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The 5 Biggest Seller Mistakes

By CENTURY 21 on August 4th, 2014

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Learn from experience — someone else’s! Avoid these classic slip-ups to net a sale in record time.

Selling a house is an emotional experience. A veteran real estate agent like Ann Weaver has to be able to balance a seller’s sentimental attachment with her own understanding that, in the long run, a quick sale at the right price is what benefits all parties.

Ann has been selling houses in the Dallas area for 15 years. She knows what it takes for sellers to walk away from a closing with the most money in their pocket. “The house must be priced right. It should be clean, freshly painted and nice smelling,” she advises.

She also knows it’s important to have the house in tip-top shape when it first hits the market—the time when homes get the most attention from potential buyers. Combine that with sellers who are highly motivated and “you have all of the ingredients for a fast sale at a good price.”

Here are the biggest mistakes and misunderstandings Ann confronts regularly when working with sellers:

1. Overpricing: Sellers often think—or at least hope—that their house is worth more than the local market dictates. To attract the maximum number of potential buyers, Ann suggests setting a price that is competitive with comparable houses on the market.

2. Poor Condition: “Price and condition are married,” Ann says. “If your house is in top condition, you can ask top price.” When it isn’t, “I tell the sellers that it is time to stop neglecting their ‘honey-do’ list.” Paint the walls with neutral, not bold, colors, she advises.

3. Weak Motivation: Sometimes homeowners tell Ann, “We just want to put a ‘for sale’ sign out and see if we can get a high price.” She cautions against this approach. “People will be walking through your house week after week, but if it’s priced too high they won’t be making offers.” In the end, sellers may wind up receiving less money than they should have.

4. Limiting Access: Selling a house can be a nuisance. You have to be willing to get your life out of the way. For best results, be prepared to show the house between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. 7 days a week, and make sure it is always clean and fresh.

5. Understanding Marketing: As buying and selling environments continue to change, marketing your home in innovative ways is key. The internet is the number one tool for attracting today’s homebuyers. Your agent should aggressively market your house online and know how to deal with online shoppers.

Ann W­eaver, The Bill and Ann Team, CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, Cedar Hill, Texas