I've tried to cover about everything here in an effort to educate Sellers about pitfalls that await them. But it is still distressing to see a homeowner call a large office and then proceed to do business with the agent answering the phone, without first bothering to question their experience. I can't tell you how many signs we've seen go up on houses months ago, that are still on the market today, because the agents lack the experience to advise the homeowner properly about marketing their home. I can't make you call me, but I do encourage you to ask all the right questions regardless of who you call. I have placed #8 first because this is where I feel most homeowners fail when questioning potential agents.


#8 - Choosing the Wrong REALTORŪ

The quality of your home selling experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the person best qualified. In order to find the REALTORŪ who is right for you, you may interview several, and still not make the correct assessment of their abilities. Here are a few questions you should consider before hiring a REALTORŪ.

  • How long have you been a REALTORŪ?
  • How many listings do you currently have?
  • How many sales did you have last year? (or this year?)
  • Do you currently work at another job?
  • Where can I reach you at different times during the day?
    (If they only can be reached by a pager during the day, its a good sign that they work another full time job.)
  • Where do you advertise and could I see some of your advertising?

Most real estate offices, when educating new agents, have them memorize a canned speech, that is intended to capture your attention, and direct it at the office or the franchise itself, rather than the agent that sits in front of you. Quite often potential sellers are swayed enough by this speech, that they often overlook the experience of the agent they are dealing with and often end up with their home on the market for an extended time, with an agent who cannot help them realize their dreams. The sale of your home could well be the most important financial transaction you have ever been involved with. The person you select can make it a satisfying and profitable activity, or a terrible experience. It's your home, and your money. The choice of your REALTORŪ is up to you. Make that selection carefully.

#1 – Incorrectly Pricing Your Home

Every seller wants to realize as much financial gain as possible when he/she sells his home. If your house is not priced competitively, people looking in your price range will reject your house in favor of other, larger homes, or with more amenities for the same price. At the same time, the people who should be looking at your house will not see it because it is priced too high! Overpricing usually increases time on the market, and that adds to the carrying costs. We at Alliance Real Estate feel, it is more important to get as many people through your home as possible, and have the opportunity to turn down multiple offers, than to only have a few view it, with no resulting offers.


#2 - Failure to Prepare the Home

Buyers look for homes, not houses, and they buy the home in which they would like to live. Owners who put off necessary repairs, who don't spruce up the house inside and out, touch up the paint and landscaping, and keep it clean and neat, chase buyers away as rapidly as REALTORSŪ can bring them.


#3 - Using the "Hard Sell" During Showings

Buying a house is an emotional decision. People like to find a house that is comfortable for them. It's difficult for them to do that if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you made. It may even have the opposite effect you want, by making them feel they are intruding on your private space.


#4- Mistaking Lookers For Buyers

For Sale By Owners always get more activity than houses listed with an agent. No question about it. But REALTORSŪ most often will bring only bring qualified buyers, and these will be fewer than if you open your front door to every one who walks down the street. A qualified buyer is one who is ready, willing, and able to buy your house. We find that most people who go looking at For Sale By Owners are looking for a deal or at this point are just "tire kickers".

We will ask a buyer if they are approved for a mortgage, if they have a house to sell, how much they expect to make on their sale, and how soon they intend to buy. But unless your REALTORŪ finds all the facts first, you must ask all these questions before the buyer crosses your threshold. Otherwise, you may have a parade of unqualified Sunday afternoon shoppers including most of your neighbors just wanting to snoop.


#5 - Not Knowing Your Rights & Obligations

Real estate law is extensive and complex; the contract for sale and purchase is a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can cause the sale to fall through, or cost you thousands for repairs, inspections, and remedies for title defects. You must be certain which repairs and closing costs you are responsible for. If there are defects in your title, or if your property is in conflict with local restrictions, you or your REALTORŪ must remedy them, or you might have to pay plenty.


#6 - Limiting the Marketing and Exposure of the Property

The two most obvious marketing tools (open houses and classified ads) are only moderately effective. Surprisingly, less than 1% of homes are sold at an open house. Agents use them to attract future prospects, not to sell the house!

We at Alliance Real Estate will employ a broad spectrum of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones we believe will work best for you. There are dozens of more effective ways to find buyers than just open houses and advertising. By the way, we will be there every time the phone rings. Did you know that most calls come in during business hours when sellers are away at work, and most home showings are between 9:00 and 5:00 Monday through Friday?


#7 - Believing that a Refi Appraisal is the Market Value of Your Home

An appraisal is an opinion of value for a specific purpose. If the lender wants to lend you the money, they are motivated to have the appraisal come in high. The appraiser may ignore foreclosure or distress sales in order to justify the high value. But a real buyer in the real world will not ignore these properties. They are your competitors when you try to sell.

We can't tell you how many ridiculous re-fi appraisals we've seen. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the value you were told 6 months ago when you refinanced is what a real buyer would pay. Ask us for ALL of the solds in your area, then decide.