Pasadena, CA – Top 10 Seller Mistakes

I have always believed that real estate is strictly a LOCAL business.  To this day, I am flabbergasted by the local Pasadena news media writing and panicking about national real estate trends.  What does that have to do with Pasadena home sales?  Very little! 

The real estate market in and around Pasadena, California has been pretty steady.  It’s not as hot as it used to be, but we’re definitely seeing a shift to a more balanced market.

Buyers are being more cautious and are taking a little more time to find the home of their dreams.  Sellers are begining to be a bit more realistic about how fast their home will sell and for what price.Is this a good thing?  Yes! 

Pasadena home prices could not have sustained the 20% to 25% increases in home values for much longer.  The fact that the prices are stabilizing at more reasonable 5% to 7% increases is great for everyone involved.This list of the top ten mistakes are geared towards you, the potential seller.  Selling a home can and still is quite profitable in today’s changing market. 

So here you go… my list of the top 10 mistakes that I see sellers make today:

MISTAKE #1:  FSBO (For Sale By Owner) – Can you sell your home yourself?  Certainly… thousands of people across the country do it everyday.  Can you sell your home for top dollar, with less hassles and ensure that all the paperwork is completed correctly and the required disclosures are provided to the buyer?  Most likely not. 

  • By trying to sell your home without the help of a professional agent, you automatically limit the exposure of your home.  Let’s face it, most realtors will not show it AND as a FSBO, you will not have access the same resources that a professional real estate consultant has – Multiple Listing Services, Realtor.com, Trulia, LATims.com, Blogging platforms, etc.  It goes on and on….
  • The number of forms/disclosures required to sell a home is mind boggling.  Contracts are changed and updated annually by the California Association of Realtors.  Each city has their own disclosure requirements.  Realtors take continuous classes to stay on top of the most current legal requirements. Most of our files are 2 to 3 inches thick.
  • Negotiation – selling a home is not a simple matter of getting the buyer to offer the highest price.  Great realtors understand that selling a home is a factor of PRICE and TERMS.  We know that there are buyers out there that will come in with a high price and then try to negotiate at every step of the contract and wear you down.  By the time, the escrow closes – if it closes – you did not sell your home for as much as you anticipated.  The terms are critical – loan and appraisal contingency periods, down payment, physical inspection contingency, etc.

MISTAKE #2:  Hiring an Out of the Area Realtor to sell your home – Yes… I know… you have a friend… you have a distant cousin… you have a name of someone who sold a home for one of your coworkers, BUT they work 45 minutes away.  It’s okay.  It’s just putting the home into the Multiple Listing Service, right?  It is critical that you find a realtor that specializes in your neighborhood, knows the city requirements, understands and tracks the market trends on a regular basis and has a great reputation in the real estate community.There have been countless times, where I was able to get a great deal for my buyers because the Realtor representing the seller, placed information about the home in question in the wrong Multiple Listing Service or under a wrong area.  Or, the realtor didn’t understand the intricacies of pricing the home properly given the schools or other area idiosyncracies.

MISTAKE #3:  Hiring a SOLO Real Estate Agent to sell your home.  I am not saying that you have to hire a Realtor that is part of a huge team.  But, the Realtor that you hire should have a group of experts on THEIR team.  For example, my team consists of a Accredited Certified Stager, Transaction Coordinator, a Marketing Director, a Title Representative, a Termite Inspector, a Contractor, an Inspector, a Buyer’s agent, and an assistant.

MISTAKE #4:  Hiring a PART TIME Real Estate Agent – honestly… that’s even worst than selling your home For Sale By Owner – the agent will not have the knowledge and experience required to sell your home and will charge you for it.  UGH!  Shall I say more?

MISTAKE #5:  Not having your home STAGED – Staged homes sell faster and for more money – period!  I am a complete believer in staging.  I bring in an Accredited Staging Professional for a consultation and a detailed report for each and every one of the homes I sell.  It is critical that your home shows its best and is optimized to create the most positive response with the potential buyers. 

MISTAKE #6:  Not getting a physical inspection performed prior to putting your home on the market.  By inviting a physical inspector, you are able to foresee and address potential issues down the road and avoid cancelled escrows.

MISTAKE #7:  Putting your home on the market too quickly! – Putting a house on the market is an orchestrated event.  It requires a lot of preparation and full and complete execution.  You can not just throw the house into the Multiple Listing Service and then add on photos, marketing, announcements later.  Think of it as a “roll out”, a “blitz”.  You need to create excitement and anticipation for the buyers out there.

MISTAKE #8:  Not using the internet to the fullest – Over 70% of all buyers start their search on the internet.  Multiple photos, Virtual Tours, Personal Address websites, Blogs – all these SELL YOUR HOME!  Make sure that your agent utilizes the most advanced technology.  Make sure that your home is entered in every local Multiple Listing Service in your area – most areas have several.  In the Pasadena area, there are 4 Multiple Listing Services that your home shoudl be in!  Make sure that your Realtor has Featured Homes on Realtor.com in your area (Featured Homes on Realtor.com generate 500% more hits to your home’s information).  Make sure that they post your homes information anywhere and everywhere!  It’s critical.

MISTAKE #9:  Ignoring your neighbors – always, always invite your neighbors… make them feel special… involve them in the selection of the new buyer.  Chances are that your neighbor knows someone – a friend, a family member – that wants to live next to them.  Have Twilight Open Houses for neighbors only.  Send out special invitations for them and their loved ones.  Let them know that they’re welcome to visit and to tell all their friends about your home.

MISTAKE #10:  Overpricing your home.  Many sellers are under the wrong impression that if they start out high, they will eventually sell at the price they want.  That is a fallacy.  A home needs to be priced correctly the moment it hits the market.  Work with your Real estate Consultant and review the current market condition for your area.  Take a look at your competition, as well as the closed sales. 

To sum this all up an appropriate pricing and marketing strategy coupled with staging and an experienced real estate consultant will help your home stand out and sell quickly and for more $$$$$s.

Good luck in the sale of your home!

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