Saturday, May 03, 2008

3 Ways Sellers Sabotage Their Sales

The current real estate climate here in Southern California has changed considerably, as we all know. It is a buyers’ market now, just like it was a sellers’ market a short time ago. These days, there are fewer qualified buyers, lower house prices and more inventory. Somehow, though, many sellers have just not gotten the message, no matter how loudly it has been broadcast. If you’re a seller, here’s what not to do.

1. Price your home according to what you “need” to get in proceeds
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “If we price it that low, we won’t have the money to buy a new house.” Or, “We need to get X amount of dollars because…well, we just need to.” What a seller needs to get and what a home is worth in any market are two different things. I’d love for you to make a fortune off your sale and retire, but that’s probably not going to happen, and you need to price your home according to your local market now. To price your house correctly, look at comparable sales. “Comps” are those sales closest in time (no more than 90 days old), closest in size/amenities, and closest in distance. Then, listen to advice from broker caravans and also see how many showings you’re getting. The less showings means the more over-priced you are. The sooner you adjust your price to reflect the market, the more likely you are to get maximum proceeds. The longer you wait to appropriately price your home, the less likely you are to realize profits in a declining market.

2. Assume that the Condition of your Home Doesn’t Matter.
It’s tempting to think that buyers with vision will see past your home’s defects. Nope. They can’t and they won’t. Buyers these days are very educated. Buyers are watching the fix-up shows on HGTV, visiting model homes, going to open houses, and looking at beautiful interior shots on the internet. You’re competing with other homes, so please do what you can to make your home show really well, starting with the outside. I’m not asking for a remodel, just garden, clean, clear, paint, contemporize and repair if necessary. See my showing tips page for ideas.

3. Refuse to Work with Offers.
As a seller, you may receive offers that you think are too low. Don't get mad. You’re probably right – it is too low. But I’ve heard several rationales for dropping an offer: “We haven’t been on the market long enough,” and “Those buyers don’t realize how nice this house is,” etc., etc. If the buyers didn’t really like your home, they wouldn’t have put in an offer in the first place – and these days, they have plenty of choices. They, too, want a good deal, and are probably willing to negotiate. You’ll never know what that offer can work into unless you submit a counter offer, or two, or five. Don’t let your pride get in the way of a sale – work with every offer that comes your way. You can’t win unless you get into the game.


  1. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Judy, you're right on as usual! Both buyers and sellers, need to realize that it's not 2006 or even 2007 anymore, and that things have changed drastically in terms of home values (on paper, anyway), so people need to, as teenagers say, Get Real!

  2. Anonymous12:17 PM

    3 Ways agents sabotage their sales.

    1) List overpriced properties.

    2) List overpriced properties.

    3) List overpriced properties.

    You look at the MLS and see the huge number of overpriced listings and realize that each has a listing agent for them. You realize just how many bad agents there are out there.