Biggest Real Estate Selling Myths Uncovered
Selling a house can be a bit like having a
baby -- everyone gives you advice that you may
or may not have asked for, in spite of the
fact that the experience is unique to each
individual every time. And just like having a
baby, there are many myths and "old
wives' tales" to be de-bunked. Among the
truths are the following ten:
Myth: You should always price your home
high and gradually correct the sales price
Truth: Pricing too high can be as
bad as pricing too low.
strategy in listing high may be that you will
always have the chance to accept a lower
offer. But the truth is that if the listing
price is too high, you'll miss out on a
percentage of buyers looking in the price
range where your home should be. Offers may
not even come in, because the buyers who would
be most interested in your home are scared off
by the price and won't even take the time to
look. By the time the listing price is
corrected, you may have already lost exposure
to a large group of potential buyers. Your
real estate agent will be able to offer you a
comparable market analysis for your home. This
is essentially a document that compares your
home to other similar homes in your area, with
the goal of helping you to accurately assess
your home's true market value.
2. Myth: Minor repairs can wait until
later. There are more important things to be
Truth: Minor repairs make your house
more marketable, allowing you to maximize your
return (or minimize loss) on the sale.
and large, buyers are looking for an inviting
home in move-in condition. Buyers who are
willing to tackle the repairs after moving in
automatically subtract the cost of needed
fix-ups from the price they offer. You save
nothing by putting off these items, and you
may likely slow the sale of your home.
3. Myth: Once potential buyers see the
inside of your home, curb appeal won't matter.
Truth: Buyers probably won't make it to
the inside of the home if the outside of your
home does not appeal to them.
buyers today will drive by a home before
deciding whether or not to look inside. Your
home's exterior will have less than a minute
to make a good first impression. Spruce up the
view of the house by keeping the lawn mowed,
shrubs and trees trimmed, and gardens weeded
and edged. Clear the walkways and driveways of
leaves and other debris. Repair gutters and
eaves, touch up the exterior paint, and repair
or resurface cracked driveways and sidewalks.
You can also add additional appeal by placing
potted flowers out front, hanging a wreath on
the outside of the door, positioning new
street numbers, and putting out a pleasing
4. Myth: Once potential buyers fall in love
with the exterior look of your home, you put
interior improvements on the back burner.
Truth: Buyers have no qualms about
walking right out the front door within 60
seconds if the house doesn't look like it
could be theirs.
that most buyers are looking for an inviting
home in move-in condition. You might consider
spending a few dollars on: painting, if the
existing paint is in bad shape or an unusual
color; carpeting, if it shows excessive wear
or an outdated color or style; refacing
kitchen cabinets; scrubbing bathrooms until
they are sparkling clean; or several other key
repairs or replacements. Although you may be
uncomfortable with spending a few thousand
dollars on your home right before you sell it,
it's not uncommon for the right work to more
than pay for itself in a higher selling price
and shorter marketing time. Your real estate
agent will consult with you about the repairs
and replacements that will benefit you most.
5. Myth: Your home must be every home
buyer's dream home.
Truth: If you get carried away with repairs
and replacements to your home, you may end up
over-improving the house.
some point, improvements that you make to your
home can rise far above and beyond what is
customary for comparable homes in your area.
For instance, there may not be another
swimming pool in your entire subdivision.
After spending $20,000 to install an in-ground
swimming pool that you hope will lure buyers,
you may find that it only raises the market
value of your home by $10,000 because there
are no other comparable properties to support
the market value of the pool. As a rule of
thumb, if your improvements push your home's
value higher than 20% above average
neighboring home values, don't expect to
recoup the entire amount of improvements. Your
real estate agent can advise you as to the
scope of projects you might consider in
preparing your house for sale.
6. Myth: Buyers are unswayed by sellers
that offer creative financing options.
Truth: By offering flexibility in financing
options, you may lure even more prospective
might consider offering seller financing,
paying some of the buyer's closing costs,
including a one-year home warranty, or other
buyer incentives. Your real estate agent, who
has professional knowledge of local market
activity, can help you decide what incentives,
if any, to offer.
7. Myth: You are better off selling your
home on your own, thus saving the commission
you would have paid to a real estate agent.
Truth: Statistically, many sellers who attempt
to sell their homes on their own cannot
consummate the sale without the service of a
professional real estate agent.
those sellers who are successful in selling
without a real estate agent often net less
from the sale than sellers who use do a
professional real estate agent. You probably
visit a doctor when you are in ill health. You
also likely take your car to a mechanic for
repair and maintenance. When you require legal
advice, chances are that you seek the services
of an attorney. Doesn't it make sense that you
should contact a real estate professional when
you are preparing to sell your biggest asset?
8. Myth: Good sellers are available to
guide prospective buyers through the home,
giving the whole process a more personal
Truth: Prospective buyers will feel more that
"this house could be" their home if
the current owners are not there.
presence of homeowners and/ or their family
members in the home while it is being
previewed can make buyers feel like they are
intruding. They really do need to be able to
visualize this house as their home, which can
be difficult to do when they are acutely aware
that it is still your home. Your real estate
agent will be happy to look out for your home
during open houses or showings.
9. Myth: Successful sellers insist that the
terms of the sale happen their way or no way.
Truth: If you approach the sale of your
home as an adversary of the buyer, you risk
losing a perfectly solid buyer for no good
remember that both you and the buyer have the
same basic end goal: for you to sell your home
and for the buyer to buy your home. Your real
estate agent will join you in approaching
negotiations in a positive frame of mind,
which often results in a win-win proposition
for both you and the buyer. And if both
parties are satisfied with the outcome of
negotiations, very few things will come
between you and the closing table.
10. Myth: When you receive an offer, you
should make the buyer wait. This gives you a
better negotiating position.
Truth: You should reply immediately to an
a buyer makes an offer, that buyer is, at that
moment in time, ready to buy your home. Moods
can change, and you don't want to lose the
sale because you have stalled in replying.