Michael Edlen: 10 Major Mistakes by Home Sellers

By Michael Edlen
Special to the Palisades News

Having worked with more than 1,000 local home sellers, we have seen a wide variety of attitudes, decisions and behaviors that have left these owners at a disadvantage when selling their homes.

Most of these mistakes were avoidable, although it may be challenging for an agent to help the seller to refrain from creating unnecessary roadblocks in selling a home.

  1. One of the most frequent mistakes is to hire an agent without at least carefully interviewing one or two alternatives who have some proven track record in the area where the property is located. Many people devote more attention to selecting a new smart phone or in purchasing a car than they do in deciding with whom to entrust the sale of their home.
  2. Another common mistake is for the seller to assume that the property can be sold as it is with no preparations. Even though it is far easier to sell a home in a strong seller’s market, a seller may achieve a much higher sale price if they help enhance the appeal in various ways that a seasoned agent can suggest.
  3. Setting an unrealistic or over-ambitious sale price and then not adjusting it soon enough or significantly enough, is another major error some sellers make. Buyers today are far more aware of values as determined by online systems and comparable recent sales.
  4. Some sellers fail to establish ground-rules for their agents to regularly communicate after showings or open houses, so that they can get a feeling for the activity level and buyers’ reactions.
  5. Being defensive in reaction to market feedback can be detrimental to the sale process. If a seller open-mindedly considers what people say who view the property, they may be able to address issues or concerns in an effective and practical manner.
  6. Unrealistic attitudes towards offers received, especially early in the marketing process, can significantly handicap the agents in helping bring the two sides together in agreement. Often the first offer is received from the most seasoned and highly motivated buyer and it is well advised to give the offer due consideration and make a counter offer.
  7. Not keeping the big picture in mind can be a major mistake. If the seller focuses on perceived personality issues or relatively minor details in a purchase proposal, they may lose sight of the main objective they are trying to accomplish. Hopefully, they and their agent are clear as to just what that main objective consists of in the sale of the property.
  8. Adamantly holding to a position, either during negotiations or during escrow, may result in loss of a sale. A more open and sharing attitude could have enhanced positive feelings, as compared with the negative atmosphere generated by inflexibility.
  9. An experienced agent knows the value of backup buyers being in position. If a seller does not make it clear that they would like to have the added assurance of backup buyers, they risk having the unfortunate experience of being in one of the 20 percent of escrows that fall out, and without a safety net of another buyer in place.
  10. Any or all of the above mistakes may result in the seller becoming overly confident, holding a rigid position or being overly optimistic, which can lead to a loss of energy and market momentum in the sale of the property.

Michael Edlen has been ranked in the top one percent of all agents in the country with more than 1,350 homes sold. Call (310) 230-7373 or email michael@michaeledlen.com.

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