Seller Mistakes

Selling a house can be a roller coaster ride for any homeowner, but with professional representation, it can be a very rewarding - and profitable -- experience. This special report lists five mistakes sellers often make. Avoid these pitfalls, and you'll be ahead of the game.

1. Rushing on the price

Take your time when you're setting the asking price of your home. This is a crucial step that shouldn't be rushed. It's a tricky thing, and pricing too high is just as dangerous as pricing too low. Without the input of a professional, homeowners commonly either over-price or under-price their home. Setting the sale price of your home is best done in concert with a professional real estate agent.

The average buyer often looks at more than a dozen homes before making a decision. That means buyers have the advantage of comparison shopping. If your house isn't reasonably priced, you may lose that perfect sale. And if you've under-priced your home, it will sell very quickly but you'll walk away with less money than you deserve. Work with your agent to set the very best asking price.

2. Thinking first impressions don't matter

First impressions count in a big way! If you rush to put your house on the market before you've had a chance to spruce it up, you may lose a sale before a walk-through even begins. Ask your agent-who can see your home objectively, for suggestions to help create a favorable first impression.

Buyers can't help but respond to your home emotionally. If the house is messy or there's a strange smell coming from behind a closed door, the potential buyers will likely make a quick exit and go look at the next house on their list.

It may take some elbow grease on your part, but any effort you invest into preparing your home will pay off in the long run. These quick and simple steps will help you spruce up in no time.

On the outside:

And inside:

When buyers preview your home, they're more comfortable and will spend more time when you're not around. Showings are a good time to run those errands or walk the dog.

3. Keeping a low profile

It's a competitive market out there, and this isn't the time for you - or your real estate agent - to become a shrinking violet. You want someone who will shout your home's praises from the rooftops (figuratively, of course)! Select an agent who you're confident will take full advantage of all the marketing tools available-including cutting edge use of the Internet to find the right buyer for your home.

The majority of homebuyers start their search on the Internet. Is your agent taking advantage of that technology? Does your agent have a website? Can potential buyers easily find your home listed in a search and find feature? Once they do, is it easy to contact your associate for information? Does your associate list enough detailed information about your home? Buyers are often impatient and won't take kindly to waiting for an associate to call back with information. They want to access facts about your home quickly and easily - or they might move on.

4. Breezing through the contract

Don't make the mistake of taking the purchase and sales contract lightly. Protect yourself and go over it with a fine-tooth comb. It's important that all of the costs, terms and responsibilities are included. This is another area where your agent-who is intimately familiar with the purchase and sales contract-will be worth his or her weight in gold.

Have you disclosed everything about your home? Share all known defects with your buyer in writing. It will protect you if the buyer later becomes dissatisfied. Your agent will help you complete Form 17-the Seller's Disclosure Form to protect you.

5. Choosing the wrong associate

This is the time for you, the seller, to shop around. You'll spend a lot of time with the real estate agent you choose, so make sure he or she is someone you enjoy being around and can trust.

Ask lots of questions. Are your communication styles similar? Do your schedules mesh? Is there an easy way to contact the agent? Is he or she someone others have recommended? Does she know the local area and the housing market? Is the agent part of a team of professionals with a record of success?

Take your time and find a real estate agent you enjoy and trust.

Are you sure?

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