5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

March 25, 2021

Are you planning to sell your home in London? Perhaps your property has been on the market for some time but hasn’t had the right buyers come forward? If you are looking to sell your property in London, then you need to know how to get it marketed to the right buyers so you can make that move. I share my top 5 mistakes property sellers make, and how to avoid them in this article – may be surprised!

1 – Overpricing The Property

Time kills deals and yet sellers often select the agent that gives them the highest valuation for their home. This is a big mistake, because if that valuation isn’t based on the current market dynamics and competing alternative properties, the property will be overlooked by potential buyers.

Sellers tend to be very emotional and subjective when it comes to pricing their home by overlooking the flaws that buyers will see. As an agent that works with many buyers, I can tell you, especially in a buyers market, buyers won’t even bother to make you an offer if your home is overpriced. And why should they? They have plenty of choice and will go after the many other properties with similar features that are priced well below yours. When you choose a good agent to represent your home, they will understand the current market, the state of the property, and the neighbourhood average prices which they will share with you prior to valuing your home.

2 – Not Investing in Updating the Property Before Selling

The irony is that many sellers want top dollar but don’t want to invest any money to achieving that. For many high street agents, the strategy is merely to take the listing on and if it doesn’t sell, go back to the vendor and tell them to reduce the price.

When I work with sellers, I try to honestly present to them options that will improve the value of their home. Some will be small things and others may be larger. For example, it can be simple fixes like making sure all the light bulbs work, or it can be larger improvements such as painting or changing out carpets. I recently had a conversation with a potential seller whose carpeting in their lovely flat was stained and quite old, and it was competing with other flats in the building who had spent the investment into updating their flooring and this meant buyers would just go past his own, and invest in the more attractive options. These are investments into achieving you the highest price for your property and should be considered prior to putting it on the market.

Remember, most buyers aren’t looking for a fixer upper, and while sellers will think that buyers should see this reflected in the price, many buyers, in fact most buyers, won’t. So, if you can help them along by decluttering, sprucing up paint, updating door handles, and so on, this will go a long way to making your home sale ready.

Here is an example of a listing I had in America, it was in a building with 2 other units which were already on the market – one above, and one below my flat’s listing price. By investing $12,000 (I know, it’s a lot), I achieved $19,000 over the asking price and sold within 6 days of going on the market. I wasn’t investing this money for the fun of it, I was investing it to get the property sold. I knew the property looked tired, and with a refresh and staging, I was able to achieve over my asking price and attract the right buyers to fight over it and bid it up.

This is my job as an agent – to help stage where I can and make sure we take great photographs, with a professional stager or doing so ourselves, and using a professional photographer to maximise how your property looks. I love partnering with sellers that value that partnership and are willing to do their part to get the maximum amount of money in a given market. Check out my recent video on how to get buyers to fall in love with your property here which will share more information on how to prepare your home for sale.

3. Choosing the Cheapest Agent

Many sellers will select the agent that charges the cheapest agent, but this is quite shortsighted as they may not be choosing the best agent. Something you should ask yourself before deciding solely on the commission side is “is it about the commission you pay, or the money you net in your pocket” that you want, and most will respond it’s about the net. This means you need to consider the best agent that will achieve the best price for your property.

Beating down your agent on the commission side to save a few thousand pounds, could cost you more in the long run as the agent may be disensentivised and put less effort into marketing your property to their best ability, focusing on other properties on their books that will achieve them more commission. If their model is so low cost to make a little profit, why would they do more than the bare minimum to achieve a sale? Another point to consider is if they cannot defend their value in the negotiation with you, how are they going to negotiate effectively on your behalf with a buyer comes in with a low offer?

4. Instructing Multiple Agents

Many sellers make the mistake of instructing multiple agents with the thought that they only have to pay one agent based on the winner takes all strategy. They figure, that although they are ultimately paying higher commissions, they are creating a competition between agents and will encourage them to work harder on their behalf, and there is no harm. But there is actual harm, and many downsides that you should consider before deciding if you should work under a multiple agent strategy, these are:

  1. They may lack motivation – while you think you are creating competition, it may discourage agents. Think of it this way: if you were given a one in three chance to earn a fee versus a 100% chance to earn, which one would you put more effort into? Most people would put it on the 100% chance, so when you instruct multiple agents, you may actually cause all of the agents to lack motivation when it comes to marketing your property, and won’t work proactively on your behalf.
  2. They may not bring the best offer to you – agents may want to bring you the quickest offer to tie it up and earn their commission, but this may not be the best offer you can achieve. Again, they may be communicating to any buyers to get any offer that you can accept, and therefore get a winning strategy for them, thus getting it all tied up and the commission in their pocket. This therefore is a bad thing for you – as you could have received a better offer with the right buyers.
  3. May make the seller look desperate – if buyers see the property on the portals when searching but with mutiple agents, they may have the perception that the seller is desperate to sell or that there is something wrong with the property itself. Remember, you are subject to the quality, description, and presentation that the agents will do, so you are potentially at the weakest common denominator at how your property is listed. I work on behalf of a lot of buyers, and I love to see a property on the market with multiple agents as I will look to the agent that is the weakest and push the lowest offer so my buyers can get the best deal, and I know the agent will push that deal on my behalf so they can get it tied up.
  4. It actually costs more – often the multi-agent strategy costs more to sellers. Typically, in London, sellers pay around 2% commission for a sole agent, but 3% for a multiple agent strategy. So, in essence, you are actually paying more for a weaker strategy that might get you less money in terms of the asking price you will achieve!

There are several more reasons for why a multiple agent strategy can be the wrong step to take, so if you are considering it, but want to speak through your options, please get in touch.

5 – No Clear Marketing Strategy

Many sellers think that all agents are the same and it is just a matter of taking some pictures and adding them to the portals, perhaps during the years when the London property market was booming properties could sell with little effort. However, in today’s buyers market you need a marketing strategy that is clear on pricing, presentation, and has a clear, proactive strategy, especially if you have a home that may appeal to a certain type of buyer, such as an overseas buyer or investor.

If your agent isn’t speaking with you about their strategy for your property, and they haven’t had an open and honest conversation with you about a plan B strategy, as to what happens if you don’t get the response from the market that you are anticipating, it may be time to speak with a different agent.

I hope these top 5 mistakes you should avoid as a seller have helped you in your planning to getting your home on the market, have you made any of them in the past? If you’d like any help with getting your home sold, please get in touch.

Leave a Comment