Top 10 mistakes to avoid when selling your property

I’ve made a list, checked it twice, so you can avoid the most common and potentially costly pitfalls when it comes to selling your property.

Years of experience in this industry has taught me that shortcuts leave you short-changed, despite what you might read on the internet or hear from your mate at the pub. Selling your property is a massive event, so iv’ve pulled together a list of things to watch out for when you decide to put your property on the market.

Overpricing the property, against recommendations 

Too often, people want or hope for a figure that not realistic. Worst case scenario: you set an unrealistic price, the property sits on the market longer than you want, bills are piling up in the transition to your next home, and you end up selling for even less than what you could have on the very fist day. With time on the market, you’ve lost your negotiating position. Now you’re in a financial pickle. Don’t shoot for the stars; be realistic when it comes to pricing and you may even create enough buyer competition that you end up selling above your expectations. 

Listing with a real estate agent based on commission 

I’ve seen this time and time again. A person calls and asks, “how much do you charge?” Most agents charge a similar fee, but there are those willing to cut their commission to get the listing. Watch out! You could be hiring an inexperienced or a low performing real estate agent, which means your small fee might end up being the most expensive choice because you miss out on a premium sale price. Remember “The cheapest agent is the one who gets you the highest sale price”.

Not investing in advertising

A lot of owners don’t see the benefit of advertising. This is very straightforward: “you can’t sell a secret”. The more people see it, means more potential buyers, they compete against each other, and the price goes up. It’s simple market forces at work, and you have to be visible to work it to your advantage.  

Choosing a real estate agent who flies solo

You might think that this means more care and attention. But without a support team, a real estate agent could be putting up a sign in Dapto while you’ve got a buyer for your property in Thirroul and they want to see the place. Then there are all the admin duties they have to do themselves, which all adds up to being spread too thin and spending less time working on selling your property which is what you are ultimately paying them for. Whereas having a support team means their attention is focussed on getting you a premium price. 

Poor property presentation

A property could tick the regular boxes of price, features, location and so on, but buyers don’t want to make a substantial financial and emotional investment only to be unhappy down the track. This means that managing perception is vital. Clean up the yard, pack away tools, toys and anything else that looks out of place. Inside, you want the home to smell good. A bit of ambient music helps set the mood during inspections. Make sure your property leaves a positive, lasting first impression. 

Read more about presenting your property to make your first impression count.

Choosing the wrong method of sale

Some agencies will push you toward auction no matter what. But unless the property is exceptionally unique, hard to price, or the market is red hot, an auction may not be the way to go. There are exceptions, but generally, if there’s enough sales evidence to establish a rough price, and there isn’t a property shortage, an auction may not best for the vendor, it may be best for the agent. There are multiple ways to sell a property, from auction, expressions of interest to tender, and the method recommended by our agents is based on current market conditions, the property type, supply, and much more. An experienced real estate agent knows which method is the most effective for your property. 

Avoiding an open house

We hold open houses because that’s what the buyers want. There are properties and circumstances where it’s not appropriate, but generally speaking, the best results are achieved when you tidy the place up, throw the doors open, and let people have a look around. Picture this: a young couple like what they see and ask for an offer form, and across the other side of the room, someone hears that, and they want a form too. Latecomers see people walking around with offer forms in their hands and talking to the agent. They all want this house. It’s now game on. They don’t need to be told to make a good offer; they will. That’s the power of a well-run open house.

Taking advice from unqualified people

Unfortunately, I’ve seen this too many times and it breaks my heart. A young couple buying their first home, they’ve found one, it’s in their budget, needs some work but otherwise, it’s a winner. They are now interested and they ask to bring mum and dad through to see what they think. But because mum and dad are at a different stage of their lives, they come with upmarket expectations for an entry-level home and tell the couple to keep looking because its not up to their standards. A couple of years later the couple is still looking, regretting not buying that house. Free advice from well-meaning family and friends could be the most expensive advice you receive. 

Thinking you’ll save money by selling privately

If it were that easy, everybody would do it. Let’s say, for example, you sell your property for $1 million, you think you save the 2% agent’s fee, thinking you are pocketing $20,000 extra. Happy days. Maybe not!, in reality you may have just sold that property $100,000 under market value. In the industry its well known that a highly trained real estate professional would have got you a premium price. A professional negotiator can generally increase your sale price by at least 10%, not only paying for themselves but in this example saving you $80,000. Selling your own property sounds like a great idea, and you can be forgiven for thinking if you don’t have to pay an agent you will save money. But guess what! You just gave away tens of thousands of dollars, maybe more. Why? Because a good agent not only markets your property well, they are also highly trained negotiators. Whereas the homeowner is flying blind, they are too emotionally attached to the sale and have no idea how to extract a buyers best offer and terms.

Choosing and agent who doesn’t get contact details from property inspections 

First, during an open house, I’m responsible for the security of the property, and I take that seriously. Getting people to sign in and show ID helps keep people honest. The main reason to get contact details and check them is that you, the vendor, want me to chase down every lead. I can’t make follow up calls ask what they thought, do they want another look, and so on, if I don’t have their contact information. It’s a basic but too often overlooked part of the job. Ever been to an open house and never got a follow up call?

The take-home message here is to talk to me early in the process so I can guide you through it, give you sound advice, and help you get a premium price. Start with a free appraisal, so you have an up-to-date price guide for your home.