Orson Hill Realty has published a ton of articles about the mistakes sellers make when selling and listing their home. We have touched on almost all these topics multiple times. Unfortunately I run into people every single day that continue to make the same mistakes over and over. Not sure if they are working with listing agents that are afraid to do their job or they just ignore the professional that does this all day everyday. Whatever the case sellers continue to make these mistakes. As a real estate broker the major part of my job is is telling people things they don’t want to hear. Hiring a real estate agent that is scared of losing a client and afraid to tell them the God’s honest truth. Like sorry Mr. Seller, I don’t care that the agent from XYZ Realty said your home is worth $1,300,000 i’m afraid your one bed one bath cabin without plumbing is only worth $275,000. It is like going to a doctor that tells you that you are sick and you ignore him and stop going to him because he told you the truth.
Kinda silly to go a professional if you are just going to ignore them anyways. Regardless of what a seller thinks, unless they do this every day they are not as knowledgeable about real estate as they think….BTW binge watching HGTV does not make you well versed in real estate. See I just told you the truth and some of you already don’t like me. That’s OK. My job is to what is best for you and tell you the truth even if it hurts. OK rant over now let’s talk about the mistakes I have been warning my clients about for years.
Pricing Your Home
Pricing your home is where we will start since it is the single biggest mistakes sellers will make while selling their home. It could also be the most costly and time consuming. It can’t be stressed hard enough or screamed loud enough when we say DO NOT USE ZESTIMATES TO PRICE YOUR HOME. Zillow is nothing more than a website used to grab your information and sell it to people like me. Agents bid on your information. That is why if you click the wrong button on their website you will be hounded by 30 agents until you change your number.
When pricing your home you need an agent that can find proper comps and actually understand how to adjust the comps properly to find the value of your home. This is why Zestimates are so off. Unless a representative from Zillow came to your home to compare to the neighbors home that just sold, they have no idea. Especially in most of Colorado as most homes are very different. Zillow might serve a purpose for homes in Florida where most of them are cookie cutter homes and a development of 3000 homes were all built at the same time with the same builder and same fixtures. Even then there are some major discrepancies in Zestimates. Sellers need to trust their agent when they give them the value of their home. Never go with the agent that says “I can sell your home for XX”. The agent has no control over what the market will pay you for your home. The market tells you what they are willing to pay for your home.
Do Not Set Showing Restrictions or Decline Showings
The next is huge and pretty much a no brainer but yet many sellers still set showing time restrictions or decline showing requests. This selling your home is a numbers game. At current time the average showings before offer in the Denver MLS is 18 showings before someone writes and offer. That means you need people through the door to sell your home. A seller needs to accept all showing requests quickly and not have “showing windows” like Monday and Wednesday 3-7. That time might not work for the buyer agent or the buyers. When that happens they may just remove your home for the list. Remember you think your home is the best one on the market…just to be blunt it most likely isn’t.
De-Clutter Your Space!
If you think you are done de-cluttering, then de- clutter some more. Be sure to remove as much personal items as possible. Sellers don’t want buyers getting distracted from the showing looking at your trip to Maui or your wedding photos. It is OK to box everything up and stack it neatly in the garage or unfinished storage room. Neatly though. The home needs to be packed up for the move anyways, why not start now? It makes the home so much more appealing and sellers will see a higher offer and less days on market. Also subconsciously buyers feel that a messy cluttered home is owned by people that might not have the pride in ownership and buyers may wonder what other deferred maintenance is in the home.
A Stinky House Doesn’t Sell!
One of the only reasons I have seen buyers walk in a home and turn completely around is smell. I’m a dog guy. People know dog smell can easily be mitigated. Hate to say it but cats can lower your home value faster than a double homicide in the master bedroom. A large amount of the population is very sensitive to cat odor. Those people will not buy a home that smell like a cat just peed on their leg. The other odor is a musty smell. The reason for that is it makes them think of one thing. The “M” word. It is hard for people to distinguish the smells. They also are not educated on the difference.
You Need to Negotiate
Yes everyone wants to win. No one wants to concede to another in negotiations. The seller needs to keep the long term goal in mind. The goal is to sell the home. I have seen, countless times, both parties dig in over the most trivial things. Just out of spite. Million dollar deals have tanked over $500 because both sides wanted a pointless win. If the seller could have just realized the real win was going to the closing table and get the million dollars and not refusing to pay for a new light fixture. That is is a loss in my book especially since that buyer was probably under contract on another home before your home even got back on the market. If this is during regular offer negotiations sellers now need to understand we are no longer in a strong seller’s market. We are drifting into a flat and possibly a buyer’s market. Negotiate! Give a little and take a little and remember your goal is to get to the finish line.
Sometimes You Just Need to Fix Things to Keep The Deal Together
A good buyer agent tells their buyers “you are not buying a brand new home” and the buyer should not expect that. With that being said the second most important negotiations are the inspection objection. A buyer shouldn’t ask the seller to replace all the light bulbs but a seller should fix a broken water heater. As a seller if you don’t reach a decision and the contract terminates, keep in mind your listing history shows the contract terminated 2 weeks in… about the same time 99% of inspection objections are set as a deadline. Meaning buyers think there is something major wrong with the home. Also if the inspection item was big enough to be considered a material fact you now need to disclose that to potential buyers.
Why I Was So Blunt in This Article
As I said it is my job as real estate broker to tell your the truth even if you fire me for it or never hire me. Too many agents tell the seller what they want to hear knowing very well it is not in the best interest of the seller to so. That is why so many people think little of real estate agents. I will never lie to a client to make them hire me. I feel better not getting a listing because I refused to tell them their home is worth more than it is. Your home is your biggest investment and I would never BS you about that. I will always tell you the cold hard truth.
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