Myth #1: You
should always price your home high and gradually lower it if it
Truth: Pricing too high can be as bad as pricing too low.
You may think by
listing high you can always accept a lower offer, but if you do,
you'll miss the buyers looking in the price range where your home
should be. Offers may not even come in, because interested buyers
are scared off by the price and won't bother to look. By the time
the listing price is corrected, you will have lost a large group
of potential buyers. Your real estate agent will offer you a
comparable market analysis. This is a document that compares your
home to other similar homes in your area, with the goal of helping
you to accurately assess your home's true market
Myth #2: Minor
repairs can wait until later. There are more important things to
Truth: Minor repairs make your house more marketable, allowing
you to maximize your return (or minimize loss) on the sale.
By and large, buyers are looking for an inviting home in move-in
condition. Buyers who are willing to tackle the repairs after
moving in automatically subtract the cost of needed fix-ups from
the price they offer. You save nothing by putting off these items,
and you may likely slow the sale of your home.
Myth #3: Once potential buyers see the inside of your home,
curb appeal won't matter.
Truth: Buyers probably won't make it to the inside of the home
if the outside of your home does not appeal to them.
Many buyers drive by a home before deciding whether or not to look
inside. Your home's exterior will have less than a minute to make
a good first impression. Spruce up the lawn, trim shrubs and
trees, and weed the garden. Clear the walkways and driveways of
leaves and other debris. Repair gutters and eaves, touch up the
exterior paint and repair or resurface cracked driveways and
sidewalks. Place potted flowers out front, hang a wreath on the
door and put out a pleasing welcome mat for added curb appeal.
Myth #4: Once potential buyers fall in love with the exterior look
of your home, you put interior improvements on the back burner.
Truth: Buyers have no qualms about walking right out the front
door within 60 seconds if the house doesn't look like it could be
Remember that most buyers are looking for an inviting home in
move-in condition. Spending a few thousand dollars for the right
work on your home before you sell it, usually translates into a
higher selling price and shorter marketing time. Your real estate
agent will consult with you about the repairs and replacements
that will benefit you most.
Myth #5: Your home must be every homebuyer's dream home.
Truth: If you get carried away with repairs and replacements to
your home, you may end up over-improving the house.
At some point, improvements that you make to your home can exceed
what is customary for comparable homes in your area. For instance,
there may not be another swimming pool in your entire subdivision.
After spending $20,000 to install an in-ground swimming pool that
you hope will lure buyers, you may find that it only raises the
market value of your home by $10,000 because there are no other
comparable properties to support the market value of the pool. As
a rule of thumb, if your improvements push your home's value
higher than 20% above average neighboring home values, don't
expect to recoup the entire amount of improvements. Your real
estate agent can advise you as to the scope of projects you might
consider in preparing your house for sale.
Myth #6: Buyers are never swayed by sellers that offer creative
Truth: By offering flexibility in financing options, you may
lure more prospective buyers.
You might consider offering seller financing, paying some of the
buyer's closing costs, including a one-year home warranty, or
other buyer incentives. Your real estate agent, who has
professional knowledge of local market activity, can help you
decide what incentives, if any, to offer.
Myth #7: You're better off selling your home on your own and
saving the commission you would have paid to a real estate agent.
Truth: Statistically, many sellers who attempt to sell their
homes on their own cannot complete the sale without the service of
a professional real estate agent.
Sellers who sell their home without a real estate agent often net
less from the sale than sellers who use one. You visit a doctor
when you’re sick and take your car to a mechanic when it needs
repairs. It makes sense to contact a real estate professional when
you are preparing to sell your biggest asset!
Myth #8: Good sellers should be available to guide prospective
buyers through the home, giving the whole process a more personal
Truth: Prospective buyers will feel more like the house could
be theirs if the current owners are not there.
The presence of homeowners during a viewing can make buyers feel
like they are intruding. They need to be able to visualize your
house as their home, which can be difficult to do when they are
acutely aware that it is still your home. Your real estate agent
will be happy to look out for your home during open houses or