After years of being stuck on the sidelines due to poor market conditions, millions of homeowners are dipping their toes back in the water as they consider selling their homes. With home values on the rise and banks easing lending standards, it’s quite possible that a homeowner can finally be in a position to sell their home, and maybe even buy one at the same time.
Though the market has turned, it’s not necessarily as simple as handing over the keys to your agent, doing an open house and getting some offers. To get top dollar and move on, sellers still need to work with a good local agent early on. A good agent is looking out for the client’s best interests at every stage of the game — they know it’s not over until it’s over.
Ideally, the seller-agent relationship should remain strong and positive throughout the process. But sellers can sometimes get in the real estate agent’s way, and in doing so, diminish their chances for a successful sale at the best price and in the shortest amount of time. Here are five ways sellers often drive real estate agents nuts.
1. You Think Your Property is Unique and Therefore Worth More Money
Your home is no doubt very special to you. You’ve built memories, tracked major life events and used it as more than just a place to lay your head at night. When it comes time to sell, it’s often hard to think of your home as a product on the open market. Because of your emotional attachments to it, you may feel your place is unique, which you then equate to being more valuable.
If you find yourself resisting your agent’s pricing advice, take a step back and consider if you’re absolutely ready to sell. Resisting may be a sign you’re not yet ready to emotionally detach. Keep in mind that an overpriced home, even in a strong market, will ultimately sell for less than a home priced well from the start.
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2. You Don’t Clean Up the Home
When your home is on the market, it needs to be ready for a showing on a moment’s notice. That means you need be “seller aware” 24/7. If you’re serious about selling, it’s par for the course. Make a plan to remove Fido’s saliva-stained tennis ball from the couch or Susie’s Barbie doll off the floor. Before you list, move away the stuff you won’t need until you settle into the new home. Make a special space in a closet or storage bin for the day-to-day stuff that could turn off potential buyers. Even though Inventory is limited and buyers are out in full force in many markets, homes that don’t show well may not get the top dollar they deserve. Who wants to leave money on the table?
3. You Stick Around During an Open House
There’s a reason why real estate agents don’t want sellers hanging around when potential buyers arrive. While you may be perfectly friendly and agreeable, your presence can alienate buyers or make them feel uncomfortable without even knowing it. A buyer wants to dig their feet into their potential new home. That means they need to feel free to open closets, poke around in cabinets and make comments to their partners or kids. Your presence prevents them from getting to know your home and can backfire. If you’re desperate to know what’s going on at an open house or how buyers are responding, make a plan with your agent to show up anonymously during the open house.
4. You Hold Out for Extra Money at the Last Minute
A home sale negotiation can be a rocky road, even in strong markets. If you sense the market is in your favor, you may second-guess the list price if you see activity quickly, particularly in the form of multiple offers. It’s a great and powerful feeling. But imagine if, in an attempt to squeak out an additional $3,500 from a serious buyer, you pit them against a not-so-great buyer and you lose both? It happens, much to the dismay of the listing agents who advocate working with the best buyer and not necessarily the best “offer.” In other words, you should always be thinking of the big picture, which isn’t always the same as the biggest offer.
A serious buyer is working with a good local agent, has a bank pre-approval, has seen the home on multiple occasions and demonstrates a high level of experience in the market. A not-so-serious buyer may submit blindly after only seeing your home once, may be unrepresented, or represented by a not-so-well known or respected agent.
5. You Don’t Clean Up Before Turning Over the Keys to the New Buyer
Imagine yourself as a future buyer. Would you want to walk into your new home and find 12 cans of old paint in the garage? Or an old baby carriage in the attic? Clean your home and deliver it in good condition to the new buyers. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, but also if you need them in the future for things like forwarding mail or packages, you’ll have them on your side.
Read More from Zillow.com
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Brendon DeSimone is the author of “Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling,” the go-to insider’s guide for navigating and better understanding the complex and ever-evolving world of buying and selling a home. Bringing more than a decade of residential real estate experience, DeSimone is a nationally recognized real estate expert and has appeared on top media outlets including ABC’s 20/20, Good Morning America, HGTV, FOX News, CNBC & FOX Business. Consumers often call on Brendon for advice and to help them find a real estate agent. Brendon is the founder and principal of DeSimone & Co, an independent NYC real estate brokerage. An investor himself, Brendon owns real estate in the US and abroad. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.