Top Home Seller Mistakes
Hot advice for a cold market
BY BRIAN FLOCK

1. Overpricing up front to ďnegotiateĒ later. Most sellers are not aware that agents compete to get listings because listings provide them with a competitive advantage. Listings end up being a low-cost source of advertising for the agent, regardless of the listing price. Thus, an agent can glean prospective buyers for their other properties from your listing. The agent is therefore motivated to obtain the listing at any price, even if it is not realistic. A homeowner who chooses an agent based on who offers the highest estimate of home value is making a big mistake. Unfortunately, few agents have the skill to educate the homeowner that the agentís marketing and skills are more important than a simple price number. Actual comparable home sale prices are the best indicator of a homeís value, but most homeowners do not take the time to require this information from the agent. If your home is offered at the wrong price, it will sit on the market for months and months, unsold. Even if an agent knows that they are taking an overpriced listing, they might think that they can persuade you to lower the price later. The problem is that interest in a home typically wanes after the first few weeks, and therefore a decreased number of buyers will view the home once the price finally drops. Price reductions are a painful way to adjust to an overpriced product. It is much better to generate substantial, early interest, and then have the choice of offers.

2. Using agents that practice exclusionary behavior. Incredibly, there are many agents that actively exclude potential buyers, even among members of the same real estate groups or agencies. This is especially true during a downturn of the real estate market as the community starts to fracture and the agents become more desperate. Loyalties wear thin and suddenly former partners become competitors, and they sometimes refuse to represent each otherís listings. In Baja, there are many Old School style agents that refuse to share their listings with other agents, even agents within their own real estate clubs. Such behavior is about those agentís personal differences with each other, and doesnít serve the home owners that want to sell right away or the serious buyers who are looking to buy. Insist that your listing agent represent your interests by opening up your home to all potential buyers.

3. Resistance to market changes. Todayís buyers are better educated and have less home equity to spend in Baja, due to downturns in the US market. Those that have the money to buy are requiring lowered prices and more buyer security. Despite this new reality, some agents have insisted that established buyer protections such as escrow not be used in a transaction, saying that this is the sellerís requirement. Both homeowners and agents should adapt to reality, and recognize that safety mechanisms offer comfort to the buyer. Buyers drive the market, and serving them ultimately serves everyone.

Are you a true seller? If so, be sure to price right, use an agent that cooperates with all others, and adapt to the changing markets.

Brian Flock is degreed and certified broker in Mexico real estate. Founder of the Baja Fair Trade registry (www.bajafairtrade.com), he may be contacted at brian@bajaoceanrealty.com, www.bajaoceanrealty.com, or (619) 793-5224.

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