You don’t know what you don’t know.
I was asked to reflect on the top mistakes I see sellers making in today’s market and it really got me thinking about some of the most expensive and critical mistakes I see people make when it comes to selling what is often their biggest investment… their home.
I love to walk my clients through the selling process from dreaming to sold. It’s such an honor to be a part of one of the biggest moves most people make in their lives. There are a lot of misconceptions and subpar advice by well meaning friends or family who just don’t know this market.
Let’s dive right into the 3 biggest and most expensive mistakes I see sellers making.
Throwing away dollars to chase pennies.
I often meet with people who are reluctant to list their home with an agent because they want to save money. Okay, so not exactly pennies but you get the gist. The irony is that properties that are listed with REALTORS® often sell for more money, like significantly more. The commission is covered AND you’re getting representation, guidance and a successful sale by hiring a professional. The National Association of REALTORS did a study in 2020 that found the average sales price of a home sold without a REALTOR® was $217,900 but the average home sold with a REALTOR® was $295,000. That’s an awful lot of money to leave on the table.
Do you want to save the most money or net the most money? The answer is usually pretty easy when you look at it that way.
Assuming it takes nothing to sell a house right now so no need to prepare for the market.
This is a big one I’m seeing currently and will cost you.
Imagine you walk into a home with smudgy walls and dirty floors, chipping trim paint, missing closet doors, broken door knobs and loose banisters. Does that home feel well-maintained? Does it make you think it will be a great investment? Maybe those small things don’t add a ton of value from an appraisal standpoint, but they improve marketability and will communicate value to your potential buyers.
I will say that, in some cases, it is simply not possible to get the home completely market ready. Those instances are rare and those people are generally aware that they will forfeit some of the money they could have made had they put the time/effort/money into preparing for the market.
In short, a fresh coat of paint, a deep cleaning, a little decluttering and tightening a few screws can make a big difference! As REALTORS® we walk through with our clients and help them choose which projects to take on to increase market value and/or marketability.
Don’t miss this critical part of selling your home.
Pricing too high
This market is WAY up and it is very likely that your home is worth more than it was a year ago. That said, it is important to review comparable homes that have recently sold to determine a list price that reflects market value. In June of 2021, list price to sold price ratios were 101-103% in Dauphin, Perry and Cumberland counties. That means that a lot of listings sold for above their list prices- some significantly above. If you price the property at or below market value, the offers will drive up the price. If you price too high, you’ll need to reduce. That seems simple, but those first few days on the market are critical in getting exposure and traffic through the home. People know when the price is too high and they won’t schedule showings and the strongest offers tend to come in within the first few days on market so pricing it right is key.
It’s a common misconception that you need to build in a buffer for negotiation in the price. I completely understand the reason people think this way but this market climate has made that almost totally obsolete. We rarely see offers under asking in the first few days on the market. Work with your agent to come up with a price based on comparable sales and watch the magic happen. You don’t want to lose the momentum of the first few days on the market and the competition because you were overpriced.
So a few quick takeaways:
DO work with a great REALTOR® who you connect with
DO put a little effort into getting your home market ready
DO price your home according to market value
DON’T sell yourself short by making these common mistakes.
Stay savvy out there.