Six Common Selling Mistakes

Ryan Coffey
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Small PicSelling your home? Don’t let avoidable mistakes cut into your profits. Most people don’t sell homes for a living. The right Realtor is a vital piece in the selling puzzle but ultimately it’s your home and your profit or your loss. Don’t let these common Sellers mistakes diminish your profits.

This post is one of many in this blog’s category of tips for Selling so read on for more info if you wish.


Mistake #1: Overpricing

Every Seller obviously wants to get the most money for his or her home. Ironically, the best way to do this is not to list your home at an excessively high price. A high listing price will cause many prospective Buyers (and their Realtors) to lose interest before even seeing your property. Also, it may lead other Buyers to expect more than what you have to offer. As a result, overpriced properties tend to take an unusually long time to sell, and they end up being sold at a lower price than they would have if they were priced accurately in the beginning. Believe it or not, it is more dangerous to your bottom line to overprice than it is to slightly underprice as the latter garners lots of interest and if played right is likely to result in multiple offers (usually driving the price up) or at least a solid offer within a short time frame. You won’t have to dig far into this blog to find more on this. It is so important and so common that I feel the need to bring it up again and again.

Mistake #2: Mistaking Tax Assessments as an Accurate Measurement of Market Value

Tax assessments are basically fiction when it comes to pricing your home. More on that in this post.Your best bet is to ask your Realtor for an estimate  the most recent information regarding property sales in your area. This will give you an up-to-date and factually accurate estimate of your property value.

Mistake #3: Failing to “Showcase”

In spite of how frequently this mistake is addressed and how simple it is to avoid, its prevalence is still widespread. When attempting to sell your home to prospective buyers, do not forget to make your home look as pleasant as possible. Make necessary repairs. Clean. Make sure everything functions and looks presentable, well lit and some fresh paint in the right spots doesn’t hurt. When showing time comes, leave the lights on, drapes open and give them as much of a sense of space as possible. A poorly kept home in need of repairs will surely lower the selling price of your property and will even turn away some buyers.

I know that this isn’t that easy since you look at your home every day and breath the air in it. You may have looked at the same stain on the wall for so many years and smelled the same pet odours so many thousands of times that you simply can’t tell it’s there. That’s part of my job as a Realtor, helping you see those things that may turn Buyers off and helping you identify which ones are most likely to be the bigger issue. There is always the concern of offending you with the news so I will say it diplomatically, but it must be done for all of our benefit.

Mistake #4: Being Home for Showings

Buying a house is always an emotional and difficult decision. As a result, you should try to allow prospective buyers to comfortably examine your property.  Following the principles of physical space as mentioned in number 3 and in this recent post creates physical space. Emotional space is equally important and letting them look around with as much of a sense of peace as possible is imp0rtant.  It’s not in your best interests as a Seller to stick around and give Buyers tours or actively sell it to them.  You want them to be able to envision it as their home. You being there trying to sell just prevents them from relaxing while they look around.

It’s not just about relaxing though. There are many pieces of information that they may want to know about.  Some are good to share, some are not really a good idea to share, some absolutely must be shared and others are just a plain bad idea to share. Knowing the difference between those and how to properly present them is something best left to the pros. You may end up costing yourself money without even knowing it. As a Seller you’re paying big money for your Realtor if the sale is successful. There is a long list of knowledge and services that falls under that umbrella, and during the showings stage the main thing is keeping the home looking great and make it easy to show.

Mistake #5: Not understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

It is extremely important that you are well-informed of the details in your real estate contract(s). Real estate contracts are legally binding documents, and they can often be complex and confusing. You won’t look silly to me as a Realtor if you ask me questions about them.  I’m not the one making decisions, you are. I am, however, the one who helps you make your decisions informed decisions. In order to make sure we are on the same page communication is key.

Mistake #6: Getting Discount Service, or No Professional Service at All

I could give you a fairly long list of all the websites my listings are displayed on, the things that are standard practice for a full service Realtor like myself and the extra little things I add typically add/do to make a property stand out and ultimately sell for a better price. There are however cheaper options out there that claim to give you the same result because they get your property advertised on the MLS but they simply don’t compare. You get what you pay for in real estate too. There’s more to listing and selling than just getting photos and a description online. Although being included on the MLS is a crucial part of marketing your home properly, it is only a part of the larger picture. Again, I could go on at length, but I will mention a detail or two to give the skeptical something to chew on.

With the discount or list it yourself systems I have generally found that the act of just making an appointment to show a property is more time consuming and cumbersome. While working with the Buyer us Realtors often don’t make enough commission off the sale of a discount brokerage to break even for the month let alone pay our bills. The information provided is often entered directly by the Seller who doesn’t know the ins and outs of how to enter property info into a listing or what the legal requirements for each item is. Getting questions answered by a professional is important for our confidence in the reliabilty of answers. Some of these systems allow Sellers to answer questions themselves which means that they are likely to not necessarily know an answer to something crucial. If they give the wrong answer (on purpose or not), they could easily put themselves in legal hot water or at least kill a deal unecessarily.  It’s important for Buyers to know what they are getting into lest there be big bad surprises later which may take the form of lawsuits. On the other hand, there is the one Buyer’s advantage in this situation where a Realtor like me, who is working for the Buyer can use the Seller’s ignorance against them and get info that will the Buyers an advantage in negotiations without the Seller necessarily knowing it because they are not tuned into the negotiations game. To prevent this Sellers often clam up altogether which isn’t good either…. I’ll stop myself there and not labour the point any further.

For further reading on mistakes Sellers commonly make I refer you to a short story I wrote about a fictitious couple who made many of the mistakes I commonly see. I called it “The House That Wouldn’t Sell”


Ryan Coffey