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Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Louisville Home

Louisville home that is prepared to sell
A Louisville home like this appears ready to sell! No visual problems and the landscaping looks amazing.

In some ways, this article is similar to Top 10 Ways to Prepare Your Louisville Property For Sale. But it's important to learn that preparing your property is just one aspect of getting your house sold.

I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to help homeowners in Louisville make the most of their real estate investment. With that in mind, here are the Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home.

10. Bad Timing

Sometimes you don't have a choice. Your boss says, "You're moving to Memphis!" What are you going to do? But if you can choose when to sell your home, here are a couple of points to remember.

First, if you've only lived in the home a short time (a couple of years or less) perhaps consider staying a year or two longer. After only two years, you've barely built up enough equity in your home to cover commissions, closing costs or other fees. Second, avoid listing your home during the holidays. Most buyers are focused on family and/or traveling during this season rather than out shopping for a new house. In real estate circles, it's called "the dead period."

9. Misrepresenting Your Home

While it may be tempting to describe your family room as "a dream come true with more space than you could possibly imagine" in order to entice prospective buyers, you've got to remember that once a buyer arrives and discovers the room is nice but not what you described, they will wonder what else you are exaggerating about.

Don't stretch the truth about square footage either, as buyers represented by Realtors are likely to notice the deception. As in life, honesty is the best policy.

8. Lopsided Listing Contracts

When sitting down with an agent make sure you are comfortable with the length of the listing contract. This figure is completely negotiable and both parties should come to an agreement before signing.

The length of the contract should be at least as long as the average Days on Market (DoM) for your area. Here in Louisville, that number is currently 146 days. Six-month terms are fairly common for a standard listing. It's also a very good idea to ask about any remedies you would have if he or she doesn't live up to their end of the bargain.

7. Lacking a Sales Strategy

Selling your home requires more than simply getting it listed in the MLS. There are literally hundreds of ways to promote a property from the well-known: Open Houses, newspaper classifieds and post card mailings; to new techniques like qualified email leads and electronic newsletters.

Not every marketing method is equally appropriate for each property. It takes an experienced and creative Realtor® to chart the best course. Make sure you ask this very important question at the start.

6. Obstructing Negotiations

When you pick up that phone and hear those wonderful words coming from the other end, "We've got an offer!" you may think everything is golden. Just hold on a second. If you don't negotiate the deal properly, things could go very wrong.

I've found some sellers that refuse to give any ground in negotiations because they believe the buyer is already getting "a great deal." It's tough for sellers to be objective about their own home because they've built an emotional attachment to it.

Having an experienced Realtor® handle this aspect of the selling process may be the difference between selling your home at a great price or pushing away prospective buyers, leaving you with nothing to show for it. As you will see shortly, pricing your property correctly from the beginning is also extremely important.

5. Wrong Realtor

I can't tell you how many times I hear someone tell me they're using their Aunt or their sister's cousin's neighbor as their agent. Just because someone is related to you, doesn't necessarily make them a good Realtor. Studies have shown that more than anything else, people want their agents to be trustworthy and professional.

So when it comes time for you to sell, interview multiple agents and learn about their work ethic and their strategy for marketing your property. Some of the more successful agents feel like they've already paid their dues and don't need to do the little things. If they don't answer their cell phone that may be a sign that they're too busy for more clients.

4. For Sale by Owner

The data is clear. More homes are sold through agents and at a higher price.

FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2010. The typical FSBO home sold for $140,000 compared to $199,300 for agent-assisted home sales. [source]

But that doesn't mean you should always use an agent to sell your home. If your home is in one of those ultra hot neighborhoods and you've got a good understanding of the home selling process and you know how to price your home appropriately, then you might do well. However, those are the exceptions rather than the rule.

You should also keep in mind that there are a number of variables that might arise that would make having a professional on your team a wonderful thing. Never say "never" but you could find yourself months into the process with very few showings and no offers. There's a reason why the number of FiSBOs have dropped nationally over the past 6 years.

3. Big Red Flags

There are certain problems that will scare off prospective buyers in a New York second. If your property has any of the following problems, you should quickly correct them before putting your home on the market: foul odors, visible mold or mildew, siding or gutters that are separated from house, broken doors or windows, problems with the heating/cooling systems or "soft" floors or steps.

Louisville buyers are looking at 12 properties on average before making their purchase. Finding problems like these in a contender usually allows them to remove it from their list. You don't want any negatives overshadow the positive qualities of your home!

2. Neglecting Property Preparation

Before listing your home, perform the following exercise.

  1. Drive up to your house and park on the street. Look at the exterior of your house.
  2. Walk up the drive evaluating everything from the mailbox to the lawn and landscaping all the way up to the front door. Stop and evaluate everthing you see.
  3. Open the door, take a step in a look around.

A wise person once said, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

If a buyer doesn't like your home the first time they visit, they surely won't return. Therefore, it's critical to have your house "on its best behavior" when the guests arrive. Remove as much clutter as possible. Make sure the grass is nicely trimmed. Turn on all the lights and open the blinds or curtains.

Any little thing you can do to show that your home is well-cared for will improve your odds of impressing those buyers. For more tips, see Top 10 Ways to Prepare Your Louisville Property For Sale.

1. Poor Pricing

Far and away, the most important aspect to selling your home is price. Simply stated, if the price is not right then buyers won't even consider your property. This is the point where having a savvy Realtor® on your team really pays off.

You shouldn't just consider comparable properties that have sold, but also what's currently on the market. Which areas are hot? Which are over-stocked?

There are a dozen important factors to consider when determining the appropriate price. In the end, a good Louisville real estate agent will set an appropriate price range for you and then ask you to select the Asking Price. It's very important that you feel comfortable with the price. Even though you can always lower your price in the future, new listings get the most attention in the first couple of weeks after they first enter the market.

If you can avoid these pitfalls, I believe you'll find yourself ahead of the game and well on your way to selling your property.

Photo of Tre Pryor RealtorTre Pryor, is an Internet-veteran turned tech-savvy Realtor. One of the top Louisville agents, you can find his work at InsiderLouisville.com, Louisville Homes Blog or follow him on Google+ or Twitter.
Mr. Pryor lives with his adorable wife, three sons and daughter in the Springhurst area of Louisville, KY.

"Top Agents Put You First!" Tre Pryor
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