There are many myths and misconceptions among buyers and sellers regarding the real estate industry. Here I debunk a few of them.
- Selling your own home saves you money. – Actually, you might earn less for your home when you do a "for sale by owner". This can happen because you may not accurately price your home in the marketplace and ultimately leave money on the table. Negotiations can be difficult to navigate on your own as well. Typically you are too emotionally close to your own property to be able to make sound pricing and inspection related decisions, and not understanding the process can cost you money. An experienced real estate professional can help you avoid making these costly mistakes, plus they will save you time by allowing them to focus on the logistics, marketing, and the vetting of buyers. Allowing you to spend your valuable time focusing on your family, your job, or being productive. Leave it to an expert and think of the commission not as an expense but as a wise investment!
- All agents are market experts. – Not all agents are created equal. Ideally, you want to work with a top-producing experienced full-time agent who knows the market, has deep local area knowledge, a strong track record and good references. The agent you select will impact your wallet so choose carefully! Researching them online is a good place to begin.
- The agent who does the most business is the best agent. – Just because an agent seems to be doing all the business in a particular market, may not mean they are the best agent for you. Often the busiest agents are most concerned about their bottom line than providing good customer service. You may also end up working with their assistant instead of the agent you hired because they don't have time to spend with you. There are many good agents to choose from and you should interview agents to see whom you feel most comfortable with.
- Overpricing your home will help with negotiating the price you actually want. – Sometimes overpricing your home can turn away someone who would have been the perfect buyer for your home. Buyers will compare your overpriced home to other homes on the market and this will only help sell the homes that are correctly priced and improve their likability. It is proven that pricing a home closer to the market value is the best way to get you the highest sale price.
- You need to remove all family photos before showing your home to potential buyers. – Yes, it is true that if buyers see a ton of family photos, it is harder for them to imagine themselves in your home, but a few family photos here and there won't hurt. Seeing a few strategically placed family photos can help your home feel cozy, happy, and lived in. Too many photos, however, can be distracting and will make the house feel cluttered.
- When you sell your home, you will get back the cost of improvements made. – You may have made home improvements that increased your home's value, such as updating the kitchen, bathrooms, or installing hardwood floors. However, if the style or quality is not pleasing to the likely buyers of your home or the improvements made were very specific and custom, buyers may not see the value in those improvements. Additionally, if your home is over-improved for the neighborhood you may not get your money back when you sell.
- There is always room for negotiation. – This is not always true. If a house is priced right it will sell quickly, usually with little to no room for negotiation and sometimes houses go over the asking price. If you are making an offer make sure you know how long the house has been on the market and if there are any other offers on the table before deciding where to come in.
Co-author: Sabrina Ayoub