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Common, Costly – But Easily Avoidable – Mistakes Made by Waterloo Region Home Sellers

The process of selling a Waterloo Region home, any Waterloo Region home, is not always an easy one. Finding and working with the right real estate agent helps a great deal, as they can serve as a guide, a friend, a go-to source of advice and resources and help take much of the stress out of the process for home sellers. However, there are some mistakes that home sellers – sometimes even those who are working with a great Realtor, make that can sabotage their chances of getting the quick sale – and the great price – they are hoping for. Here’s a look at some of the most common and how they can be avoided.

Mistake: Setting the wrong price

We all want to get the best price possible, but setting the sale price too high is a recipe for failure and disappointment. Not only could this turn away prospective purchasers that would otherwise be able and willing to buy your property had it been properly priced, but it could result in those that do show an interest doing so with higher expectations than the property can deliver.

Overpriced properties take longer to sell and more often than not are sold at below the asking price.

Conversely, setting an unrealistically low price to ‘bait’ buyers and drum up demand, apart from being morally wrong and misleading, simply attracts the wrong type of buyer who probably can’t afford the real price you want and may see the lower price as the top price they want to pay.

As an aside, you also need to be careful about ignoring early offers. The best offers often come early in the process, so if one comes your way and it ‘just about’ meets your goals think carefully before rejecting it in favour of a higher offer you imagine might come later – there’s no guarantee you’ll get a better offer further down the road.

Action: Research the market (taking into account actual sales prices achieved and not selling prices) and set a realistic asking price. Gain as much advice as you can from your Realtor and if they seem a little unenthusiastic about the price you want to set listen to them, this is, after all, what they do for a living!

Mistake: Revealing the reason for the sale

You should never reveal the reason for selling your property because it will weaken your negotiating position. For instance, if sellers find out that you’re selling because of financial difficulties, or that you’ve bought a home elsewhere already of because you’ve got a job transfer or other pressing personal need to move, this will give them the upper hand and they’ll use this against you to get a lower price.

Action: Always keep the reason for selling confidential. If continually asked, at most vaguely state you’re looking to relocate or upgrade.

Mistake: Choosing the wrong Realtor

Most residential property sales are conducted with the help and guidance of a Realtor. To help ensure you have a good experience with the one you choose:

• Never choose an agent you don’t trust – if you don’t trust or feel comfortable dealing with the agent, move on and find someone else. Without trust, there can be no effective business or personal relationship.
• Don’t choose an agent that suggests a seemingly too high selling price – this is a tactic used to ‘buy your business’ by enticing you with an unrealistic sales expectation. If this is something you’re worried about, ask for justification of the figure.

• Don’t go with multiple agencies – you may think this is a good way to get greater marketing reach but all you may end up getting is a lower price as each agent tries to close the deal before the other. Remember it will be easier for the agent to sell your home at a lower price than a higher one.
• Don’t choose an agent that isn’t available seven days a week – most buyers are out and about on weekends and that is when your agent needs to be available and active. Check that your Realtor offers a seven-day service and also how they handle ‘after business hours’ inquiries.

Action: Choose your selling agent wisely and ask questions, lots of them, before making a final decision.

Mistake: Not paying enough attention to your property’s everyday state

You need to ensure your property has strong curb appeal (because the outside of your home is the first thing a buyer sees and typically falls in love with), is in good repair and is neat and tidy on the inside as well as the outside. Good presentation can do wonders for buyer interest and the ultimate selling price. And this means more than the initial staging, it means keeping things as clean and presentable as possible at all times.

Action: Keep things neat, tidy and uncluttered, smelling fresh and bring in a repairman to fix those minor, but annoying problems, like a leaking tap, sticking windows and doors etc.

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