So many times I see sellers trying to squeeze every penny out of the sale of their house but end up shortchanging themselves. Here are seven such circumstances that can be eliminated with a little foresight:
1. Cheaping out on remodeling.
Inferior finishes or cheap solutions to home decorating problems always come back to haunt sellers. Guilty parties include cheap laminate flooring, paint on grainy un-prepared surfaces, "faux" granite counter tops and Ikea kitchens. None will improve the selling price, and all will be seen by buyers as something they'll have to replace or re-do anyway.
2. Ignoring older systems.
Be it a struggling HVAC system, a saggy roof or a water heater as old as your youngest child, a seller will have to deal with these issues in one of three ways. They will receive no offers, they will receive offers reflective of these items that need to be replaced, or once the home inspection happens, the buyer will want to renegotiate the entire transaction. Sellers run the risk of losing buyers who see the whole house as a potential money pit. Replacing old systems while the house is on the market just to get a sale can upset the momentum of the sales process and result in a lower selling price.
3. Ignoring deal breakers.
Homes with original infrastructure like aluminum or knob-and-tube wiring, old copper pipes or polybutylene plumbing tend to worry buyers; these features can make it more difficult to obtain home insurance, and when they can, it’s more expensive.
The same is true for un-permitted or un-inspected structures on properties. Sellers can’t guarantee that they’re safe. That leaves the buyers with the uncertain prospect of either having to remove or take responsibility for those structures. Either way, it adds an uncomfortable level of uncertainty to the transaction for the buyers and the prospect of unknown and significant future costs.
4. Being unwilling to negotiate an offer.
How many times have I heard the words, "I'm not giving away my house!!!" from a seller. Very often, the house will eventually sell for much less if it sells at all. I've seen an offer die over a $5,000 difference. More ridiculous, I've seen an offer refused over DRAPES! "They can't have the drapes! I had them custom made!" Well, if they're custom made Honey, they probably won't fit where you're going anyway so what's your point?
So who wins? The buyer can go back and find another home. The seller just bought their own home back for the difference in the negotiations price, plus their ongoing carrying costs.
5. Over-pricing. Period.
Other agents out there are savvy to home valuations. They see hundreds of homes and won't waste their time or their buyers' time showing an over-priced house. By the time the sellers start to believe the reality, six months have passed and they have lost critical timing and are chasing the market. In the meantime, better inventory that is well-priced is available that buyers are choosing over an overpriced property with an unrealistic seller.
6. Do-it-yourself home repairs.
Some sellers like to do their own home repairs because "Nobody can do the job as well as I can." That's all fine until it comes to selling their house. The very thing they built or fixed might need to be redone by the appropriate professional. I've seen leaky P-Trap under a bathroom vanity wrapped with duct tape. Correcting DIY can be costly.
7. Moving out on their own.
There is nothing worse than when sellers attempt to handle moving out on their own. People who have lived in a home for a long time often don't realize how much "stuff" they have accumulated over the years. The process of moving, often downsizing, means that a lot of decisions have to be made as to what to keep, and how much they can dump on their kids. Very often, they run out of time in the process and still haven't finished by closing.
After no sleep and a house partially emptied out, what was the seller really saving? Was it worth it to have created so much stress and have an upset buyer, frustrated selling agent and embarrassed listing agent?
Global Property Systems says:
These circumstances could have all been avoided with a little foresight. Lacking it will always come back to bite you.