Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the Seattle real estate market is on fire. This dramatic seller’s market , with buyers fighting for homes, should make selling a home in Seattle a no brainer right? But you can still screw up selling a home in the Seattle area if you make one or more of these mistakes.
Home Selling Mistake #1
Working With The Wrong Agent
Most articles on real estate put “picking an agent” at the bottom of their list of home selling mistakes. They do this because they follow it up with their pitch to use their services. I’m putting “pick a great agent” at the top of the list because it is so vitally important. Working with the right real estate broker will safeguard you against all of the other mistakes you might make.
The subject of choosing the right real estate broker for you can be very involved. Here are the two key things to look for in a listing broker, experience in selling real estate and that they work full time at it. Over the years I’ve had the “pleasure” of working with a number of inexperienced or part-time real estate agents. It isn’t generally a pleasant experience. When the real estate market is moving fast, you need a real estate broker that is focused on getting results for you, not their “other job”.
Home Selling Mistake #2
Overpricing Your Home
One of the biggest dangers of selling a home in Seattle right now is getting caught up in the money grab which results overpricing your home. It may seem logical to price your home above market if prices are steeply rising, but it is a fatal mistake.
This isn’t to say that you might not find a buyer if your overprice your home, but it reduces the number of people that see it and probably will end up costing you money in the long run.
When a buyer starts looking for homes they have a budget in mind, usually with some room to go up. For example, let’s say that $500,000 is their target price. They know because it is a seller’s market that they may need to go up to be competitive, so have budgeted and additional $50,000 for escalation.
Let us also suppose that you have put your house up for sale at $550,000. Your real estate broker’s numbers say that its current market value is $495,000, but you are hoping to cash in on the competitive market.
Our example buyer who has $550,000 in purchasing power will likely never see your home. While they can afford it, they are aware of the market as well and are aiming lower than your home’s price, so they have room to come up and be competitive.
Additionally, agents are less likely to show your home. Active, experienced agents know what homes are selling for. They will avoid properties that are obviously over-priced. Unless of course their client is looking to make low-ball offers in the hopes of getting a deal.
Pricing your home at the current market value is in fact likely to get you a higher selling price in the long run. If in the first week on the market, your home is seen by as many people as possible, you are more likely to get into a competitive bidding situation.
Home Selling Mistake #3
Not Staging Your Home
“The market is on fire, people are fighting for homes” is what you may be hearing, but if you want top dollar, you still have to stage your home.
Even in a seller’s market, having a home in top condition will put more money in your pocket at closing. Buying a home is an emotionally based event. Having buyers fall in love with your house when they walk in will help justify the extra money they will spend to purchase it.
The subject of staging homes for sale is a island unto itself, but the key elements are to have everything clean, painted and de-cluttered. I often suggest moving out half of people’s furniture and belongings prior to going on the market.
Selling Homes That Need Lots Of Work
One caveat to this, are homes that are in need of lots of updating and repairs. If a property is in need of major repairs or upgrades, it is often times better to go to market in that condition than to fully remodel. This is something to discuss with your real estate broker. In some cases, it makes sense to simply clean and stage a home, and put it up for sale, letting the new owners do the upgrades to their liking. It will come down to a cost VS potential value increase on whether certain repairs are necessary prior to sale.
Home Selling Mistake #4
Picking The Wrong Offer
Probably the most important thing you can do when selling a home in Seattle right now is pick the right offer.
You and your real estate broker will have to discuss what is important to you and the strengths of each of offer that comes in. If you have multiple offers on the table at the same time, this is an especially crucial step. Whether the buyers are all cash, have financing, need inspections, have contingencies and how likely they are to follow through all play into your decision.
A prime danger is if you pick the wrong offer is whether they will finish the transaction. I’ve seen several situations where cash buyers are making offers on multiple houses, looking to see which one they get, or even backing out of a deal mid-stream because one of their other offers got accepted. Cash is not always king if the deal doesn’t close. So don’t be to hasty in disregarding offers with financing.
This is one spot where working with an experienced agent will be very beneficial.
Selling A Home In Seattle Can Still Be Tricky
Despite it being a seller’s market, selling a home in Seattle, and the area around it, still has its challenges. If you have questions about putting your Seattle area house on the market please
give me a call at 425-773-3149 or email me directly to set up a time for us to meet and discuss your particular situation. You can also fill out the form below for faster service!