Now that real estate prices have just about returned to market highs, many people are considering selling a home in Florida. Theprocess of selling your home involves many challenges, which are both time consuming and emotionally draining. These challenges make it easy to make costly mistakes. However, these common pitfalls can be avoided with guidance from an experienced real estate professional. If you want to get the most money out of your home in a reasonable amount of time, follow my advice.
Mistake #1: Pricing Incorrectly
Setting a strategic asking price for your property right out of the gate is the key to a successful sale. Homes that are overpriced will not attract attention, and thus will receive fewer showings. Ultimately, these listings will become stale and sell for less than they would have had they been priced correctly at the outset. It’s important to understand the real estate market in your particular community, including homes that are currently on the market (your competition), as well as homes that have recently sold, since buyers and appraisers will both look at recently closed sales. You shouldn’t worry about the risk of underpricing, because homes that are priced very attractively generate more buyer interest and ultimately can receive multiple offers that will result in a higher selling price, often even above asking price.
Mistake #2: Neglecting Repairs Prior to Listing
You should not even list your home until all the necessary preparations are completed. I highly recommend a pre-listing inspection to find out what needs fixing. You should fix anything that needs to be repaired before you show the house. If buyers see a house in disrepair, they will offer much less than it would have cost you to fix everything in the first place. In fact, they might even ask for a large credit. Trust me, you will lose money if you neglect this all-important step.
Mistake #3: Failing to De-Personalize and De-Clutter
One of the least expensive and most effective things you can do before putting your home on the market is a thorough cleaning and decluttering. Removing clutter will create a sense of spaciousness and will also lessen distraction for buyers touring the home. Therefore, removing all that extra “stuff” from your closets, counters and shelves will pay off for you. It is also important to de-personalize and remove family photos, religious objects, and so on to allow buyers to easily imagine themselves living in the home.
Mistake #4: Using Bad Photos
This one is a real pet peeve for me. Over 90 percent of buyers are searching online at some point in their home search. Your listing photos are the only shot you have at enticing them to schedule a showing, which is why it is beyond me that sellers do not demand more from their Realtors® and require top-notch professional photography. At our office, we have a policy that every listing has to have professional photography, regardless of its price. Cell phone photos do not cut it when it comes to selling what is most likely your largest asset. There is a direct correlation between how the home is presented online (photography and description) and how many showings you will get, which of course then leads to securing a higher price. This is one area where you can set yourself apart from other listings on the market, and show off your home’s best features. As they say, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” Make it count!
Mistake #5: Not Accommodating Buyer Showings
It is not always convenient to have your house available for showing a prospective buyer. Sometimes you don’t get much notice, or your place is a mess. While your home is on the market, you really need to keep it as clean and clutter-free as possible. You also need to leave the house, so that the buyers and their agent will be able to be relaxed and take the time they need to see everything without feeling like they are inconveniencing you (which they are, but you need to pretend they aren’t). The more prospective buyers that see your home, the better chance you will have of receiving offers and ultimately the highest price. Yes, it is difficult, but if you follow the advice in this article your home should sell more quickly and for a higher price, so hopefully the inconvenience will be short-lived.
Mistake #6: Choosing the Wrong Realtor
Whom you list your house with matters. There are approximately 25,000 Realtors® in our local association, and the barrier to entry to become licensed is very low. Like in any field, there are good agents and bad agents. It is crucial to hire an agent with experience, local expertise and a strong broker supporting them. You need someone with an excellent track record, who will craft a marketing plan specifically for your home sale. Your agent will be your trusted advisor from the beginning of the process, to the closing table and beyond, so be sure to get that decision right as it will definitely affect your bottom line.
The Bottom Line
Selling a house can be a draining and difficult experience. However, if you avoid the mistakes listed here when selling a home in Florida, you will drastically increase your odds of getting the most money, in the least amount of time, with as little stress as possible.
Gloria Singer is the Broker of Boca Expert Realty, a boutique Boca Raton real estate company with a focus on professional service and an unparalleled customer experience. Our select agents are amongst the top performing professionals in the field. Visit www.BocaExpert.com for information on Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Highland Beach real estate and to connect with an expert in the local market.