Nine mistakes to avoid

When selling your property

Selling your property is one of the most important transactions you will ever handle. To close a sale quickly at the best possible price and reduce the stress associated with selling your home, we recommend side-stepping these nine common mistakes.

1. Choosing a broker for the wrong reasons

It is imperative to trust the real estate broker representing you. You have to have faith in his/her abilities and experience. You need a broker who can easily explain to you the entire listing process, a broker who knows the market really well, has a pool of potential buyers and can give you sound advice to increase your chances of selling. Do not choose the broker who provided the highest evaluation of your property. Choose a broker who provided you with a fair evaluation and who can supply the best performing tools.

2. Setting an asking price that is too low or too high

Setting the asking price should not be taken lightly. Asking too much is as harmful as not asking enough. You have to know that the average buyer will visit 15 to 20 properties before making a decision.

If your property does not compare favourably to other ones in the same price range, potential buyers will not take you seriously. The results: your property will stay on the market longer and buyers will have the false impression that something is wrong with your property.

3. Choose a real estate broker that offers the best price

One of the oldest tricks in this business is to hold the promise of a “very good, almost too good” selling price. The contract is signed and then, the price is reduced. Inform yourself on the latest sales of properties similar to yours in the neighbourhood and find out the asking prices of your competitors. It’s not you or the broker that will buy the property but a potential buyer. The selling price will be determined only by the market.

4. Not adequately preparing your home for visits

The owner-seller controls the quality of the product and the listing real estate broker controls all marketing efforts. Each year, companies in North America spend billions of dollars preparing product presentations and designing packages. The look is vital. You can’t relocate your property and changing the layout is difficult and very expensive. You can improve your home’s look, however:

  • Clean until your home shines
  • Pick up, rearrange, replace and repair.

Correcting little imperfections might seem insignificant, but it can produce a very favourable first impression on the buyers who could already imagine themselves living in your property. The decision to buy a property is more emotional than logical. Let the buyer visit as he/she pleases and ensure he/she feels comfortable doing so.

5. Miscommunicating information about your home to potential buyers

One of the most important reasons to entrust the sale of your property to a real estate broker is to take advantage of his/her expertise in advertising and specialized marketing tools. Make sure your real estate broker is available and advertises in newspapers with the greatest advertising impact.

  • Let the real estate broker set up a “For Sale” sign
  • Do not limit the length of time the buyers can take to visit your property
  • Advertise your property in local newspapers
  • List your property on the Internet, ideally on a personalized web site

6. Putting undue pressure on buyers as they visit your home

Nobody likes being pressured, particularly when buying a property. Buyers could wonder why you are such in rush to sell.

If you follow the buyers in their steps while providing all kinds of details that seem important to you, such as a new water heater or a large pantry, you will make the buyer uncomfortable. Let the buyer discover the property on his/her own.

7. Hiding some of your home’s defects

As the owner-seller, make sure you disclose everything. The informed seller will take the lead and inform the buyer of any know defects that could impact the value of the property. Then, the buyer can fill in his/her offer to purchase with confidence and adjust his/her budget accordingly. This will facilitate the process of the inspection of the property.

8. Not knowing your buyer

Your objective is to control the pace of the negotiation process and, wherever possible, set a time limit. You must find out the buyer’s motivation:

  • Does he/she need to move soon?
  • Does he/she have the financial means to conclude the sale?

Knowing these factors, the negotiation will be to your advantage because you will know until what point you can insist to get what you want.

9. Not knowing your financial limits for your next home

Eighty percent of people sell their homes to buy another that is better suited to their needs. When you put your home on the market, clearly establish your objectives with your real estate broker and start doing your research.

Much like the sale process, you need to know where you stand with your purchase project. Deal with a mortgage broker to settle your financial obligations and get an interest rate that will be set for the next few months; doing so gives you more control during the negotiation process.