Selling a home may seem like a simple task, one that only entails a ‘for sale’ sign, a few flyers, and possibly posting the home on Craigslist, but there is much more involved than meets the eye. Real estate agents help countless people buy and sell homes, attend many hours of education, and develop systems, all in an effort to guarantee successful, smooth, real estate transactions. Homeowners who decide to sell on their own usually make many mistakes, some of which they are unaware of, that can come back to haunt them. Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes made by the homeowner during a for-sale-by-owner listing:
One of the most critical mistakes often made during a for-sale-by-owner listing is that the home is priced out of alignment with the market value. Homeowners tend to view their property with emotional attachment, resulting in an escalated price because they include their personal experiences in the home as part of the value.
For example, a homeowner may personally paint a child’s bedroom with a fun mural, full of bright colors. The homeowner believes the mural has value because it special to the child, but in reality, the mural is not only a hindrance to attracting a buyer, it devalues the home in the buyer’s mind because all the buyer sees is the fact that they need to paint the room. Your decorative touches, no matter how much you love them or how much you paid for them, do not add value to the home.
Buyers are very demanding when looking at homes they are interested in, especially in the current market. They have a lot of homes to choose from, and the slightest problem with a home can cause them to move on to the next place of interest. For sale by owners often make the mistake that what appeals to them will also appeal to all buyers, such as the mural story above.
Simple things such as paint, flooring condition, cleanliness, well-lighted rooms, uncluttered walls, all play a part in impressing buyers. It is a good idea to actually hire a home staging expert to provide advice on how to best show the home. A staging professional will advise you about what changes can be made to not only attract, but keep buyers interested enough to make an offer on your home.
Old Fashioned Marketing
Over 80% of people who are looking to purchase a home, surf the internet to find the right property. Homeowners may not know how to properly market their home on the internet. Not only does a seller need to know all possible internet marketing avenues, but also must possess a very good understanding of the ins-and-outs of using all the search tools available.
If this sounds like a tall order, it is. There are hundreds if not thousands of for-sale-by-owner sites, as well as the popular auction sites, that are vying for the home seller’s listing. How do you know which is best? Where do you even begin to look? Without a strong background is real estate and marketing, along with a firm grasp on internet posting, your home may be lost in the shuffle and never be seen. With an uninformed eye on the internet, the for-sale-by-owner could be missing thousands of potential buyers.
One of the most frustrating, and costly, mistakes made during a for-sale-by-owner transaction is the lack of experience in managing the paperwork and communication that is necessary once an offer is received and accepted. Considering just the pages of the contract, there are dozens of documents to understand with numerous disclosures that must meet precise dates for signing and filing.
Aside from simply signing and accepting an offer, there are inspections to be scheduled, appraisers to meet, and unacceptable conditions that must be negotiated. If anything is missed, it could cause the contract to fall through, meaning that the home must go back on the market. Most homeowners are not expected to know all these details; that’s what real estate schooling and training is meant for.
Although it is possible for a homeowner to sell their own home, it is extremely difficult and time consuming. Homeowners are involved with only one, or maybe two or three, real estate transactions in their life, whereas a real estate a professional is involved with hundreds or thousands. Leaving such a large investment to the professionals is often in a homeowner’s best interest.