Question: What are the most common mistakes made by home sellers?

Answer: We can think of three areas where sellers sometimes stumble.

The first is pricing the property too high. The logic is, often, “Let’s price it high so that we have room to negotiate down.” We see that backfire all the time. It’s true that you should leave some negotiating room, but not too much. Ask your realtor to give you a realistic range of comps (i.e. properties like yours). Note the sold prices and, importantly, what the discount of original list price to sell price is for those homes. Is it two percent? Five percent? Then work within that range.

Second, sellers often do not thoroughly complete the seller’s disclosure (TAR notice 1406). This notice should be completed with as much detail as possible. It’s meant to give potential buyers an honest look at the condition of your home and its history (e.g. age of roof, past water penetration). It’s your best protection, and lying on a seller’s disclosure can get you into legal trouble down the road. We always tell sellers, “Disclose, disclose, disclose.”

Finally, sellers often do not do as much as they can or should to get their home in tip-top condition. Referring to a stain on the carpet, they might say, “Well, we’ll just leave it, since the new owners will probably want to choose their own carpet.” No! When the carpet (or wall paint or lawn or whatever) is shabby, buyers infer that shabbiness extends everywhere. Unless your home is being offered as a tear-down, make it shine and sell it with pride.

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