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Avoid the Top 10 Seller Mistakes

Experienced real estate professionals help get homes priced right without unnecessary and costly improvements that can delay a sale.

NEW YORK – Are you serious about selling your home? Consider these common seller mistakes:

1. Pricing too high: It's no secret, price is everything. Overpricing does more to discourage buyers than any other single factor. When you overprice, you put your home in competition with homes that may be newer, larger or have more amenities than yours. You help your competition sell their homes. This leads to long days on the market, and costs you, the seller, money in the long run. Make sure you get your pricing advice from an experienced, professional real estate agent who knows the market.

2. Poor condition: A home that needs repairs, or is in poor condition, does not excite buyers. A home like this is looked at by buyers as a work project and a money pit. Having your home in good repair and great showing condition will significantly improve your chances for a sale at top dollar value. Having your home pre-inspected by a termite and whole house inspector will have a positive impact on buyers.

3. Poor curb appeal: Most buyers today want to drive by. If your home is an attractive drive-by, it will gain more attention and certainly more showings. Doing the little things to help your home's curb appeal will make a huge difference.

4. Dreary dark homes don't sell: Buyers like updated, light and bright homes. Dark carpets, paint, and curtains are often buyer turn-offs. Go through your home and remove clutter, touch up and update paint, counter tops, and carpets. Open your home up and make sure the sun shines in. Offensive odors from pets and smoking are also huge turn-offs to most buyers. Rid your home of offensive smells buy cleaning your carpets and drapes. The most important rooms to concentrate on are the living room, family room, kitchen and master bedroom. Your entire home's atmosphere is set off by these rooms.

5. Don't over improve: Get your home in good showing condition, but don't overdo it. Huge projects such as complete remodels of kitchens, adding decks, and expanding room sizes may not pay back your investment. Before you jump into a huge improvement project, get some advice from your real estate professional.

6. Be financeable: Bad roofs, poor exterior paint condition, or structural problems may make your home un-financeable. The wider the scope of financing that your home can qualify for, the higher the overall market value. Remember — government programs like VA and FHA will require the home to be in good condition.

7. Get good advice and good market exposure: Hiring an experienced, real estate professional will help you get your home priced right and will also get you the best advice on fix ups. A strong agent will get your home exposed to the largest number of potential buyers. Paying the agent fee is often the least expensive part of selling your home. Trying to sell your home yourself can be costly. Most For Sale By Owner homes net the sellers less money, and you have no representation or guidance.

8. Don't be present during showings: When your home is being shown, leave the area. Go for a walk or a drive. Take yourself, your family, and your pets and let the agent and their clients have the freedom they need. Agents can always do their best job of showing your home when you are not underfoot. Buyers are more at ease and much more likely to spend time looking at your home's features and benefits.

9. Let your agent do the negotiating: If there is ever a good reason to have an experienced agent working for you, it's during the negotiation of your home sale. A good negotiator can mean thousands of dollars to you and will protect your interests. Don't let your emotions run wild during negotiations. Try to separate your emotions from your business side. Remain cool and calm during this time.

10. Act fast with offers: When you do get an offer on your home, act quickly and decisively. Letting offers sit around without acting on them can be a huge mistake. Things can change quickly in the mind of a prospective buyer. Acting quickly while the excitement and interest levels are at a high point can be very important. Typically, a buyer's motivation level decreases with time. Buyer's remorse can even set in. Acting in a timely manner is essential.

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