Top 10 Mistakes Sellers Make
1. Making your home difficult to show. You can’t sell your home if potential Buyers can’t see it…and it’s proven that the more people who see your home, the more likely you are to sell it for top dollar. Most showings happen in the evenings or on weekends when it’s most convenient for Buyers, which of course, means that’s also when it’s the least convenient for the Seller. Truth: selling your home isn’t convenient.
The longer your home is on the market, the more annoying it is to receive a last-minute showing request…but the more important it is to be flexible. In our experience, most showing requests that get refused by the Seller don’t get rescheduled, and the Buyer just moves to the next property. What if that was the perfect Buyer for your home? Our recommendation: make your home available for showings between 10 am to 8 pm, seven days a week.
2. Not caring about the details Buyers judge what they can’t see, by what they can. If your walls are full of scuff marks and the carpets are dirty, it’s easy to assume that you probably didn’t bother to care for your furnace or the water leak in the basement either. When Buyers conclude that your grubby shower = mold under the tiles, your house becomes less valuable in their eyes…and they may just walk away. Obsess about the details!
3. Not listening to the market The Toronto real estate market is surprisingly sophisticated. When a home is listed for a price that’s too low, multiple Buyers show up and bid the price up. When the asking price for a home is too high, it lingers on the market and doesn’t sell. [Related: The Market Is Smarter Than You].
When you’re selling your home, you need to LISTEN and RESPOND to the market. One of your REALTOR’s most important jobs is to translate “the market” to you. If you’re working with a great agent (and hopefully you are), they’ll report how Buyers are reacting to your home, what the number of showings you’re getting means and how your price compares to what’s for sale and selling in your neighbourhood. And of course, they’ll have strategies to react to what’s happening in the market.
Pro Tip: To sell for top dollar, you need to stay one step ahead of the market. If the market is increasing: price ABOVE the last comparable sale. If the market is decreasing: you need to price BELOW the last sale. There’s nothing worse than chasing a declining market down.
4. Talking too much on social media Stop sharing the woes of your sale on social media….and that goes double for talking about the things you hate about your house. Smart agents will Google a Seller before making an offer…and there’s nothing more damaging to your sale than if that agent sees your desperation and panic in print. It happens more often than you can imagine.
5. Not always being ready for a showing Remember point #2 about being flexible with showings? Sometimes (ok, fairly often), Buyers will book last-minute appointments to see your home, so you need to make sure it’s always in tip-top shape. Make your bed, do the dishes, clean the litter box, take out the garbage, sweep the dog fur from the floors, put away your dirty clothes…EVERY day. There’s nothing more stressful than being at work and having to refuse a showing because the remnants of last night’s wine binge are strewn about, and you left your skivvies on the floor in the bathroom.
6. Getting cocky or emotional with an offer You finally get an offer, and it’s for $100,000 below your asking price. Ugh! It’s hard not to take low ball offers personally and want to raise your middle finger to the Buyer and walk away from the negotiating table. But remember: this could just be a negotiating tactic to test your motivation and negotiating finesse, and they may be willing to pay what you’re prepared to accept. A skilled agent can guide and protect you through low ball offers and make sure that your emotions don’t get in the way of your sale. It’s dangerous to walk away from an offer without at least trying to negotiate.
7. Going away for the weekend and forgetting to tell us So you’ve decided to make a last-minute weekend getaway to Algonquin Park. Awesome! But your agent needs to know. Offers often have very short time-frames before they expire, so it’s critical that we’re able to get hold of you. We can do amazing things with technology, so as long as you’ve got a cell phone connection, we can make it happen. As an agent, there’s nothing more stressful than finally getting an offer and not being able to locate your Seller.
8. Staying home during showings to ‘help’ OK, I’ve been guilty of this one myself, so I get it. Long before I was an agent, my condo was for sale. It had been 30 painful days of showings (in a market where condos were selling in a week), and the closing date for my new townhouse was fast approaching. One day, I came up with the genius plan to be home during the showings so I could ‘encourage’ the Buyers to make an offer. It worked. My desperation and panic were so unmistakable, that the very first person I ‘encouraged’, made an offer. A really bad offer. But I accepted it instantly, just as they knew I would. Don’t be 27-year old me.
9. Accepting mediocre service and marketing from your REALTOR There’s a lot more to selling your house than just listing it on the MLS, and if your agent doesn’t have a proactive plan to market your home, you need to insist on it (or get a new agent). A comprehensive marketing plan should include at minimum, professional photography, online marketing, agent-to-agent marketing and open houses. Pro Tip: Make sure the marketing your agent is doing is aimed at selling your house, and not just getting himself more clients.
10. Panicking if you aren’t selling. We all hear stories about the houses that sell in hours, or the ten people lined up to bid on a condo….but it doesn’t always happen that way. In July 2017, 42% of the sold homes in central Toronto sold over-asking….which means 58% sold below the asking price. If your home is taking longer than usual to sell, listen to the feedback from the Buyers, talk to your agent about options and most importantly, remain calm. This is probably your biggest financial asset, so don’t risk it to emotions.