10 Biggest 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:
1. Myth: You should always price your home high and gradually correct the sales
Truth: Pricing too high can be as bad as pricing too low.
Your 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 done.
Truth: Minor repairs make your house more marketable, allowing you to maximize
your return (or minimize loss) on the sale.
By 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 fixups
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.
Many 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 welcome mat.
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.
Remember 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
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.
At 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 inground
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
You 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.
And 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 touch.
Truth: Prospective buyers will feel more that "this house could be" their home if the
current owners are not there.
The 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 reason.
Always 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 offer!
When 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
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