So, you’re ready to sell your home. You’ve made that big decision, weighed all the pros and cons of moving and have decided to list your home among the other Ridgewood homes for sale. Maybe you’ve finally found that dream home or the kids have finally left and you’re able to downsize. Regardless of the reasons you’ve decided to sell, there are a number of mistakes you want to avoid to ensure the sale of your house is successful and that you’re putting the maximum amount of money in your pocket. Check out our infographic and keep reading below to learn about some of the most common mistakes home sellers make when listing their house, and how you can avoid making them!
Mistake #1: Pricing Your Home Wrong
How you price your home is the most important thing in selling your home. Price it too high and potential buyers won’t even look; price it too low and you could be leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table. So how do you know what to price your home at? The best way is to see what’s currently for sale in the area and price accordingly (in real estate we call these comparable listings). If you live in Bergen County, you can use our free property valuation tool to instantly find out how much your Ridgewood home is worth!
This also involves looking at how much houses in your area have recently sold for. Sold prices can be a little trickier to find (unless you’re a real estate agent with access to that information), but with a little online digging you might be able to find out sale prices. Or you can just request a free and up-to-date comparable market analysis, in which we do the research for you.
You want to make sure that you find that happy median where you price your home in a way that will bring viewings, allow room for negotiation and get you a decent price. Give yourself a bit of room for negotiating with a potential buyer.
Mistake #2: Not Doing Simple Repairs
We all have those little household nuances we’ve been meaning to fix but just haven’t gotten around to yet, but you can’t put them off if you want to sell your house. The last thing a new homeowner wants is to take over your “honey do” list and make repairs on top of trying to settle into a new home. The extent of the repairs, and the number, could be a deal breaker for some buyers. Try to put a weekend aside before you list your home for sale to take care of all minor repairs and hire a professional for the larger issues or fixes you can’t do yourself. Every minor repair you don’t complete is something that a buyer will use to devalue your home.
Mistake #3: Not Disclosing Issues
Speaking of repairs that you haven’t gotten around to, are there any larger issues that you haven’t addressed? Leaking pipes, damaged roof, cracks in the foundation? You will be legally required to disclose these issues. If you don’t and the new homeowner finds them, you could be liable for fixing them anyway. You might as well be forthcoming with the homes issues as the new home owner is likely to find them anyway. Setting the correct price can help offset any repairs during the negotiation process.
Mistake #4: Not Marketing Your Home
Putting a “For Sale by Owner” sign at the foot of the driveway isn’t going to sell your house. Most of the people that drive by your home live in the neighborhood already and likely aren’t looking to buy. Similarly, listing your house in the local “buy and sell”, either in print or online, won’t get you the exposure you need to reach the maximum audience that may be interested in purchasing your home.
Ideally, you need to reach a country-wide audience and the best way to do that is with some sort of online website. Do your research and find out which websites will suit your needs, attract the most buyers and cost the least (if there is a cost). Then have a good marketing plan, complete with descriptions and photos ready to showcase your home.
Mistake #5: Not Keeping it Tidy and Available
The hardest thing about selling your home while you live in it (and it’s harder to sell a vacant property) is keeping it presentable at all hours of the day, from the day you list it to the day you sell it. In today’s competitive real estate market, you can’t afford to pass up on someone viewing your home because it’s not in viewing condition. It’s Murphy’s Law that the one showing you refuse because your home isn’t ready will be the buyer you’ve been looking for. It’s not easy, but you need to put your life on hold for the time you’re selling your house and make it available to anyone that wants to see it, at any time, to really maximize your selling potential.
Mistake #6: Refusing to Negotiate
We get it. It’s your home; you’ve worked hard for it, maybe raised a family in it for the last 20 years. Unfortunately, now is not the time to get nostalgic and reflect on the memories you’ve made. While the value you place on your home includes the memories you’ve made, your house is only worth what others are willing to pay for it. Potential buyers have a set budget and an idea of what your home is worth to them, likely before they even set foot through the door.
While we aren’t suggesting you give the house away, there comes a time when you have to weigh the option of potentially paying the mortgage for the next 6 months waiting for a buyer, or dropping your price by a few thousand dollars to meet a buyers request. Negotiating is a two way street and there’s no reason why with a bit of back and forth, you and a serious buyer can’t come to an agreement. Remember when we suggested that you price your house with a bit of a buffer? Now you know why…
Mistake #7: Not Hiring a Professional
This may seem a little self-serving (you are reading this on a real estate agent’s website, after all) but you are definitely doing yourself a disservice by not hiring a professional to sell your home. Everything you’ve read above? We’ve unfortunately seen it way more times than we can count and, more often than not, we come in at the 11th hour to try to salvage a deal or sell a home that’s been sitting on the market for way too long.
Trying to sell your home on your own is a very admirable task, but in today’s real estate market, the odds of success are stacked against you. By hiring a real estate agent, you’re hiring years of expertise, an entire office of support, marketing know-how and a built-in audience that the agent has cultivated over years. When looking for an agent, it’s best to seek recommendations and base your decision on past client feedback. Try to stay away from hiring family or friends or even a friend of a friend. You’re in the business of trying to sell your home, not maintain friendships or help to pad a family member’s bank account.
Have questions about selling your Ridgewood home? Feel free to contact us online or call the Tarvin Realtors office at (201) 444-0690 and we'll be happy to help any way we can! It's what we're here for.