Four mistakes that will sink the sale of your home — and how to avoid them
Despite Indiana’s booming seller’s market, the fall-through rate on real estate purchases is at an all-time high. “What’s happening is buyers are forced into making very, very quick decisions,” says Jada Sparks, managing broker at Carpenter Realtors’ Anderson office. “They’re forced to walk into a house and make a decision in five minutes or they’ll lose the house. That sets a tone that makes the transaction much harder. The buyers get emotional, start to backtrack, start to question. It’s setting us up to start transactions on shakier ground.”
The seller can play a big role in helping shape that transaction. Here’s how to create a positive, secure interaction from the start.
Choose the right agent
Although homes are moving fast and sellers might feel they have all the leverage in today’s market, Sparks urges people to take their time selecting a real estate agent. “The truth is our market is booming, prices are up, homes are selling fast, but it’s a difficult process — maybe more than ever — to get from the time of listing to a successful close,” she says.
Find an agent familiar with the market, the neighborhood and your goals. The right agent will help you get the best price, to stage effectively and to understand and manipulate contracts to your advantage. The right agent has a comprehensive strategy that covers everything from pricing to marketing to closing, and will be able to navigate tricky negotiations, inspections and appraisals. One way to find a qualified neighborhood expert is to trust established agencies like Carpenter Realtors.
Don’t get emotionally involved
Selling a home can be an emotional process. But it’s still a business transaction, says Carpenter Broker Associate Jamie Hall. “Sometimes, in our world today, sellers have a bad taste in their mouth about the buyer because they asked for something during the inspection. I was emotional selling my house that I raised my kids in. But don’t get ticked at the buyer. It’s the nature of the relationship. They want the house in the best condition, to pay the least amount for it. And sellers want the opposite.
So, use that carefully hired agent to help navigate the emotions and handle the difficult decisions. And make sure to heed their advice!
Don’t wait for an offer to get your home inspected
Given that current values of Central Indiana homes are at some of their all-time highest levels, buyers have rightfully lofty expectations. Waiting for a buyer to conduct an inspection can derail even the smoothest transactions.
“You start to get into a time crunch, maybe you only have thirty days [to get the work done], or you don’t have time to get the job accomplished by closing,” Hall says. Rushed work and undisclosed problems with the home can lead to fall-throughs and even lawsuits down the line.
An easy way to avoid these hurdles is to conduct a pre-listing inspection. Hire a professional inspector and pay particular attention to parts of the home where you don’t usually spend time — attics and crawlspaces, for example. Look for defects, electrical issues or water leaks. Make sure the roof is up to date. This gives you plenty of time to fix major problems and to disclose smaller issues. It also builds trust with potential buyers, setting you up for an open, honest and streamlined sale.
No do-it-yourself updates
Today’s sellers are under a lot of pressure to keep homes updated and make sure properties are in their best possible condition, and buyers are more likely than ever to hold sellers accountable for lack of disclosure or shoddy work.
When getting ready to make those big fixes, the cost of hiring a professional contractor to do the work can be daunting. However, Hall says, “Condition is the number one thing that sellers need to be doing right. Get the home in the best condition possible, hire good people to do it, keep your receipts and disclose. This is not the time to be doing do-it-yourself projects.”