompleted project or something that needs repair may be discounted by the buyer much more than the real cost to repair. So remove as many negatives as possible! A fresh coat of paint, if necessary, is the cheapest and easiest way to make your home feel much more appealing. Your REALTOR® can make recommendations to help you stage your property to sell.

Mistake #5. Thinking that classified ads and open houses sell homes.

While newspaper ads and open houses can and should be a part of an overall marketing plan, it is relatively unlikely that the sale of the subject property will come from those sources. The purpose of a newspaper ad, first and foremost, is to get the buying public to call the broker’s office. It is very rare that a prospective buyer actually buys the home he calls on. It is the agent’s job to direct a prospect to a home that fits his criteria. It is far more likely that your home will be sold as a result of an agent exposing your home to a buyer that has called on an ad for another property. So don’t get anxious or upset if you don’t see your property advertised each and every week in the newspaper!

Public open houses don’t work all that well in the Lakes Region!! Other areas of the country have great success and buyers flock to them…but not here. If it is the only thing you can do, if you are a For Sale by Owner, then by all means do it! And while REALTORS® do them and occasionally get someone that leads to a sale, most of the time they are held only to appease the Seller or as a last resort.  Broker open houses are utilized much more often in the Lakes Region of NH as they will expose your home to many more buyers through the agents that come to them.