Don’t fall victim to these common seller mistakes.

If you’re gearing up to sell your home, be aware of these six home seller pitfalls: 

1. Picking the wrong agent. In 2010, the State of Washington officially renamed all real estate agents as brokers—a decision that, in my opinion, misled the public; someone who just obtained their real estate license last week was allowed to bear the same professional title as an agent who’s been in the industry for decades. This makes it all the more important that you ask each agent you interview how long they’ve been in the business and how many transactions they’re doing on a regular basis. The average broker only manages about five transactions a year (for perspective, we’re usually able to manage that many transactions every month). 

2. Overpricing your home. Today’s consumers are pretty savvy and have a lot of tools at their disposal. They can go online and figure out what any given home should be priced at. In today’s market, overpricing your home won’t even draw in lowball offers—buyers will simply discard your listing outright. Though you might think a few buyers would at least take a look at your home and submit some kind of offer on it, that expectation just doesn’t square with the reality of modern buyer behavior. 

3. Only considering the highest priced offer. The purchase and sale agreement is a 20-page document with plenty of terms to consider, so you’ll need the help of your broker to interpret the strength of each offer you receive. Obsessing over price alone will cause you to neglect other key elements, like the buyer’s financing (e.g., earnest money, down payment, lender credibility). 

Is money your only priority? Perhaps you’re like the many other sellers we’ve worked with who needed time to find their next property and move. If so, the strongest offer may actually be one where the buyer agrees to an ample rent-back period and throws in two additional weeks rent-free. That’s exactly the offer that one of our sellers recently accepted, and it worked out well. 

“Unlike fine wine, real estate doesn’t get better the longer it stays on the shelf, so price correctly from the start.”

4. Not preparing your home for the market. I understand the temptation to leave things as they lie—we are in a hot seller’s market, right? Yes, there will be a lot of buyers walking you through your home, but they’ll also be seeing a ton of different homes. Yours needs to stand out; paint that wall, repair that tiny annoyance, and declutter that room. 

5. Not decluttering. The lesson from the previous point applies here, too. You’re moving anyway, so why not begin boxing up your belongings now? A clutter-free home helps buyers to better envision themselves living in that space. Your broker has seen countless homes, and they will be a fresh pair of eyes for yours; listen to their feedback. 

6. Getting too emotional.  Even in a hot seller’s market like ours, home sellers face plenty of uncertainty, which produces stress. Try to remember that, at the end of the day, your home sale is just a business transaction—the calmer you are, the better your outcome will be. If you’ve had four buyers tour your home in one day, don’t turn away the fifth and sixth; remember that that sixth buyer could very well be the perfect offer you’ve been looking for. 

Hopefully you found these words of caution enlightening. Don’t hesitate to reach out by phone or email if you want to have a more in-depth chat about your specific selling situation. Even if you just have a few general questions, I’m always more than happy to be of assistance!