How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Sellers Make – Part 2

Following on from our last blog instalment, we take a look at more of the most common mistakes made by sellers when the time comes to sell their own home…

Emotional Selling

Hopefully, the vendor loves their home. Memories have been made there; occupants have put love and attention into the house. Pride in one’s space is important, yet it is also important to not be blind to a house’s cosmetic flaws and the fact that what appeals to one will not necessarily appeal to another. A vendor should not allow themselves to be too emotional about the sale; haggling on the part of the seller can lose a sale over what are ultimately insignificant monetary amounts, and emotional involvement can stop vendors seeling the bigger picture.

Failure of Full Disclosure

There are laws governing full disclosure on property. As a vendor, you should have your own inspections carried out prior to listing your property on the market. Building flaws, termite infestations, etc are all significant issues which the vendor must disclose to potential buyers: failure to do so, or an attempt to conceal, can not only result in a failure to sell, but may lead to legal action against the vendor.

Unrealistic Pricing

Sellers need to make themselves aware of the current market and trends prior to listing their home for sale. A home priced too highly will fail to sell. A home priced too low will sell incredibly fast (unless potential buyers wonder what the catch is) and the vendor can cheat themselves out of a significant amount of money for their home. The true value of a home needs to be evaluated without emotional considerations: while it can be hard to learn that one’s home isn’t worth what one had believed, a property is only worth what one is willing to pay.

Being Inflexible or Adversarial

Any vendor should be willing to enter negotiations with a positive attitude. If someone makes an offer that is low, the vendor should never take this personally – the sale of property is purely a business transaction and should be viewed as such. The seller should be prepared with a counteroffer; most serious buyers will come in with a second offer more in line with what they are truly willing to pay. Additionally, be clear at the outset on what is included in the home. For example, the vendor may wish to take the dishwasher with them when they vacate; if the buyer wants the dishwasher left behind and included in the sale, is it really worth losing the sale for that?

Too Long on the Market

A property stalling on the market for a long time can become stigmatised. Overpricing, poor showing, etc can be reasons for this initially, but after awhile, everyone who might wish to view the property has done so. In this circumstance, it is better to remove the listing for a while and re-list it to give it a fresh opportunity to sell at the new asking price and with any cosmetic amendments made.
Next time we will conclude this series with Part 3 on the most common mistakes vendors make when selling their own homes.

How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Sellers Make – Part 1

There are some common errors in judgement which can be made by a vendor wishing to sell their home, and which can be detrimental to the ultimate sale of the property. While many real estate agents will place “Not Using an Agent” at the top of the list of these potential errors, this need in no way be the case. As long as the vendor goes into the process with the knowledge required and realistic expectations of how the process of selling will unfold, there is no reason why a property can’t be sold for a premium and in a timely fashion without the added expense of agent commissions. So below is a guideline of things for a vendor to avoid when selling their property, in no particular order:

Limiting Accessibility of Buyers

It is said that the most crucial time for a new property listing is the first two to three weeks; a vendor needs to expect to be, during this time and during the marketing process, at the buyer’s mercy. The home needs to be available for viewing at the convenience of the buyer, not the seller – which will have an impact on the current occupants of the home, but “them’s the brakes”. A home too long on the market can become stigmatised and if a vendor wants to sell, they need to be flexible on allowing access of potential buyers to the property.

Unwillingness to Spend a Little

This should be common sense, unless you are marketing your property as a “fixer” and pricing it to suit. Repair anything that is broken, shabby or unsightly. Present the home as you would wish to have it if you were buying.

Over-capitalising

While not repairing broken fixtures and spiffing the house up to be presentable will lose potential buyers, spending too much on unnecessary improvements will not equate to a relative increase in sale price. While the place may need new carpets, a coat of paint, or a new roof, only undertake other big investments if they are really necessary. Otherwise it may be money leaving your pocket and with no real possibility of recouping it at sale.

Panic Selling

Most vendors wish to sell quickly. It’s not a great idea, however, to appear desperate to buyers – they will not only expect they can get the property at “bargain” prices, they may wonder what is wrong with the property that the owner wishes to offload it so quickly. Knowing the market value of the property and having a realistic expectation of the time it will take to sell in the current market are important considerations which should be anticipated before placing the house up for sale.
Next time we will cover part 2 of this article, and the other common mistakes vendors make when selling their own homes.

Present You Home at its Best!

Selling your home can be an emotional experience. Whether it is a house which has been occupied by your family for generations, or a starter unit you’ve lived in for only a short time, we all tend to invest time and energy into personalising our spaces and making them truly our own. There can be a lot of sentimentality felt for our homes and the memories made there – no matter how exciting the prospect of moving might be.

What every seller need to realise, however, is that nobody is going to love your home as much as you do. Buyers need to be able to see your house as potentially their home; this is the only way others will fall in love with your house – by being able to see themselves there making their own memories, without a trace of prior occupation.

It’s not always easy to make a house that is still being lived in look like it’s unoccupied, but this should, as much as possible, be the aim of anyone trying to sell their home. There are some things a vendor can do, quite easily, to help to sufficiently depersonalise their home enough to attract the right buyer.

The old adage “first impressions don’t lie” could not be more applicable than when showcasing a property. The first viewing of a house it what will stay with a buyer; and the senses all come into play – sights, sounds, smells and there general vibe of a house. While a vendor has no control of factors such as weather or noise from the neighbourhood, sights and smells can certainly be used to best advantage.

OUTSIDE

The first thing anyone sees is the outside of a house. If this isn’t pleasing to the eye, it makes no difference how wonderful the inside of a house might be. Go out to the street and look at your house with a fresh eye. Anything stand out as needing attention? Take note of the following points to make sure your home gives its best first impression:

Retouch shabby paintwork
Clean all windows – inside and out
Mow lawns and sweep paths
Tidy and weed garden beds
Clear gutters of leaf litter
Place bins out of sight of front of property and clear away rubbish
Make sure rear yard is tidy and attractive as well

INSIDE

You will want the inside of your home to be on show: your house, not your possessions and personal touches. Before you place your home on the market is the time to clear away as much of the daily clutter of life and, like on the outside, take a fresh look at your house room by room and try to see it with new eyes. These tips can help enormously:

Have a big clean up – get rid of anything you’re not intending to take with you when you move
Retouch any shabby paintwork and undertake necessary repairs
Declutter as much as possible .
Put away knick-knacks and personal/valuable items .
Send your pets to stay with family/friends or have them boarded
Have carpets professionally cleaned
Dust all furniture
Tidy cupboards – especially in the kitchen, bathroom, and linen closets
Give the kitchen and bathrooms a thorough clean
Air the house well to help eliminate cigarette, cooking, animal and other household smells. Overuse of air fresheners will just highlight that something smelly was there in the first place! Every house has its own smell – though we can never smell our own – and unpleasant odours can be the kiss of death on a potential sale
Make sure all lights are working, replace globes if necessary.
Empty the house of as many occupants as possible when showing it – so the home, not the residents, are the focus.

These tips will ensure you’re best placed to have a successful result – happy selling!

How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Sellers Make – Part 1

There are some common errors in judgement which can be made by a vendor wishing to sell their home, and which can be detrimental to the ultimate sale of the property. While many real estate agents will place “Not Using an Agent” at the top of the list of these potential errors, this need in no way be the case. As long as the vendor goes into the process with the knowledge required and realistic expectations of how the process of selling will unfold, there is no reason why a property can’t be sold for a premium and in a timely fashion without the added expense of agent commissions. So below is a guideline of things for a vendor to avoid when selling their property, in no particular order:

Limiting Accessibility of Buyers

It is said that the most crucial time for a new property listing is the first two to three weeks; a vendor needs to expect to be, during this time and during the marketing process, at the buyer’s mercy. The home needs to be available for viewing at the convenience of the buyer, not the seller – which will have an impact on the current occupants of the home, but “them’s the brakes”. A home too long on the market can become stigmatised and if a vendor wants to sell, they need to be flexible on allowing access of potential buyers to the property.

Unwillingness to Spend a Little

This should be common sense, unless you are marketing your property as a “fixer” and pricing it to suit. Repair anything that is broken, shabby or unsightly. Present the home as you would wish to have it if you were buying.

Over-capitalising

While not repairing broken fixtures and spiffing the house up to be presentable will lose potential buyers, spending too much on unnecessary improvements will not equate to a relative increase in sale price. While the place may need new carpets, a coat of paint, or a new roof, only undertake other big investments if they are really necessary. Otherwise it may be money leaving your pocket and with no real possibility of recouping it at sale.

Panic Selling

Most vendors wish to sell quickly. It’s not a great idea, however, to appear desperate to buyers – they will not only expect they can get the property at “bargain” prices, they may wonder what is wrong with the property that the owner wishes to offload it so quickly. Knowing the market value of the property and having a realistic expectation of the time it will take to sell in the current market are important considerations which should be anticipated before placing the house up for sale.

Next time we will cover part 2 of this article, and the other common mistakes vendors make when selling their own homes.

Selling your own home – What you need to know

Most people, when faced with the prospect of placing their home on the market, will not consider doing so without using the services of a real estate agent. Using an agent to take care of the nitty-gritty of selling a property does have its advantages, yet it also has some drawbacks – large commission costs not least of these.

Experts have suggested that as many as one property in four is sold privately by the owner, without ever requiring an agent. While it takes time and effort, and a little knowledge gained prior, the choice to sell without an agent is not as difficult as agents would have you believe.

There are a number of steps which should be followed to have success in selling your own home on a private basis:

· Prepare Your Home for Sale

First impressions count, so ensure your property is up to the task. Declutter the rooms, make sure there are not too many very personal items on show (eg photographs, kids artwork etc), and clean up the yard. Make sure carpets are clean and paint is not peeling. If you have indoor pets, consider boarding them elsewhere while your home is on the market. Walk through the house and try to see it through an inspector’s eyes. Also, be prepared to discuss the best features of your property as selling points.

· Set a Realistic Price

Pricing is often the first thing which potential buyers base their inspections on, so appropriate pricing is of paramount importance. Look around your neighbourhood for comparable homes for sale and use these as a guide, or enlist the services of a professional appraiser. Once you settle on a price, be prepared to re-evaluate if necessary.

· Show Your Home

Have a plan for when interested parties call to view your property. For all calls, take down their name, contact phone number, and set a mutually convenient appointment time. Make sure confidential and valuable items are put away out of sight, so the viewers can look around without being shadowed. Be available to answer questions, while giving them time and space. Try to keep numbers to a minimum at a time. It’s a great idea to have close at hand receipts or information regarding renovations, repairs, heating costs, etc, in case prospective buyers enquire as to these details.

· Negotiation

Be prepared in advance with a conveyancer or real estate lawyer ready to assist you in closing the sale. All legitimate offers should be considered, before you accept, reject, or counter it. Try not to take offers personally if they are lower than you wish; only counter an offer if you believe the buyer is willing to negotiate.

· Making an Agreement

Once an agreement has been reached, exchange names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers of solicitors or conveyancers involved on behalf of all parties. The buyer should have their solicitor draft details of purchase/sale agreement and have these sent to your own solicitor. This puts the onus on the buyer to prove their intention to buy is serious. The respective solicitors will review the agreement to mutual satisfaction.

· Close of Sale

The seller and buyer must agree on a closing date; this is when purchase price is paid and deed to property and keys are handed over to the buyer. This date must allow time for conditions to be met, and legal searches etc to be completed by solicitors. The closing date is the date by which the seller must have fully vacated the property.

Last but not least…

· Celebrate!

Selling your own home is an exciting time and, in doing so without agency commissions, you will have saved a significant amount of money. So treat yourself a little!