Avoid Sabotaging Your Home Sale

As you prepare to sell your house, you may be tempted to engage in practices that could ruin your opportunity to get the best return on your investment. Here are some tips to come out on top.

Don’t rush the process
Selling a house can be nerve wracking, so it’s understandable when sellers jump at the first purchase offer. However, doing so removes the opportunity to see if other offers come in—and to negotiate.

If you receive an offer you don’t like, rather than rejecting it out of hand, I typically recommend making at least one counteroffer. If you’re in a multiple-offer situation, you can send a counter offer to all potential buyers explaining that they are competing and that you’d like their best offer so you can make a decision.

Years ago, a seller received multiple purchase offers, the first of which was an all-cash, full-price offer. You’d think the seller would simply accept that first offer and call it a day. However, the seller countered one of the lower offers to see if the second potential buyer would improve their offer. If the second potential buyer chose not to pursue it, the seller could always accept the first offer. The strategy worked well. The second buyer came back with an offer higher than the listed price and ended up purchasing the home.

Avoid emotional pricing
Another mistake sellers make is to let their ego or pride enter the pricing formula. I appreciate the incredible sentimental value homes can have. They’re where we raised our children; they’re where we lived when our significant other passed away. Parting with a beloved home is difficult, but it should not influence the pricing, marketing, or ultimate acceptance of an offer on the property.

Overpriced properties quickly become shopworn and lowering the price later does not create the same excitement as a new property on the market. When you set a realistic price, you generate healthy competition in the market and attract more serious buyers.

Consider concessions and avoid sticking to selling as-is
As a seller, you may be tempted to dismiss a buyer who asks for concessions like splitting closing costs, requesting a longer escrow period, or negotiating home repairs. Ask your Realtor about the chances that another offer will come in without concessions. If your house needs a new roof, consider reroofing before the close of escrow. This will allow the buyers to pay for a new roof over 30 years because the cost is included in the purchase price, which means they can use all their available cash on the down payment (and potentially qualify for a higher purchase price).

This idea of sticking to selling “as-is” might seem like less work for you, but it can also mean less profit. Either do the fixes or allow concessions (i.e., repairs during escrow), so buyers can finance those repairs with their home loan. Otherwise, you’re limiting the buyer pool to those with sufficient cash for a down payment and repair costs.

Don’t leave your pets home
If you have a dog or cat (or any pet), you should find them a new place to live while your house is for sale. At the very least, you should take them with you when you leave to allow prospective buyers to view your property. Animals smell and they shed—and while you may not notice, others will. And if you have an unfriendly dog, it can even put people at risk. None of these issues help you sell your house.

If you have questions about property management or real estate, please contact me at rselzer@selzerrealty.com or call (707) 462-4000. If you have an idea for a future column, share it with me and if I use it, I’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to Schat’s Bakery.

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