• Sheena Saydam

8 Mistakes Sellers Make When Selling Their Home in DC, Maryland or Virginia

Want to sell your DC, Maryland, or Virginia home for the best price in the least amount of time? Of course you do! Work with your real estate agent to avoid these 8 mistakes that sellers commonly make when  selling their home in DC, Maryland, or Virginia.

1. Your Home is Overpriced – Hands down, the number one mistake sellers make.

If you as a seller are serious about selling your home, you will not decide to price your home too high. By overpricing, you are actually preventing your home from selling. You're setting yourself up for missed opportunities with buyers who are serious about buying a home in the range that your home should be listed in. You're setting yourself up to lose thousands of dollars by chasing a market down after setting your listing price outside what the market is willing to bear. Your real estate agent knows what comparable homes in your area have sold for and will suggest a price to list your home for based on this information.

The largest amount of potential buyers will be exposed to the listing of your home during the first week in which it is listed. It is essential in the sale of your home that you work with your realtor to set a price that truly reflects the market at the very beginning.

2. Your Home is Not Easily Available for Showing

As the seller, each time you are unavailable preventing buyer from walking through your home and inspecting the property, you miss out on a possible sale of your home. Yes, listing your home for sale will be inconvenient at times and interfere with your routine, but serious buyers need to be allowed to walk through your home at their convenience.

As a buyer, seeing eight, ten or even twenty homes on a showing tour with an agent is not unusual. Are you willing to prevent a serious potential buyer from viewing your home by limiting the number of times a real estate agent may show your home? Think about it. If your house is only available to be shown on the weekend from 10 am to 5 pm, how many times will your home not be shown to a potential buyer Monday through Friday while that potential buyer is in town looking to move from somewhere out-of-state?

The more buyers are able to see your home in person, the more chances you have in finding the buyer for your home. Don’t be an unavailable seller and miss out on a possible sale of your home. Show yourself to be a motivated seller. Exercise flexibility in when you allow your home to be shown and you will have a positive and direct impact on the sale of your home.

3. Your Home is Cluttered

Your own “stuff” means a lot to you, but it means nothing to a buyer who is trying to visualize their own stuff in the house. During the time your home is on the market and being shown, it is important to allow potential buyers the opportunity to visualize their own things in the house by depersonalizing and removing clutter from the home.

Your real estate agent may share recommendations on how to remove clutter or depersonalize your home, like bringing in a professional home stager, for example. This is an excellent way to maximize space and create a setting that will provide a buyer the ability to visualize their own things in your home. Do not take these suggestions personally. They are given so that your house may put its best foot forward.

Real estate agents know that a strong odor of any kind can stop a potential buyer in their tracks. These strong odors can be last night’s broccoli or fish, your dog (just being a dog) or even worse, pet urine or smoking. Many a buyer has declined from considering the purchase of a home when confronted with an unpleasant odor and concluding, “This house is going to smell like this once we move in, I’m sure!”

Real estate broker Dick Greenburg with Elevations Real Estate, LLC in Fort Collins, Colorado, suggests, “Homes with bad odors do not sell because buyers are having intense and complex negative reactions that are beyond working around.” Most real estate agents will not be blunt. They may, however, try to take a gentle, tactical approach and say, “During the time your house is on the market, it might be a good idea to smoke outside,” or “Do not be afraid to open your windows to clear out the smell of last night’s dinner.”

Your agent may suggest a fresh coat of paint or new carpet because they realize that the smoke odor in your home will be a major turn off to potential buyers. Listen to your real estate agent. They want to help you sell your home.

4. You are Unwilling to Make Repairs Prior to Listing

“Spend a few thousand dollars for repairs on a house I am about to sell? NOT!” Your agent understands that no seller wants to do this, but they are also thinking from the buyer’s standpoint. Does the buyer want to move into a house that needs work done to it as soon as they move in? NOT!

As the seller of your home, your one of your objectives is to make your home as appealing as possible to as wide an audience as possible. If you are unwilling to make repairs, and a buyer does not want to move into a house that needs a bunch of repairs done to it when they move in, you have just made your pool of potential buyers smaller.

It makes the best sense to make any repairs yourself before putting your home on the market.

5. You are Unwilling to Negotiate with Buyers

Danger! Unwillingness to negotiate with buyers (and second guessing your original asking price) means finding a buyer is less likely to happen.

Your real estate agent will give you the range in which they believe your home will sell. You want to sell your home for the highest price the market will bear, and you should, but be prepared and willing to negotiate with your buyers. If you are not willing to negotiate, they may tell you, “Ciao.”

Buyers and sellers can negotiate on more than the price you decide to list your home on the market for. Dates, fixtures and appliances that will stay with the home and repairs are just a few things that can be negotiated on.

Understand that a buyer is looking to purchase a home for the best price and on the best terms. If a buyer wants to negotiate on the listing price of your home and offers a lower price, don’t be insulted. Walking away from negotiating the sale of a home and getting everything you want while the buyer gets everything they want, too, is rare. Be a motivated seller and be willing to negotiate.

6. Your Home is Messy

Clutter and messy are two different things.

Some buyers viewing your home while you are away at work or at an appointment may be able to look past dirty dishes stacked in the kitchen sink, but most won’t. Refer back to mistake number 3, “Your Home is Cluttered.” Remember, a buyer wants to be able to visualize their own things in the house, to connect with the home emotionally. Obstacles such as not thoroughly cleaning up after a meal and putting things away in the bathroom because you were running late for work create a harder time for the buyer to do this.

Take time every day, after every meal, after every “project,” to clean up and make your home viewer-friendly and in showing condition.

7. You Play Tour Guide During Showings

Almost every real estate agent will agree. Sellers need to be absent when their home is showing.

Hovering around to share all the important features of your home with a buyer makes them nervous. The buyer will not feel at ease to express their likes or dislikes about your home to the agent. They will not feel comfortable exploring your cabinets and closets, and an interested buyer wants to explore everything!

To put it nicely, you don’t know what is important to the buyer. The agent does. Let the agent work their magic without you. Leave the house and let the agent seal the deal.

8. Picking the Wrong Agent

Take a good look at the amount of experience an agent has and what they do to market a home. Listing with the first agent you speak to isn’t necessarily a good idea because you want to make sure they know your market and are able to get your home sold in the time frame you need it sold in. As an expert in the Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia real estate markets I am experienced in getting homes sold for the right price and in the best possible time for over 10 years! Give me a call so we can discuss what we need to get your home sold too!