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5 Common Selling Missteps That Every Agent Should Know

by James F. McClister

Selling a house can be a cumbersome process, but if the appropriate steps aren’t taken and details considered, sellers and agents alike could be losing out on thousands.

It was only a few years ago that buying a house seemed impossible, but despite a slow first quarter, metro areas nationwide are slowly balancing themselves out, which is coaxing more buyers back onto the market.

Not only are we in the throes of summer, where sales tend to pick up, but also home prices are steadily increasing and interest rates remain at historically low levels, according to Forbes. However, if a client is considering listing their property, agents should be wary of these some common selling mistakes in order to maximize the property’s value:

5. Check all egos at the door – Everybody wants to get what they think their property is worth, but the exact figure will always be relative to the conditions of the national and, more importantly, local markets. It’s the agent’s responsibility to manage those personalities and expectations, and remind sellers that it’s not personal, it’s business.

4. Don’t be a hoarder or a ghost – When a buyer goes to a showing, unless they’re an investor, it’s a safe bet that they’re looking at the property through the lens of a future homeowner. They want to see what the home is like to live in, which includes furniture and various other personal affects. Of course, this doesn’t mean load your shelves with knick knacks and set out the family albums, but it should look as though someone lives there, and comfortably. In the same way a cluttered house is too much, an empty house is simply too little. Agents should work with their sellers to edit items and strike a balance which appeals to buyers looking for a future home.

3. It’s all in the timing – Most clients will approach the home selling process as: Let’s put a “For Sale” sign in the front lawn and see what happens. Agents will know it involves more than that, but they may not realize the importance of timing as it pertains to tax benefits. Prior to listing a property, sellers should consult an accountant or financial expert to determine first if any long term capital gains tax breaks apply to their specific situation, and secondly, at what time in the year they will come into play.

2. Don’t overlook miscellaneous costs – Agents may think it common knowledge, but most sellers don’t think to ask for a list of fees and expenses prior to the closing date, which can cause all kinds problems as the sale is finalized. To avoid the debacle of having to explain why a seller needs to pay thousands of additional dollars not initially disclosed, agents and sellers should review estimated closing cost statements well in advance.

1. Visuals matter – Since the inception and widespread adoption of the Internet, the way we shop has fundamentally shifted. Where salesmen used to act as the harbingers of information, more often than not, customers are now using the Internet as their portal to discovery and research, which means having a good photo is imperative. If a homebuyer is starting their search online, which is likely, a good photo can be the difference between a future sale and just another façade-less property.

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