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Six Shocking Show Stoppers in Selling Your Home

By: Thomas M. Mitchell

Over and over we all read about the challenges many home buyers and sellers say they have to deal with when working with real estate agents.  Some of them are warranted, some not: “they never return my phone calls” – “I have no idea what’s happening,”  “they are just interested in making a commission,” and  “all they do is place my house in the  MLS.”

Suffice it to say that the average client doesn’t really know, let alone understand, the value a true real estate professional can bring to the table. Here are six show stoppers many home owners make when they decide to put their house on the market.  Maybe, just maybe, if they understood the skills and tools you have to make sure they avoid these mistakes it might significantly enhance your value in their eyes.

  1. Pricing Incorrectly – Every seller wants to get as much as possible when selling a home but they often fail to understand that a house that is not priced competitively often results in less money.  They fail to factor in the added time on the market that results in added carrying costs or realize that overpriced houses often sell below market value.  You need to help them understand things like the difference between cost and price, the real meaning of market value, the correct amount of bargaining room needed, etc.
  2. Failing To Showcase The House – Sellers often forget that buyers are looking for a home to live in, not just a house.  They ignore many of the basics of salesmanship when it comes to their “home.”  They don’t make the mental jump from home to live in to house for sale.  They will wash their car before selling it but won’t spruce up the house before selling it. You need to make sure they understand the cost of failing to make that jump.
  3. Using The Hard Sell – They can’t resist the temptation to keep talking while the buyer is looking around.  It’s a proven fact that people like to “try on” a house before buying … you can’t do that with someone continually pointing out all the “great features” of the house.  It doesn’t help sell the house; it often has just the exact opposite affect on the buyer.  Unfortunately many agents make this same mistake but that topic is for another time.
  4. Mistaking Lookers For Buyers – When a seller elects to leave the agent out of the equation and go the FSBO route they tend to get a lot more traffic.  It’s a fact that buyers make the assumption that “they” just made the commission if they buy directly from the owner.  As a result, the sellers don’t know who is qualified and who isn’t – that’s where a professional makes a difference. 
  5. Failure To Use Best Practices In Protecting Their Rights – Sellers don’t know or fail to recognize that real estate law is extensive and complex.  An improperly written contract has the potential of opening up a lot of dark closets – many of which survive the closing.  Potential liability is a huge item often overlooked in the haste to “save a commission.”
  6. Limiting The Market And Exposure Of The Property – Open houses and classified ads are only moderately effective yet they are perceived by the seller as the most obvious.  Statistics tell us that consistently less than 1% of homes are sold at an open house and less than 3% buy as a result of a classified ad.  Or looking at in another way – will someone always be at home to answer the phone or show the home.  They don’t understand that “marketing” is far more complex than these two steps.

Making the Right Choice

Many times consumers choose a Realtor® for the wrong reasons. Sellers often fail to realize that the sale of their home is likely the most important financial transaction they will ever make and commit the process to the lowest bidder.  They fail to realize that experience is a key factor in achieving the highest price in the shortest possible time.  Trading lost value for a potentially lower commission isn’t a great tradeoff.  But if they don’t understand that fact if someone doesn’t carefully explain all the issues.  What if they understood the code of ethics Realtors® are committed to?

It’s often said that Realtors® don’t bring any value to the table; they just list it and wait for their commission.   Whose fault is that?  As an industry we generally get a poor grade for failing to provide the sellers with an understanding of just what we bring to the transaction.  

If you want to learn more about becoming a top notch Seller Representative, National Realty News recommends you consider the Accredited Seller Representative (ASR) online course from the Seller Agency Council.  You can get all the details by visiting

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