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Avoid these common seller mistakes

Published: Friday, July 12, 2013 12:40 p.m. CDT

Now that home prices have been rising, and buyers are getting off the sidelines (particularly as interest rates creep up), you may be more inclined to list your home — finally! Just make sure you do it the right way:

Price home to sell

A recent poll shows that 75 percent of homeowners think their agent’s listing price is too low! If you’re trying to cash in on the momentum that’s been building, and you think that a higher price is the answer, think again. It could ultimately slow down the deal! It’s better to price the home in line with comps and generate initial interest and attention. Then, if the market takes it higher in the form of multiple offers, great! But if you overprice it to begin with, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, as you’ll likely get less than fair market value.

Think: Web appeal

Don’t make the mistake of glamming up your home before the open house. Rather, do it right before you post your listing online, as that’s where 90 percent of buyers start their search — on the Web! — and if they don’t like what they initially see, it’s onto the next house, no questions asked.

Professional photos sell!

The bottom line is that low-quality photos make bad first impressions. Use only high-quality, high-resolution photos to showcase your house. And more and more people are searching for homes via mobile devices, so make sure your photos look good on a smartphone. In June, 270 million homes were viewed on Zillow Mobile — that’s 104 homes per second. In fact, more homes are viewed via Zillow on a mobile device than on a desktop!

Choose the right agent

When it comes to selling your home — probably the most expensive thing you own — some sellers will hire a friend, a relative who does real estate part time or the agent who is asking for the lowest commission rate. Don’t be foolish. It’s really important that you go with someone who really cares about the transaction, knows how to attract qualified buyers, is a skilled negotiator and understands the complexities of contracts and paperwork. To find the best agent for you, check out agent reviews online — Zillow has published nearly 325,000 reviews of local agents by our users.

Consider early offers

Once a property is marketed, it typically gets attention right away — in the first few weeks! Eager buyers, weary of looking at the same old listings, will likely pounce, and perhaps even make an offer right away if your house meets their criteria. Don’t be spooked by early bids, hold out for better offers or second guess yourself, wondering if you should have asked for more. So long as the early offer comes in near the asking price, your property was priced correctly. Entertain the offer — even if comes as a total shock/surprise — and take it seriously. More often than not, that first offer turns out to the best one.

Related:

Vera Gibbons is a financial journalist based in New York City and is a contributor to Zillow Blog. Connect with her at http://veragibbons.com/.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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