Many areas in the United States are experiencing a Sellers Market; but even though home values are rebounding, seller mistakes can still scupper a deal. A seller’s market — where buyer demand outstrips supply, pushing up prices — gives sellers a false sense of security that can easily trip up sales. Watch out for these common pitfalls when listing your home for sale.
1. Pricing Too High
There are more home buyers than there are sellers in a sellers market. Under the basic rule of economics, short supply pushes up prices. Yet pricing is the most common way a homeowner can sabotage his efforts to sell. Around 80 percent of buyers look at listings online before they view a home and, if your price is unrealistic, it will stop buyers dead in their tracks. Remember, real estate is local; so local, in fact, that price trends in one neighborhood or even one street don’t reflect price trends in the next neighborhood or street. Relying on state or countywide data to set a sale price doesn’t represent your specific, highly-local market.
2. Selling Too Fast
If you’re relocating for work or need a quick divorce sale, you may be in a rush to sell a house. For everyone else, it’s worth taking a step back and seeing what can be done to maximize the value of your property. Ways to achieve the best possible price include sprucing up the property’s curb appeal, decluttering and professionally staging the home for sale.
3. Not Taking Your First Offer Seriously
In a seller’s market, it’s easy to think that better offers will come. Yet, 90 percent of the time, your first offer is your best offer. That’s because the buyer who makes the first offer loves your home and is highly motivated to buy. Holding out for a better offer is risky. Many times, the seller loses a good sale because he didn’t work with the first buyer. Six months down the line, the potential buyer has moved on and the seller ends up taking less than the first offer he received.
4. Not Being Show-Ready
If your home is priced right, chances are you’ll get multiple showing requests within days of listing. To get a sale, you have to make the home easy to show. This means agreeing to broker tours and open houses right out of the gate. Turning away potential buyers because your home’s not ready sends a message that you’re not serious about selling.
5. Trying to Time the Market
Property prices rise and fall. If these cycles were easy to predict, we’d all be millionaires. The housing market has improved remarkably over the last couple of years. However, that doesn’t mean the upward trend will continue. Home sellers who drag their feet may find the market moves against them. Plus, the extra mortgage costs, maintenance and other homeowner expenses you pay while holding onto a home could outweigh any short-term gains in home value.