Selling a house is a huge financial transaction entailing a long and complicated process. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong and for sellers to make costly mistakes. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With some planning and knowledge, along with a good measure of objectivity, most of the mistakes home sellers make can be avoided. With that in mind, we want to make you aware of – so that you can avoid – the top 4 mistakes home sellers make in Los Angeles.
1. Not Pricing for a Sale
Setting an unrealistic price just may be the number-one mistake home sellers make in Los Angeles. The problem arises because sellers often don’t make the necessary distinction between what they want for their house and what it’s actually worth on the market. Sellers have to hit that pricing “sweet spot” between leaving too much money on the table and risking no sale at all. Their pricing guide should the fair market value, “which refers to how a home is valued when both the buyer and seller are reasonably knowledgeable about the property and neither is under any pressure to sell.”
Typically, fair market value is arrived at by means of a comparative market analysis, which is based primarily on “homes with similar sizes and features that have sold near you. These comparable sales, also referred to as ‘comps,’ are what many real estate agents use to suggest a listing price. The challenge is that no two camps are the same so you’d need to account for each difference between home features to be accurate. This is often called making adjustments, and it’s incredibly hard to do manually.”
This difficulty is the reason why most sellers need the services of a qualified local real estate agent who is knowledgeable about local markets. To find out more about how an agent can help you price to sell, call 562-881-9811.
2. Underestimating Selling Costs
Another of the mistakes home sellers make in Los Angeles is failing to take into account or underestimating the cost of selling. For selling a home isn’t all money in your pocket – there are some significant costs involved.
For example, the “total cost to sell a home can amount to much more than the 5-6% in agent commissions most people expect to pay. When you account for closing costs, repairs, and other concessions to the buyer, the costs of selling can be closer to 10% of the sale price.” In addition, if you move into your new home before selling your old one, you may wind up having to pay on two mortgages simultaneously. Or if your home sells sooner than you expected, you may have to rent a place to stay till you purchase your new home.
So, in order to keep the costs of selling as low as possible, consult your local agent to determine the best way to sell for your particular circumstances. Your agent can also help you negotiate a better sale price to help offset the costs of selling.
3. Failing to Prepare
A common one of the mistakes home sellers make in Los Angeles is failing to properly prepare their home for sale, which can dramatically impact the sale price. The goal is to make your home as appealing to buyers as possible, and this means chiefly-decluttering, cleaning, painting, making at least minor repairs, and staging. Many sellers are too busy or wait too long to do a good job of preparing their home. But they shouldn’t.
According to experts in the real estate industry, “the cleaner, less cluttered, and more well-decorated your home is, the more appeal it can have. . . . [C]lutter can make your home appear smaller and make it more difficult for buyers to picture themselves living in your home. In fact, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than those that aren’t staged.”
A major mistake sellers often make in this regard is concentrating on the inside of the home and neglecting the outside. But curb appeal is hugely important because it creates the critical first impression that makes buyers want to see more.
4. Making Poor Agent Selection
A mistake sellers make in Los Angeles that can sometimes be disastrous lies in choosing the wrong agent – one who is simply not good enough or doesn’t understand the local market or isn’t looking out for their best interests. Before selecting an agent, be sure to “[c]heck their licensing and credentials, talk with past clients, and make sure they have plenty of experience selling in your particular area and price point.” Some of the important considerations include:
- Marketing plan
- Negotiation expertise
- Willingness to communicate
- Competing current listings