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Mine Fields to Avoid When Selling Your Home

By Eleanor Boschert

You hear about all the things you need to do to help sell your house. But, there also are things you shouldn't do that could sabotage or delay a sale, costing you time, money, and heartache. Be smart and avoid these common mistakes before, during, and after putting your home for sale on the market.

Pricing Your Home Out of the Market

The market rules here. Don't get caught up in pricing your home where you think it should sell. Your local housing market and your real estate agent will guide you in determining the right number. A good agent will present a pricing strategy based on what comparable homes are selling for in your neighborhood, how the current market looks overall, as well as the condition and appeal of your home.

Not Enough or Not the Right Marketing

Marketing isn't just local anymore. While word-of-mouth and networking are important sales tools, you will need to go bigger. Consider all the social media outlets. Make sure your agent lists your home correctly in MLS (Multiple Listing Service.) Consider hiring a professional real estate photographer to take high-resolution photos that showcase the finer points of your home. A sign out front no longer is enough to market your home. You need to reach as many buyers as possible through many different channels.

Not Hiring the Right Real Estate Agent

It's a major financial transaction, so don't you think you should be smart and hire someone who is savvy, knowledgeable, and experienced to handle it? As tempting as it may be to enlist a friend to sell your home, you are better off going with an agent with a proven track record who knows the market and can price competitively. Also, choose an agent you trust will advise you and negotiate effectively on your behalf.

Putting It On the Market Before It's Ready

Unless you have to, don't even think about putting your home on the market without fixing it up. Presentation is everything and you want to make a good first impression with buyers. Your agent can point out what needs to be fixed or replaced. Then do it. Things as simple as a thorough cleaning, staging, and fresh paint can really make your home stand out. Furthermore, always tell the truth about problems with the home. They'll surface during the inspection anyway and you could lose valuable time and money trying to rectify them too late in the selling process.

Adding on Too Much

Don't decide to do outrageous renovations or changes before putting your home on the market. You want to stand out to buyers for the right reasons, not because you've overdone it with your own brand of style. Tastes are different, so keep it simple, clean, and functional. In doing too many grand home improvements you could also inadvertently price yourself out of your neighborhood and the market.

Letting Emotions Rule

Whether it's your ego or your heartstrings, take the emotion out of a home selling transaction. Selling the place you've called home can be emotionally distressing, but you will need to look at it from a financial perspective. It becomes a commodity in a business transaction. Try to be out of your home during open houses and showings. This avoids placing additional stress on yourself or a potential buyer.

You should also de-clutter and clear out as much of your personal effects as possible. Not only will it look better and roomier, it will clear the space for potential buyers to envision living in it with their personal things and lifestyle.

Don't be stupid, and be flexible. Make it easy for your agent to show your home. The more people who see it the better. Also, don't be inflexible when negotiating timeframes, items with the home, or little details during the selling process. You'd be surprised what could cost you the sale in the end.

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