Charles Buck
Portland Area Realtor®
T: 503.799.1742

Top 5 Mistakes Sellers Make


  1. Pricing mistakes:

Nothing says “I do not really want to move” like an overpriced listing. By overpriced, I mean expecting a higher price than the current market will bear. This does not mean listing your property at anything less than what it should realistically fetch inside your desired timeframe. Your new listing will receive its most viewings in the first two weeks after the marketing begins. If your home is priced too high, it is now directly competing for attention with homes which may have any combination of the following: newer, larger, better location, better condition, better and more expensive finish, more amenities, higher end appliances, etc. Guess which girl is going to be asked to the prom? After a price reduction, it is almost impossible to lure back those potential Buyers who first paid attention to your listing when it was new. Most often, they have moved on and the highly motivated ones have bought something else. According to RMLS statistics, homes ultimately sell for an amount within 3.2% of their list price at the time of the offer. Fact: overpriced listings seldom receive any realistic offers.

A too low price can leave money on the table. Fortunately, this situation is usually rectified with multiple offers, right off the bat, even in a slow market. This can sometimes also be a marketing ploy. For the “right” price, even a ratty shack right on a freeway will sell quickly.

  1. Not preparing your home sufficiently:

Marketing an unprepared home will cost you dearly. Consider your competition and make your home stand out amongst them all. One of the biggest put-offs any home could have is an unpleasant smell! Remember the 4 Cs: Curb appeal, condition, clutter and cleanliness. This applies to your yard as much as it does to your home.

Having a pre-listing inspection performed is of the utmost importance. This will alert you of potential deal-killers which the Buyer’s inspector most likely will find and provide you with time to address those issues on your terms. Not knowing what you are selling, to Buyers who do not know what they are buying, is much more befitting a transaction involving a lucky packet than a house! These issues could have a huge impact on the ultimate sales price of a home.

Get your home “Fit to Sell” …as the saying goes, you have only one chance to make that all important first impression!

  1. Ineffective marketing:

Traditional marketing methods have evolved to a point where less that 1% of all homes which ultimately sell are first found in print by the Buyer (NAR – 2013).  Different properties should be marketed differently – one shoe does not fit all. Finding the right ratio between traditional and online marketing is crucial for the right exposure to local, national and sometimes international markets and depends very much of the type of property for sale.

Professional quality pictures which emphasize the most desirable features of the home are a must. Look at some listings and you will be aghast by the poor quality and composition of the photos – pixelated, low quality, badly lit, skewed and with strange artifacts. The bottom line: presentation goes a long way!

  1. Lack of teamwork:

Preparing, marketing and ultimately selling your home requires teamwork. Sellers, their family members, Realtor, Stager, Inspector, contractors, etc. should all work together to reach the common goal; to get the property sold on the best possible terms, in a reasonable time frame, and with the least amount of disruption to the selling party.

Teamwork between the selling and buying side is often overlooked but it is of extreme importance; a Seller’s actions such as causing difficult showing availability and the unwillingness to negotiate on terms are definitely mistakes to avoid. Every negative action lessens chances of a successful transaction.

Open and clear communication as well as proper alignment between all the parties is paramount. If this is successfully achieved, the results will be extremely rewarding.

  1. Choosing the wrong agent:

Where to start… Since you are going to be working closely together, you should be able to trust your Realtor. You will also be well advised to like and be compatible with this person. With the wrong agent, not only do the above mistakes become a definite possibility, numerous other gremlins can ruin the transaction and the unfortunate effects may linger for years to come. On the one hand, you could end up with an inexperienced and clueless agent or you could experience what it is to be treated as a number at a mega brokerage, where you are expected to conform to some recipe. On the other hand, you could choose a Realtor who understands and follows all the correct processes and practices, who will correctly and truthfully represent you and in the process, help, advise and educate you to perform the correct actions throughout the transaction. Choose wisely!

 Something to ponder: Almost anybody can hold a paintbrush, but only Leonardo da Vinci could paint the Mona Lisa. The same principle applies to real estate.