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Top 10 Seller Mistakes & How You Can Avoid Them

Michelle Stecklein

Property Manager of the Year in 2012 & 2017 Michelle's customer service, attention to detail and service after the sale are personality traits she...

Property Manager of the Year in 2012 & 2017 Michelle's customer service, attention to detail and service after the sale are personality traits she...

Jan 24 8 minutes read

The residential real estate market is beginning to shift more towards a buyer's market which means it is going to get harder for sellers to sell their home. In a buyer's market, more and more homes for sale come off of the market unsold. There are many aspects that go into the sale of the home, and we've narrowed down the top 10 mistakes to avoid when trying to sell your home.

10. Not Looking At The Home Through A Buyer's Eyes

To get a list price for a home, some sellers and agents look at one of the many automated home value sites, average them out, and get a list price for the home. 

The major issue with that is they are very inconsistent. Zillow and similar sites will either estimate too high or too low, and on rare occasion, just right. With these inconsistencies, it's hard to trust that estimate. A prime example - Zillow's CEO, Spencer Rascoff, sold his home for 40% less than Zillow's estimate. Zillow and these other similar sites don't take a lot of important information into factor.

Motivated buyer's are looking at the market and inventory daily. They know exactly what homes are selling for and what properties are for sale. As the seller and listing agent, it is imperative to know what the current competition is. Your agent should pull a CMA (comparative market analysis) and know what direction the market is heading. The best thing to do as a seller is to interview agents and find one that is aware of all these factors. 

9. Inaccessibility To View A Home

Realtors and buyers have more choices of homes to view because inventory is increasing each month.

If an agent has multiple houses to show to their buyer in a day and yours is not available to be seen with the others, the chances of that agent coming back on a different day just to see your home is very unlikely.

As a seller, you should do what you can to make your home show ready at all time by making a plan that allows the home to be viewed with very little notice. This will greatly increase the chances of your home selling more quickly.

If there is no lockbox, you can give the realtor a key to your home so they can show the home when no one is at the house.

8. Not Using Professional Videography & Photography

You only have one shot to make a great first impression. This means hiring a professional, or the use of professional tools for videography and photography.

Many agents resort to the cheaper option of taking photos and videos on their phone which will lead to a negative first impression.

The solution here is simple - find an agent who will spend the money! Interview agents to find one who knows the necessity of having professional photos and videos. This will always help get your home sold faster.

7. Not Having The Right Network of Buyers & Agents in Your Area

One of the worst things an agent can do is email blast every client and realtor every listing they have for sale. It sounds like a good idea, but here is why it's not.

There is normally a large amount of people on an email list that aren't interest in the email. There are many reasons for this including that they live in a different area or they're uninterested in the topic. When people keep receiving emails from a sender they're uninterested in, they will ignore future emails - even ones they may be interested in. That sender can also be blacklisted if enough reports of spam are sent in.

You will want an agent that categorizes the recipients that receive an email. This will maximize the potential of the email to be opened and responded to. If the agent has a listing in Kansas City, it wouldn't make sense for them to send an email to an agent in St. Louis. 

6. Not Hiring An Agent

A major mistake is hiring a family member or friend WITHOUT interviewing other agents. Just like in any other business, you want the most qualified person to do the job.

Traditional marketing such as putting up a For Sale sign, entering the home in MLS, ineffectively marketing the home on websites and social media, holding an open house, and making a brochure is being done by 90% of all real estate agents. Don't you want your listing agent to make your home stand out?

As the seller, it is important to interview agents until you find one that is proven to have a successful marketing plan. It is also important that they have testimonials from satisfied clients.

See our proven marketing plan here and our testimonials here.

5. Not Staging Your Home For Photos

Many agents will speed up the listing process to get the home online because they're worried about the average days their listing is on the market.

At this point, the home is not ready for photos, much less to be shown. Like we mentioned earlier, the seller only has ONE first impression to buyers. These buyers may have many choices, so your home needs to make a lasting first impression.

Make sure your agents priority is getting the home staged, not rushing to get your home on the market . This means the home is decluttered, cleaned, and personal/family photos are removed.


4. Assuming Your Agent Knows How To Market On Social Media

There is a very small percentage of agents who know how to effectively market on social media, and in today's world of technology and social media, this is an extremely important skill.

A big mistake many agents make is putting too much information online. A potential buyer has no motivation or reason to get more information about the listing from the agent/seller.

Interview agents until one proves they know what they are talking about when it comes to marketing on social media. He/she will know exactly what to do to get the most qualified buyers interested in your home. This means the chance of getting your home sold is much greater!

3. Not Doing Research Before Listing Your Home

Chances are that agents and FSBO (for sale by owner) sellers do not check to see if there are any legal issues with/on the property such as permits, violations or liens. 

You don't want to be a week away from closing and find this out, especially if you have already paid a moving company. This would be a huge loss of money and a major headache. 

The best way to go about this is to either have your attorney or agent guide you in researching your home before listing it. They will be more than helpful.

2. Error In Pricing

One of the biggest mistakes is listing a home that has 9's instead of whole numbers. For example, listing a home at $299,990 instead of $300,000. Price bands on many real estate websites and apps end in whole numbers.

Zillow's price bands are $250,000 to $300,000 and $300,000 to $350,000. None of the buyers searching for a home in the $300,000 to $350,000 range would see a home listed for $299,990, even though it's only a $10 difference.

You will reach more potential buyers by pricing your home that ends in whole numbers.

1. Incorrect Photo Order

The average attention span for a person is 8 seconds, according to a 2015 Microsoft study.

To keep a potential buyers attention, the best photo needs to be first in order to get them to click onto the next ones. A huge mistake, however, is that many agents and FSBO sellers put the front of the home as the first photo. It's almost guaranteed that the home's best photo is NOT the exterior.

Use the homes best photos (at least 5) as the first photos. Many people who have seen the first 5 photos will continue to look through the other photos of the home.

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