Sometimes I can’t believe the things that listing agents do, or fail to do, that cost their sellers time and money.
If you need to sell your home, and list it with me, I promise that I will not make these mistakes, that I see regularly on our SoCalMLS:
- Put a home on the MLS before it is ready to be shown. If it’s not ready to see, it should not be on the MLS. The damage that is done to the # of days on the market will offset any chance that the right buyer will buy something else because he didn’t know your home was coming soon.
- Put a home on the MLS without good photos of both the inside and outside. Sometimes, agents put in 2 photos of the front, and maybe the back yard, but none of the inside. It always makes me wonder if the listing agent didn’t have a key to get in, or if the inside is so ugly that it would be a turn-off to buyers.
- Inaccuracies, or missing information in the MLS. Wrong tract names, wrong HOA dues amounts, missing or incorrect assigned schools, missing critical info that buyers may search for that are “must haves” such as “ground floor bedroom” or “air conditioning.”
- Fail to make recommendations or point out the corrections needed to make the house show its best. It needs to be neat and clean, neutral and un-crowded. If the agent doesn’t have the courage to tell the seller that the house is dirty, crowded, smells bad, is cluttered, or poorly decorated, he needs to send in a stager. Neutral paint (no wallpaper) and clean neutral flooring will add thousands to the final selling price. Buyers typically guess the cost to remove wallpaper and change carpet at about twice what it will actually cost!
- Failing to point out the “details” that need attention and that buyers will focus on. Just because the sellers are used to looking at it, doesn’t mean that buyers won’t see it. Is the front door covered with dirt, spider webs, and have an old rusty doorknob? What about the welcome mat? Are your bathroom or kitchen faucets 25-year-old “builder standard?” What about the light fixtures? Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and Costco carry a lot of these reasonably priced items that are well worth investing in to increase or justify your value.
- Property descriptions that don’t tell about the best features of the property, or that are full of typos and spelling errors.
- Property descriptions that include statements about special features, like “remodeled kitchen” or “fabulous back yard with view”, and then don’t provide the photos to show those features.
- Property descriptions that include statements like “now reduced” or “motivated seller” or “won’t last long.” I often see “won’t last long” used on homes that have been on the market 6+ months!
- Property descriptions put in the “Agent-only” remarks section, instead of the public “General remarks.” The potential buyers can’t see this – so it looks like nobody cared enough to even describe the property!
- Agent-only remarks that say “lockbox coming soon,” but the house has been on the market for 2 months! If the lockbox isn’t on it the first day (which it should be) the remarks should say “lockbox to be installed “mm/dd” by 5 pm.
- No modifications to the listing in over 60 days. The agent should be changing the remarks, or photos, or the price to refresh the listing at least monthly. The agents who just “throw it in the MLS” and ignore it are not doing their jobs.
- REMARKS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS – IT MAKES IT HARD TO READ AND MAKES THE AGENT LOOKS IGNORANT!
- In the “Directions” field, put in the phrase “google maps” instead of saying something meaningful like “north of main, west of broadway, turn left on ….”
- Failing to return phone calls from other agents, or buyers who have questions about the property.
- Using a combo lockbox instead of an electronic lockbox. In addition to providing more security for the property, the electronic lockbox will provide a record for the listing agent of which buyer agents have shown the property. On vacant properties, where agents often don’t leave business cards, the electronic lockboxes allow the listing agent to check for feedback, or to monitor the number of showings to determine whether the home is even being shown.
- Failing to provide the seller (at the time of listing) with a reasonable estimate of their net proceeds. When an offer comes in, the seller should be prepared to evaluate it and respond promptly.
- Failing to keep the seller informed on conditions of the market and how his home stacks up in the competition. If the market is slow, it should be expected that the listing agent provide a market update at least monthly. If a price reduction needs to be done, it is better to do it sooner than later (or it will end up costing much more!)
I’m sure this is not a complete list, so if you think of other mistakes, please add them for me in the comments section.
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