Sellers: Make No Mistake About It…Experience Matters

by Gary and Lisa Schoeffler on May 28, 2014

in Latest News

Selling your home can be extremely time-consuming and emotionally draining.  Strangers come into your home, look in your closets and cabinets, then criticize a place that has become a lot more than four walls and a roof to you.  To top it off, they offer you less money than you think your home is worth.  Without extensive experience on their side, sellers often make a lot of mistakes. Learn how working with an experienced real estate team can help you get you the highest price possible.

Mistake No.1 – Getting Emotionally Involved

Undoubtedly, you’ve created many memories in your home, making it a very emotional investment.  By training yourself to think of the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you’ll be able to distance emotionally and focus on the business of selling your home.

In addition, try to remember that buyers are also making an emotional decision and are looking to purchase a dream and a lifestyle. This will help you create an image, and put the extra effort in to staging and making minor renovations to get top dollar.

An experienced agent can help you focus your efforts and recommend which changes will have the greatest impact on your potential sales price, based on their experiences.  These changes will also help you emotionally distance from your home, as it will feel less familiar.

Mistake No.2 – Not Hiring an Agent

 According to the National Association of Realtors, sellers who sell their own homes usually get 11% under market value.  An experienced agent will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home, thus increasing your odds of a quick sale. An agent also helps take the emotion out of the process by interacting directly with potential buyers so you don’t have to, and eliminate those who want to look at your property, but have no intention of buying.

An agent also has more experience negotiating home sales than you do, helping you get more money than you could on your own. Further, if any problems come up during the process – and, most often, they do – an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork, including disclosures, local requirements, which vary from city to city, and issues involved in real estate transactions.  They can help make sure the process goes smoothly.

Mistake No.3 – Setting an Unrealistic Price

Setting the right asking price is key to selling your home.  Too high of a price can render your home uncompetitive. Too low and you may miss out on a larger profit.  An agent who has years of experience in a particular market will know the right price, as well as the most competitive strategy for attaining a higher one.  Bottom line, the more experience the agent has, the more opportunity to protect your equity.

Mistake No.4 – Expecting To Get Over Your Asking Price

Any smart buyer will try to negotiate, and you’ll have to play the game. Most people want to list their homes at a price that will attract buyers while still leaving some breathing room for negotiations. This will allow the buyer to feel like he or she is getting a good value and allow you to get the amount of money you want from the sale. An experienced agent will know when to push, and when to accept.  In addition, a good agent will know how to negotiate the best terms, which can be equally as important as the sales price.

Mistake No.5 – Skimping on Listing Photos and Online Marketing

Most buyers search for homes online, and many of them have quality photos that take the buyer through an experience with that home.  You’ll be doing yourself a real disservice if you don’t offer photos and a strong online presence as well. By the same token, there are so many poor photos of homes for sale that if you do a good job, it will set your listing apart and help generate extra interest. An experienced agent will have embraced the evolving high tech real estate market and will know how to leverage it.  He/she will use a professional photographer, and know how to syndicate your listing to multiple websites.  Syndication ensures your home shows up on numerous home search sites.  For example, we pay for our sellers’ homes to be a featured showcase listing on, as well as published to over 300 websites.  Be sure to work with an agent who uses the internet to professionally market your home.

Mistake No.6 – Not Being Properly Insured

With the above-average number of people who will be on your property, you’ll want to make sure you are insured in case someone has an accident on the premises and tries to sue you for damages. You’ll also want to make sure that there are not any obvious hazards at the property, and that you take steps to mitigate them (i.e. keeping the children of potential buyers away from your pool, removing pets from your home during showings, marking steps clearly etc.).

Mistake No.7 – Trying to Hide Significant Problems

Any problem with the property will be uncovered during the buyer’s inspection, so there’s no use hiding it. Either fix the problem ahead of time, price the property below market value to account for the problem, or list the property accordingly. Realize that if you don’t fix the problem in advance, you may turn away a fair number of buyers who want a turnkey home. An experienced agent will recommend any necessary remediation that he/she sees, or recommend a team of professionals that can inspect your home prior to listing.  Having your home inspected before listing it is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises once the home is under contract.

Mistake No.8 – Not Preparing Your Home for Sale

Sellers who do not clean and stage their homes are throwing money down the drain. If you can’t afford to hire a professional, that’s OK – there are many things you can do on your own. Failing to do these things will not only reduce your sale price, but may also prevent you from getting a sale at all. For example, if you haven’t attended to minor issues like a broken doorknob, a potential buyer may wonder whether the house has larger, costlier issues that haven’t been addressed. An experienced agent will point out areas that need work, even areas where you’ve grown accustomed and are now immune to, but are costly in a showing. Decluttering, cleaning thoroughly, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls and getting rid of any odors will also help you make a good impression on buyers.

Mistake No.9 – Not Accommodating Potential Buyers

If someone wants to view your home, you need to accommodate this person, even if it is inconvenient for you. And yes, you have to clean and declutter the house before every single visit. A buyer won’t know and won’t care if your house was clean last week if it isn’t clean when he or she views it. It’s a lot of work, but stay focused on the prize.

Mistake No.10 – Signing a Purchase Contract With an Unqualified Buyer

It’s more than reasonable to expect a buyer to bring a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender (or proof of funds for cash purchases) showing that he or she has the ability to buy the home. Signing a contract with a buyer whose purchase of your home is contingent on the sale of his or her own property may also put you in a serious bind if you need to close by a particular date.  An experienced agent can request this on your behalf, and will recognize the most financially credible buyer to avoid any issues with escrow and closing.

Mistake No.11-Dismissing the First Offer

 There’s a common phrase in real estate, ‘the first offer is usually the best’. Sellers who dismiss the first offer in hopes of gaining more, usually end up with less. Momentum slows, and interest in the property doesn’t grow.  Don’t discount the first offer, instead, allow your agent to get you the best terms and price possible.  An agent will know, based on past experience and market conditions, if there’s room to negotiate for more, or accept the offer.


Even if you do all of these things when selling your home, it’s best to prepare mentally and financially for less-than-ideal scenarios. Your house may sit on the market for far longer than you expect, unforeseen issues in escrow can stall the closing, and difficult buyers can cause emotional ups and downs.  Working with a real estate team that has encountered many of these issues, over numerous transactions, will help minimize and overcome these scenarios.  Experience really matters…especially if you are looking to garner a timely, maximum profit on the sale of your home.

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Post by Gary and Lisa Schoeffler

Gary and Lisa Schoeffler are Ventura Real Estate Professionals specializing in residential real estate. Their expertise in helping both buyers and sellers is widely recognized in Ventura County. How can they assist you today? Wondering what the market is like? Call them, they will be happy to talk with you about it. 805-320-4472

Gary and Lisa has written 371 articles.

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