How to Avoid The 5 Most Expensive Mistakes Smart People Make When They Sell A Home

I recently wrote a post on a real estate related sight titled, “How to Avoid The 5 Most Expensive Mistakes Smart People Make When They Sell A Home”. The post received a massive amount of positive attention and comments.
Below I’m re-posting this blog post for all to see as I believe it provides a tremendous amount of value for those looking to sell their home.
Hope this helps!

Get out your notepad because today you’re going to learn something that take years and years of experience to accumulate. Some of these items are common sense; however, they are easily overlooked and can cost your tens of thousands of dollars.

Mistake #1 – Basing their asking price on needs or emotion rather than market value.

Many times, people make their pricing decisions based on how much they paid for or invested into their home. Others will base their asking price on what they owe on the property. This can be an expensive mistake. Overpriced homes take longer to sell and eventually net the seller less money. Consult with a professional real estate agent. They can assist you in pricing your home correctly from the beginning.

Mistake #2 – Failing to “Showcase” their home.

First impressions are worth more than you may think. What used to be an easy sale is much more difficult today. Why? Because the vast majority of today’s home buyers turn to the Internet to search for homes way before ever stepping foot in a home. This causes the way you advertise your home to change. Your first showing is no longer in-person, it’s online! Make sure you have professional photos taken of the home, and A LOT of them. Also, use video. Create a narrated or music video tour of the home (and neighborhood) to showcase it online. Also, experience shows that for every $100 in repairs that your home needs, a buyer will deduct $300-$500 from their offer. Therefore, you have to make sure these repairs a done before putting your house on the market. Thoroughly clean and prepare your home before you put it on the market if you want top dollar.

Mistake #3 – Trying to SELL their house when buyers come to see it.

One of the biggest mistakes enthusiastic home sellers make is to follow buyers around and try to SELL them on the property. This is most common amongst ambitious for-sale-by-owners. Professional real estate agents have figured this one out already. Let the buyer discover the home on their own. There is a lot of power in allowing the buyer to feel at home while you wait in the kitchen with more information. If you’re there when a buyer comes through, they will focus more on you and wondering why you’re selling, rather than the property, and how it would fit into their lives. The best thing you can do is to stay out of the way and let buyers look at their own pace. They’ll get a better feel for the property and whether the house is for them.

Mistake #4 – Choosing the wrong agent or choosing them for the wrong reasons.

Many homeowners list their home with the agent who tells them the highest price. Or they list with the agent who works for the biggest company or offers the lowest commission. You need to choose the agent with the best marketing plan and a specialty in your type of home or neighborhood. Never choose an agent because they’ll save you the most amount of money. If it’s too good to be true, then it’s probably not going to work out in the end.

Mistake #5 – Not knowing all of their legal rights and obligations.

Real estate law is complex and only getting more confusing to the average homeowner. The contract that you will sign when selling your home is legally binding. Small items that are neglected in the contract can wind up costing you thousands of dollars and sleepless nights. You need to consult with a knowledgeable professional who understands the ins and outs of the real estate transaction. Relying on a part-time agent could potentially harm you as they are not integrated into the position like a full-time agent.


Star Posted by Ron Reed on 05/07/2011 07:42 PM Comments (69) mistakes when selling a home, home selling, selling a house
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69 Comments on How To Avoid The 5 Most Expensive Mistakes Smart People Make When They Sell A Home…

MAY 07 2011

Ron,Excellent bog content.  Useful information to home sellers.  Best I have seen to date!
Linda Papallo 860 221-8600 Your Wethersfield CT Realtor SFR,CDPE (Century 21 Access America Licensed in CT)
7:51pm • #1


227,392 Points 25 Featured Posts Outside Blog Called Shot Master
Excellent guide. All sellers, especially FSBO sellers should read this.This post should not be restricted to “Members Only” and should be changed to “Public” so your end-consumer target audience can find it, too.
Dave Halpern – Louisville Short Sale Expert (Louisville Short Sale Expert Realtors (502) 664-7827)
7:54pm • #2


381,939 Points 1 Featured Post
Thanks for the post today.  This will be good to bookmark for future reference.Patricia/Seacoast NH  & ME
PATRICIA AULSON, REALTOR Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (PRUDENTIAL VERANI REALTY- Portsmouth NH Real Estate )
8:05pm • #3


Outside Blog
great post, i bookmarked it for my reference.
Virginia Dean- Realtor Visalia Concierge Real Estate (Keller Williams Tulare County)
8:30pm • #4


586,713 Points 16 Featured Posts Localism Sponsor Attended Rain Camp Called Shot Master
This is a great post and advice that should be shared with all prospective sellers.
Joan Whitebook Southern New Hampshire (BHG The Masiello Group)
9:03pm • #5


This is great information for anyone selling. It should not be for members only.
Alfonso Flores, GRI,ePRO, Associate Broker (Fairfax Realty)
9:09pm • #6


625,441 Points 24 Featured Posts Localism Sponsor Outside Blog Called Shot Master
I’d love to re-blog this one!  These are the insider’s (agents) tips every seller deserves to know.  We see these mistakes made over and over again.
Norma Toering Palos Verdes & Rolling Hills, CA Homes (REMAX Palos Verdes Realty Broker Associate Lic# 01147470)
9:20pm • #7


214,646 Points 3 Featured Posts Localism Sponsor Outside Blog Attended Rain Camp Called Shot Master
Ron — #1 is by far the biggest I encounter.  Just experienced it a few days ago.  Doesn’t matter what you COULD have gotten for the house a few years ago.  That was then…this is now.  What you paid has nothing to do with what the buyers will pay today.
Barbara Altieri, REALTOR® Connecticut Real Estate (Barbara Altieri, RealtyQuest, CT Homes and Real Estate)
9:58pm • #8


Nice post, this is good stuff!  Might have to make a handout with this and some more information.  Thanks for sharing.
Keith Bochner (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (Mountain Lakes, NJ))
10:06pm • #9

173,598 Points 4 Featured Posts Outside Blog Called Shot Master
Ron – good blog… so true and relevant. Gay
Gay E. Rosen (Houlihan Lawrence)
10:07pm • #10


Excellent blog. Wish I had this to give to a FSBO I spoke with today.
Carmella Hustoft (Keller Williams Western Realty)
10:21pm • #11


277,997 Points 12 Featured Posts Outside Blog Attended Rain Camp Called Shot Master
Ron, you are right about these things, it’s just so hard for so many people because homes are so tied to emotions.
Agent Aaron | Short Sale Specialist | 512-845-4204 | Austin MLS Listing Agent (Austin Texas Homes, LLC)
11:58pm • #12
MAY 08 2011


273,743 Points 37 Featured Posts Outside Blog Attended Rain Camp Called Shot Master
You make some great points, especially about pricing.  A lot of smart people think they’ve got all the facts only to realize that there’s more to this game than just a few numbers.  As for #3, I’ve seen clients do this and it can backfire.  Having the seller talk directly to the buyer can make the whole transaction much too personal during the negotiating phase.  After going into contract, it’s no problem.
Bryan Robertson, Los Altos REALTOR Los Altos Real Estate – Homes For Sale (Sereno Group – Los Altos)
12:10am • #13


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Great post! I wish more sellers realized this.
Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial)
12:17am • #14


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Excellent points!  #1 also resonates with me.  Yes, your home is nicer than those in the neighborhood which is why we are asking more than the comps show.  That doesn’t mean that  you will get that or someone will value what you value. I wish all sellers could understand that our goal is to get them the most money possible but to be competitive you need to price it right.
Tricia Hoffmann (Your Home Free)
12:43am • #15


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Sound professional advice presented in a well written, clear and concise manner. Thanks for posting.
George Bennett, Principal Broker, GRI, ABR (Neath The Wind Realty)
12:51am • #16


Spot on Ron – i especially relate to # 2Today is is essential to guide your sellers through the process of properly prepping the home for sale.  We’re no longer talking about calling in ‘professional’ stagers – we’re talking about the agent having the information of The Power of Staging® is a simple, logical process which enables the ‘stagent’ to work with their sellers in the best way to prepare a home.  Quality photography is definitely part of the equation.
Andy Capelluto (International School of Staging)
1:32am • #17


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Ron:I love your wording in #1.  If only sellers would realize the most import things they should consider when pricing their home are the comps.  They may think their house is the greatest in the world and it may be to them.  But buyers only think about what other homes in the area have sold for.  Then they start deducting for things that are not in the home but were in the comps.  Sellers must think rationally, not emotionally when pricing their home.
Evelyn Kennedy, Residential Real Estate Alameda, CA (Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California)
1:38am • #18


154,445 Points
Ron,  great post…will definitely add your points to my listing presentation…thanks  for sharing.
Ronald DiLalla (Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824)
3:06am • #19


809,405 Points 15 Featured Posts Outside Blog Called Shot Master
Great tips for home sellers. Many sellers base the price on their needs.
6:22am • #20


Excellent! Yes, open this blog to the public, too!
ResortQuest Real Estate of Florida, LLC
7:58am • #21


478,230 Points 36 Featured Posts Localism Sponsor Outside Blog Hit Router
These would be good tips for sellers… if only they could read them. You might want to change your AR subscription so it won’t just be “members only” post(or if you have already, go back and adjust this to “public”). Look at all the new clients you are missing out on. Just my 2 cents.
Lizette Fitzpatrick – Lexington KY MLS – Kentucky Homes – Horse Farms (Lizette Realty – Lexington KY – Richmond KY)
8:07am • #22


770,240 Points 17 Featured Posts Hit Router Called Shot Master
Excellent tips Ron.  And these are just a few important ones.  Plenty more for those that most need to know it.
Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Premier Realty Group)
8:46am • #23


541,844 Points 50 Featured Posts Outside Blog Attended Rain Camp
These are great tips for all sellers–not only the smart ones (LOL).
Melissa Zavala Realtor® North San Diego County Homes (Broadpoint Properties)
9:35am • #24


217,926 Points 2 Featured Posts Outside Blog Hit Router Attended Rain Camp Called Shot Master
Nice post, I will save this one and send it out to a few clients
Ken Rosengren Broker (360.609.0226) Vancouver, Clark County Homes for Sales (Ken’s Home Team at Keller Williams)
10:06am • #25


267,474 Points 27 Featured Posts Outside Blog
Selling 101….yet there are people who don’t get a passing grade and have to re-take the course…good stuff
Richie Naggar Ran Right Realty Riverside, Ca
10:20am • #26


444,962 Points 10 Featured Posts Outside Blog Called Shot Master
Ron, very good points and tips. Emotions often get in the way of progress. Thanks.
Michael Setunsky (Michael’s Commercial LLC)
10:36am • #27


Ron, good information. I will definitely bookmark.
Stacey Clark (Century 21 Judge Fite Company)
11:38am • #28


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H Ron, Very nice post. You look way too young to have so much wisdom. Good job!
Sandi Nichols, Realtor Oxnard Homes for Sale (Prudential California Realty)
3:41pm • #29


682,538 Points 64 Featured Posts Outside Blog Attended Rain Camp Called Shot Master
Great points there Ron. Congratulations on the feature Ron!
Erica Ramus – Realty Executives / Pottsville PA Real Estate
7:55pm • #30


2 Featured Posts Outside Blog
Pricing and Staging – highly important!!! Producing Realtors know this but a whole lot of Sellers need to read this….please, re-blog for the public and help us educate those delusional seller….
Gina Nugent RE Agent in Miami Beach, FL (Seiss Realty in Miami Beach and Palm Beach, FL)
8:25pm • #31


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Ron – There are definitely many mistakes a seller can make when selling their home, and you have highlighted several of the important ones.
Christine Donovan Costa Mesa CA Homes Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 (Donovan Blatt Team – Donovan Group Realty)
10:51pm • #32


Great post – concise and clear.  I’m ready to share with sellers!
Susan McLaughlin (Keller Williams Realty)
10:59pm • #33
MAY 09 2011


153,146 Points 3 Featured Posts Outside Blog
Very good basic information! Thank you for sharing it!
SaraMana Properties: Sarasota & Manatee Counties Florida
1:48am • #34


Outside Blog
Ron….Excellent, well written post.  These are all significant areas to be concerned with.#4 is often a mystery.  Go figure?
Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore)
8:37am • #35


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All good stuff to share with our existing and potential clients.  Great post.
Bob Zorechak – Sells Homes in Morris/ Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ 908-267-2465 (Keller Williams Towne Square Realty)
9:57am • #36


311,342 Points 3 Featured Posts Localism Sponsor Outside Blog Called Shot Master
Love it! I agree with Howard and Susan above, just do not get why sellers pick the agent they do. Loyalty may come into it.
Corinne Guest – Barrington Real Estate – Broker-Buyers Agent-Luxury Homes (Royal Advocate Realty-Barrington Village)
9:59am • #37


104,105 Points 5 Featured Posts Called Shot Master
Nice job Ron…It is funny…when a Seller hears their agent tell them these things…they just think oh yeah…whatever.But when they see it from other agents who they ddo not know…they tend to believe their agent is right.Although I no longer sell houses, only farms, I still use a Honey-DO list for cleaning up and fixing up the fence or sheds or pivot or ditches…Same concepts apply as in your post.
Mike McCann – Broker Nebraska Land For Sale Farm Specialist – 308-627-3700 (Mike McCann – Broker, Kearney, Nebraska)
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10:24am • #38


248,825 Points 17 Featured Posts Localism Sponsor Outside Blog Hit Router Called Shot Master
Ron, a lot of great points here. I see people make a mistake on #2 as pictures sell a home or at least create showings. There are simply too many bad photos out there.
Dan and Amy Schuman- Cleveland OH Luxury Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Greater Cleveland)
11:22am • #39


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I thought the statistics about repairs was interesting.  Never heard that one before.  Does that hold for updating as well?  For every $100 in needed updating means they offer $500 less?
Marsha Cash (RE/MAX Advantage)
11:38am • #40


407,850 Points 4 Featured Posts Outside Blog
Excellent advice.  So many people do not get these points.  Espcially the photos.  A lot of agents are simply lazy or cheap and will not spring for getting a professional in there to make the home look great.
Rob Arnold, metro Orlando full service, investor friendly & foreclosure Realtor (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.)
11:43am • #41


1 Featured Post Outside Blog Called Shot Master
#3 is a great point.  Sellers feel like they are doing a service walking around during the showing and telling them everything about the house and in many cases the buyers want to just be able to look themselves and feel uncomfortable with the seller looking over their shoulder.  Also, it typically takes a lot longer too and buyers with other things to do or other homes to see can get put off by the extra time, especially if they’ve already made a decision about the house.
John & Kasey Boles Boise, Meridian, Ada/Canyon/Gem Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, Boise ID)
11:56am • #42


142,784 Points
Very well done blog Ron… good for you…
Kathy Knight, BROKER, ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR Wilmington NC homes and beach homes (Intracoastal Realty Corp)
11:59am • #43


232,178 Points 4 Featured Posts Outside Blog Called Shot Master
Excellent post, Ron! Every point is valid–now if we could just get sellers to believe each one!
Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900 Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty)
12:12pm • #44


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Wish I could bat my sellers over the head with #1 – they never seem to look at the buyer’s perspective.
Matthew Coates Phoenix, AZ homes for sale (West USA Realty Revelation)
12:30pm • #45


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Amen to all points! You nailed it in few words.
Sylvia Jonathan – Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties)
12:35pm • #46


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“Basing their asking price on needs or emotion rather than market value.”Probably the most important point in your list Ron.  – Joe :)
Joe Lane 509.438.9344 (Kennewick Richland (and West) Pasco WA Homes For Sale)
12:55pm • #47


Excellent post Ron. Thanks for the condensed version!
Kate Woolley DRE#01435106 (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Mason-McDuffie)
1:06pm • #48


1 Featured Post Outside Blog
I love that $100 to $300 or $100 to $500 ratio about repair costs vs sales loss. That can be used effectively with homeowners to illustrate the importance of proper presentation.  Yes, I would love to reblog this one.
Beverly Femia -Serving the NC Coast from Brunswick to Onslow County (Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty)
1:29pm • #49


1 Featured Post Outside Blog Called Shot Master
Well done version of this!
Brenda & Ron Cunningham, Realtors® Phoenix Metro Homes for Sale (West USA Realty)
1:41pm • #50


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Short and to the point but willed with a wisdom many times it size.  Excellently executed…many thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.
Judi Monday, CRS –Green Valley AZ Expert (RE/MAX Valley Properties)
1:44pm • #51


Unfortunately, most people take the path of least resistance…doing nothing, and hope that someone will come along and like it just the way it is…orange walls and all.  It’s become an excuse that “nothing’s selling in this market or this neighborhood”. Thank you for your post….Carolyn Huggins
Carolyn Huggins (Between Home Stages, LLC-Winston-Salem, NC)
2:51pm • #52


347,947 Points 12 Featured Posts Outside Blog Attended Rain Camp Called Shot Master
Great advice and excellent post!
Kathy Schowe ~e-pro~ La Quinta, California (Intero Desert Cities, La Quinta California)
3:07pm • #53


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Ron- Thanks for the great post. Excellent advice to give to sellers.
Debbie Espinoza GRI, Broker ePro, SFR, CNE (Stage Presence Homes, San Diego Real Estate)
3:13pm • #54


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But Ron, my house IS worth more than all the others in the neighborhood, because with the aging population more folks are looking for single story living, and I have it while everyone else has either upstairs or basements (if not split levels).   You are so right about these being major problems for sellers, and as mentioned by commenters #2, 5, 6, 21 and others, this really should be open to the public to read as well.
Steven Cook (MLO #293441) Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, King Counties (Cherry Creek Mortgage 12202 Pacific Ave #A,Tacoma, WA)
3:25pm • #55


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You’re right about pricing. That’s one of the hardest things to explain to sellers. Providing them with an objective point of view is vital.
Patric Santo Pietro (Prudential New Jersey Properties)
5:06pm • #56


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Great info.  I touch on these topics with sellers on the listing appt.
Jennifer Manchester, GRI, ePro, ASP (Suburban Properties of Charlotte, LLC )
5:36pm • #57


151,965 Points 4 Featured Posts
Great advice to sellers, especially #3!
Colorado Springs Realty Patricia Beck (Re/Max Real Estate Group, GRI, CDPE)
7:11pm • #58


254,447 Points 17 Featured Posts Outside Blog Called Shot Master
Great advice! If you want top dollar for a house it has to look like a top dollar house. When you put your home on the market, you are entering it in a beauty contest. The best looking homes sell first and usually for the highest price!
Michelle Minch Home Staging Los Angeles & Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA)
7:55pm • #59


183,172 Points 1 Featured Post Outside Blog
Great post Ron!  Numbers 1-3 say exactly what I’ve been telling my sellers.  I so wish this wasn’t members only and I could send it to them so they hear it from other agents as well.
DeeDee Riley El Dorado Hills Realtor (916)225-2719 (Lyon Real Estate – El Dorado Hills CA)
11:51pm • #60
MAY 10 2011


Outside Blog
Great tips.  Thanks for sharing.
Deva Kaumba (Rice Property Management & Realty)
2:20am • #61


Outside Blog
Great tips.  Thanks for sharing.
Deva Kaumba (Rice Property Management & Realty)
2:20am • #62


Outside Blog
Ron – Made a great case for a person to use a professional to help market their home.
2:38am • #63


268,695 Points 28 Featured Posts Called Shot Master
Ron, I read your post and tried to decide which point was the most important. Couldn’t do it – they all are!
Marte Cliff (Marte Cliff Copywriting)
2:38am • #64


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Love your points here!  Mistake #1 is such a biggie!  Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
Rhonda Abbott ~ Wadsworth, OH (Howard Hanna)
11:09am • #65


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Great points! And so true! Sometimes what a Seller can think is a good motivation, can be their worst enemy for selling the home
Sylvie Johnson Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment (Keller Williams Check Realty)
11:30am • #66


101,165 Points 1 Featured Post Localism Sponsor Outside Blog Attended Rain Camp
Very good points! Would love to re-blog this one as well.
Julie Baldino Realtor Vancouver WA Homes For Sale (Windermere Community Realty)
1:18pm • #67


612,291 Points 4 Featured Posts Localism Sponsor Outside Blog Called Shot Master
This is a very good post with some basics for Sellers and I am going to reblog it.  Thanks for the post.
Gene Riemenschneider East Contra Costa Home Sales 01492725 (Home Point Real Estate)
9:54pm • #68


166,475 Points 21 Featured Posts Outside Blog Called Shot Master
This is a great list – you’ve got all my personal favorites!  Well done.
Karen Bernetti (Staging4Smooth Transitions Connecticut Home Staging)