Common Mistakes When Selling a Home

Common Mistakes When Selling a Home
Mistake 1: Unrealistic expectation of value
Most people get three agents to view their property and give them an appraisal as to what the
property is worth before listing it with one of them for sale. Invariably two of the appraisals
will be similar and the third will be outrageously higher than the other two. Human nature
being what it is, you of course want to believe the agent who has given you the highest
valuation yet your gut instinct tells you that the property is probably closer to the other two.
Don’t get greedy!
Some agents have a habit of “buying a listing,” in other words they over price your house to
ensure that they get the listing, but because it is overpriced it then sits on the market unsold.
The agent is hoping that after letting the property sit on the market for a while they will come
back to you and pressure you to drop the price and eventually you end up selling it for
somewhere around what the other two agents had advised you in the first place. Don’t forget,
if it seems too good to be true it probably is.
Do some research yourself before you invite the agents in for an appraisal.
Hop on the internet, attend open homes in your area, and start to get a feel for the market and
what price houses similar to yours are on the market for. Try and remain objective during this
process. Every home owner thinks their house is the best in the street. Try and look through
the eyes of a buyer. They are not particularly interested in the fact that it has been your home
for 25 years that you have raised your family in, that you recently spent $10,000.00 on repairs
so try and look at it objectively, as a buyer would.
McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers Pty Ltd ABN 49 149 527 686
18 Carol Avenue, Springwood Qld 4127  PO Box 2080 Springwood Qld 4127
p: 07 3808 7777 f: 07 3808 6677 e: [email protected]
Mistake 2:
Signing what you don’t understand
You are going to need a lawyer to assist you with the sale. Don’t leave it until after you have signed
the Contract to then start looking for one. Touch base with your lawyer before you sign a Contract.
How do you find a lawyer?
Research. And by research I don’t mean searching the internet and filling out “get a quote” forms, as
that tells you nothing about the firm and the person you will be dealing with. Like any business there
are good lawyers and there are bad lawyers and cheap is not always best. There is a saying “bad
advice at any price is expensive”.
Ask family, friends, and work colleagues who they used. Were they happy with the service, expertise,
and professionalism provided by that lawyer? Were they easy to contact and communicate with or did
they speak in another language? Were they slow to return phone calls or reply to emails?
A lawyer will also be able to advise whether any special conditions should be inserted in the Contract
and ensure that it is ready for your signature.
Mistake 3: Dismissing the first offer
There is an old saying in real estate and it is amazing how often it is true that “the first offer
is your best offer”.
Many-a-time Sellers dismiss the first offer they receive because, at that stage, they are full of
optimism and confidence that their property will get top dollar. They think that if they have
already received an offer in the first week or two of listing it for sale, they will get their full
asking price if it stays on the market longer. This is not always the case.
Often a Seller regrets not having engaged with the first “buyer” more, especially when the
offer they ultimately accept is less than the offer they had rejected initially.
Always work with a buyer. Don’t be offended by their first offer (their first offer is invariably
not their last or their best). Remember it’s not where negotiations start that is
McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers Pty Ltd ABN 49 149 527 686
18 Carol Avenue, Springwood Qld 4127  PO Box 2080 Springwood Qld 4127
p: 07 3808 7777 f: 07 3808 6677 e: [email protected]
important, it is where they finish. Play the buyers’ game if you have to until you are sure that
their final offer is either acceptable or unacceptable but don’t dismiss their first offer straight
Mistake 4: Getting emotional about feedback on your
Don’t shoot the messenger (the Real Estate Agent) when he/she delivers feedback from
potential buyers about your house or its features.
You have got to separate your emotions from good logical thinking. This may have been a
home that you have loved for many years and even raised a family in but now that it is time
to sell this turns into a commercial transaction and should be approached in that way.
When an agent provides you with feedback after open homes or when a buyer has been
through the property they are just trying to provide you with an insight into how potential
buyers perceive your property. It is all well and good for you to think your property is perfect
without any imperfections however buyers may have a different view. A good agent is
fearless in providing vendors with feedback, whether good or bad. Whereas a lot of agents,
fearful of being the bearer of bad news or not wanting to hurt your feelings, will not provide
you with this feedback and that is far worse because you are not being told how your home is
being perceived through the eyes of buyers.
Mistake 5: Sweating the small stuff
Be prepared to negotiate on your price even after the Contract has been signed. Quite often
the building and pest inspection will reveal items that require repair or attention, some of
which you may not have been aware of. On other occasions when negotiating the Contract a
Buyer might ask for certain things to be left with the property eg pool cleaning equipment,
pot plants, outdoor setting etc. Don’t lose the deal over “stuff” which at the end of the day has
little monetary value or is certainly not worth losing a deal over. Think with your head
McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers Pty Ltd ABN 49 149 527 686
18 Carol Avenue, Springwood Qld 4127  PO Box 2080 Springwood Qld 4127
p: 07 3808 7777 f: 07 3808 6677 e: [email protected]
not your heart. If leaving the garden shed is going to clinch the deal let it be so (you can
always buy a new bigger and better one for your next place).
Mistake 6: Go on holidays after you sign the contract.
It’s amazing how many people sign a Contract for the sale of their property (one of the most
important transactions of their lives) and then take off on holidays or worse go overseas with the
intention that they will be back the day before settlement or worse the week after settlement.
There is then a mad rush to try and get paperwork completed, Release Mortgage documents from the
bank prepared and signed, building and pest inspections to be undertaken (and sometimes negotiated)
and all this is near impossible when the client is not even in the same state, or country, or time zone.
Most Contracts take about 30-35 days from start to completion. It is best to ensure that you are
present during that time in case things go pear-shaped as you will be needed to make decisions and
provide instructions.
McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers Pty Ltd ABN 49 149 527 686
18 Carol Avenue, Springwood Qld 4127  PO Box 2080 Springwood Qld 4127
p: 07 3808 7777 f: 07 3808 6677 e: [email protected]