FIVE MISTAKES HOME SELLERS MAKE

 1. Setting the Price too High

The single biggest mistake folks make is setting their askingmortgage-planner-button1 price too high. In today’s down market homeowners need to price conservatively or they risk turning off potential buyers. Figuring out how to set the price is tricky. Gone are the days when you can expect to sell your home for as much as your neighbor did just six months ago.. So rather than looking at how much homes in your area sold for six to 12 months ago, compare prices for similar properties currently on the market. If you see a listing for a house that’s sitting unsold for a few months, chances are the owners are asking too much and you’ll want to set your price lower.

2. Questioning the First Offer

Too many sellers reject their first offer, even if it’s close to or at full asking price. Holding out for more money is a strategy that rarely works, especially at a time when credit is tight, lending requirements for mortgages are in flux and potential buyers have less purchasing power.

3. Failing to Respond to All Offers

What if you get an offer that’s simply too low? Don’t reject it outright. See if you can negotiate. First of all, you can’t blame someone for testing the market — after all, in today’s market, many buyers are confident that they have the upper hand. It’s crucial for sellers to set a realistic bottom-line price they’re willing to take, even if it’s several thousand dollars below asking.

4. Not Cleaning up Your House

There are a number of free or inexpensive things you can do on your own to get your house into show condition. Most importantly, paint the walls. Nothing does more to brighten up a place. Next, get rid of all the clutter, excess furniture and family knickknacks. Finally, make all the necessary repairs before your first open house. If a buyer sees a small problem, say, a leaky faucet, he’s likely to wonder about larger issues like the furnace or roof.

5. Picking the Wrong Buyer

Now more than ever, sellers need to select their buyers carefully. With all the defaults in the subprime market, lenders are tightening their lending practices, making it more difficult for consumers to qualify for mortgages. So it’s critical to find a buyer with a recent prequalification letter (issued no later than four to six weeks ago) for a loan. Next, watch out for buyers who need to add contingencies to the contract, including a clause stating that the deal won’t close until they sell their own home. A better bet is to look for first-time home buyers or someone who has already unloaded his existing house.

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