Top 5 Mistakes Homeowners Selling On Their Own Make:
- Pricing – some owners price low, just enough to satisfy their immediate net requirements, and if they ever choose to list with a broker they need to raise the price in order to still be within their expectations. Some overprice, usually after receiving disappointing news from someone in the industry, and after struggling at an unrealistic price point list with a broker and register a price drop. BOTH ARE BAD for the image of the property and both hurt value. As a seller you must know your comps, know your competition to be able to price appropriately. So please do your research, know your comps and price right.
- Visuals – let’s face it, real estate in order to sell must be a feast for the eyes, many real estate listing photographs look more like a third world jailhouse lunch. Owners selling on their own are often the worst offenders. So remember, good visuals are key, take good pictures or pay to have them professionally taken.
- NO BROKERS in the ads – real estate brokers come in all shapes, sizes and personality types, they talk to a lot of people regularly and some of them may very well be THE BUYER. Not to mention, a licensed broker is one of the few people that has been screened by the state not to have a criminal record. Also buyer brokers are often compensated by the buyers that they exclusively represent, or they may have a relative who may be looking. When you list a home for sale it should be open to everyone who calls, it’s up to you to decide what steps you want to take after you’ve established the callers intent, but answer every call, it’s part of the job (and yes marketing and selling a property is a job and you just signed up for it.)
- Qualifying – most owners don’t think to ask a lot of questions even if the perspective buyer is completely forthcoming with their information, which in most cases is not the case. Don’t just take “I am self employed” for an answer, they need to be self employed with income on books for at least 2 years and prove continuity of income to get financing or pass a board, “I am putting down 50%” great, but is the money in a verifiable seasoned account and will there be any reserves left? … People are highly guarded, and most sellers even feel uncomfortable asking private information. Having a solid qualification script is a minimum requirement for all sellers. Be sure to practice.
- Screening – when making an appointment with a perspective buyer it’s important to get some understanding of who they are. If properly qualified you have enough information about a stranger you will soon be coming in contact with to do some basic web searches to see if you find any information on the person or the company that employs them, or if they have a Facebook or a Linked in profile. If ever in doubt, ask them to show ID before letting them in. So, screen them as much as possible, and if in doubt don’t agree to the appointment.
So to sum it up: price right, take good photos, be friendly to everyone who calls, qualify well, and most importantly be safe.
Armen J. Meschian – Asoociate Broker at Exit Realty Landmark