10 Most Costly Mistakes When Selling Property
This piece is intended to help you avoid making some of the most common mistakes that sellers make when preparing to sell their home. Keep it somewhere handy until you’re considering selling, then bring it out and have a read so that you’re ready and armed with awareness of some of the pitfalls that could possibly cost you thousands of dollars.
Mistake #1 – Not Preparing Your Home For Sale
No matter what market you’re in, it is absolutely essential to make sure your property is looking as good as it possibly can before being viewed by potential buyers. Bad presentation will mean a far lower selling price because buyers will not see as much value in the home. This includes such things as a possible repaint of certain areas, de-cluttering, small maintenance jobs, cleaning windows and surfaces and creating as much space and light as possible in the home.
Mistake #2 – Choosing The Agent With The Highest Quote
Time after time we see sellers employ an agent because that agent has told them that their property is worth far more than all the evidence indicates. In our industry this is called ‘Buying the listing’ and it hurts to watch how many sellers fall for this trap. We constantly see homes selling for way under their market price, because they started too high and the property went stale. Always make sure your agent can totally justify their price by showing you solid evidence of sales and listings of comparable properties and make sure that whatever price you put on your property, it is the best property available at that price. If you suspect that an agent is buying your business, move on to another agent or give them a two week listing to prove their worth, but be aware that this can cost you both time and money.
Mistake #3 – Choosing The Cheapest Agent
Be very careful of agents who will offer a low commission as this is an indication that they know they have nothing unique to offer you and therefore can only compete on price. It may also mean that they’re not all that busy, and the last thing you want is an agent that is not busy, as there’s probably a reason why they don’t have a lot of business! Busy agents have more buyers, do more appointments, meet more people and have many more opportunities to find a buyer for your property than the ones who are not particularly active. You are far better off to pay a higher fee for expert service, exceptional negotiation skills, excellent marketing, high level admin support and exposure to a higher number of prospective buyers.
Mistake #4 – Working Against Your Agent
Once you have chosen an agent that you trust (and please, don’t hire one that you don’t!) then let them utilise their expertise without interference. Place your confidence in their ability, and work with them to get the best price possible by following any suggestions or advice they may offer.
Mistake #5 – No Record of Buyers
Many agents do not keep records of prospective buyers, despite being in constant contact with them – that’s crazy! This is the ‘pot of gold’ for selling property and the very best way of getting a successful sale for your property quickly. Ask your agent (before listing) how many buyers they can immediately expose your property to, and ask them for evidence of this. All agents can say they have buyers, but they could have 2 or 2000, so get them to explain better how they accumulate and communicate with their buyers.
Mistake #6 – Limiting Your Property Advertising
To get a top result you need to give yourself every advantage possible to reach your prospective buyers, so limiting your marketplace is a big mistake – you need to let everyone know your property is for sale. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Where you advertise is important – we believe in directing the majority of your funds towards local advertising, as this is usually where your buyer will come from.
Mistake #7 – “Selling Off Market”
Whereby this may appear an attractive alternative to the ‘full on’ selling technique, just be aware that you are very probably not going to achieve your best price with this method. The old Quiet listing will generally benefit the buyer more than the seller. Without the commitment, effort and chance of competing offers, your result will almost certainly
Mistake #8 – To Do Or Not To Do An Auction
Do not be talked into an auction unless your property is so unique, so hard to price or so irresistible that you will have people falling over themselves to buy it. Auctions are not popular in Western Australia and in uncertain markets especially. It restricts your market to cash buyers only, and people tend not to trust the auction process here in the West. Auctions are popular in the eastern states only because there is a cooling off period over there for sales by private treaty. Not the case in WA.
Mistake #9 – Selling With a Tenant…
Now we know it’s not always possible to sell without tenants, but if it is – do it! Many sellers of investment properties want to keep the tenants in the property while they are selling so as not to lose out on the rental income, but they do not realise how much it will cost them in lost profit to keep them in there!
Mistake #10 – Ignoring Early Offers
The old adage still holds true – “Your first offer is usually your best offer”. So many times the seller receives an offer early when they are still brimming with confidence, and discards it with contempt only to have to take a lot less further down the track when interest has waned. The first couple of weeks when the property is new and fresh are when you are most likely to get your best offer, so bear this in mind and listen to advice from your agent as to how to handle this.