There are 2 main risks when selling: not get any offers or getting offers that are unreasonably low, and having contracts that fall through which results in valuable time lost when the property could have been on the market for a buyer that would have closed. If your property is in an area that will make it difficult to sell or you have an unreasonable expectation regarding pricing, it will be a more difficult proposition but not impossible. Here are some tips on how to avoid the 2 main risks mentioned above.

Get the Pricing Right the First Time

It is important to determine the real market value for any property and to do so at the beginning. If you are priced too far above the real market value then you may have very few showings and no offers. Starting a reasonable amount above the real market value is acceptable and is something that most buyers assume a seller will do.

If you find that after a few weeks or a month that you are not getting much activity and no offers, it is time to reevaluate the list price and make an adjustment. The longer a property stays on the market, the more that buyers wonder why that has happened and what is wrong with the property. Buyers also tend to think that if a property has been on the market a long time that they sellers will have to take much lower than the list price and will often be much more aggressive with their negotiations. But if there is a price drop within the first month this isn’t viewed the same way.

So get the pricing right at the beginning. And the speed with which you need or want to sell comes into play here since the closer you are to real market value the faster the property will sell.

Heading Off Possible Deal Killers

Even though the appearance of your home, condo or townhouse will affect the desire of buyers to purchase it, the actual condition can make a difference in a contract getting to closing.

In some instances it is a smart thing to have a pre-listing inspection done to find any issues that could cause buyers to cancel a contract. Another reason this is smart to do is that when a buyer does do their inspections you will know what to expect in the way of results and in some cases can even disclose these issues before going to contract with a buyer if you choose not to make needed repairs. Preventing a cancelled contract and getting to a successful closing, which then will reduce the time your property is on the market, can make a pre-listing inspection very worthwhile.

You should also stay up to date on issues that buyers can bring up such as the new and upcoming regulations regarding A/C systems and hot water heaters which I wrote about last month. Better to know these could come up as issues than to be surprised by them along the way.

It is also smart to make sure that potential buyers are provided with proper disclosures about your property so that they are aware upfront of any past or current issues. Nothing will kill a deal faster than a buyer who finds out that an obvious property condition issue was not disclosed upfront by the seller – they then won’t trust any of your information and will often just start looking for another property.

Preparing Your Home or Condo to Sell

Besides doing a pre-listing inspection and getting the pricing right at the beginning, preparing your property so that it is in the best possible showing condition will be one of the best things you can do to avoid the risk of not selling in a reasonable time for a reasonable price.

Having a listing agent that can give you the correct advice on what to do to make your home ready to show is one aspect of this and, in some cases, working with a staging professional will be the correct way to go.

The better your property shows and, as a result, the better the pictures are that people will see online – the faster your property will sell and at the best price possible. To sell you have to get offers, to get offers you have to get people to come and see your house, to get people to come and see your house you need to have great photos and a description that is accurate but at the same time creates interest as part of the online listing in the MLS and on sites like, Trulia and Zillow.

Use the Best, Experienced Professionals Who Have a Systematic Approach

One of the biggest mistakes I see sellers make is choosing professionals to assist them based on how nice the person is, the fact that they are a friend or a friend of a friend, or other reasons than that the professional does know what they are doing and will be responsive and will stay in communication regularly.

Being a nice or funny person doesn’t sell your property; getting all the necessary steps done correctly and in sequence does.

There are specific actions that need to be done the right way and in the right order to successful sell. Some are done by your agent and some are done by you. Having checklists to follow is the best way to ensure that both you and your agent get all the right things done to get a buyer, make sure the buyer is really qualified, get that buyer past any possible hurdles to a successful closing and to get the property successfully sold.

If you needed your appendix removed would you choose your surgeon only based on how nice he seemed at a party?