7 Ways To Sabotage Your Sale

Posted on 1 June 2019
7 Ways To Sabotage Your Sale

Everybody wants the same thing when selling your home: to get the most money possible, as quickly as possible. At Pinpoint Property, we want that for you too. That said, there are usually three things keeping this from happening: price, condition and expectation.

So let’s take a look at the top seven mistakes you may be making in your sale

Mistake #1: Not knowing the local market.
Knowing how much homes in your neighbourhood have sold for gives you a good idea of how much you should list your home for. It will help you to combat the urge to fall for the fairy tale valuations offered by some estate agents trying to win your natural desire to get the best possible price for the home you love. Overpricing can leave your home on the market for longer than anticipated, forcing you to put your plans on hold. We keep track of the neighborhood statistics for you, so when you ask Pinpoint to value your home, we can base our figures on solid comparable selling prices.

Mistake #2: Overestimating worth
Your home isn't special to anyone but you.  It can be really hard to hear that when you might have invested a lot of time and money in your home over the years, perhaps even recently remodelling and redecorating.  You may assume if you spend a lot of money and have a shoebox full of receipts to prove it, that MUST make it worth more, right? You will be able to realise that expenditure back, right? Wrong.

Viewers are looking at your home, trying to envision it as theirs.  They will be considering how they would use the accommodation, whether their furniture will fit or if they would have to buy all new and does their budget allow for it.  They are looking at your home and calculating how much they need to spend to refinish your home to their style.  You need to trust your estate agent on where to price your home.

Mistake #3: Thinking you're a salesperson.
As a seller you might think that it is better if you show viewers around yourself because who better is there to explain how special your home is? An agent cannot possibly know what the really important things are to point out, the things you love most and are sure they will too, the time you spent sourcing that custom period style wallpaper.  Wrong! 

Buyers want privacy.  You think you're being super nice but often the buyer will feel cornered into awkward small talk with someone who wants to explain their love of a hideous wallpaper or faced with unexpected personal disclosures as to why you had the understairs loo put in.  You need to clean your home until it shines, de-clutter, paint, make needed repairs, keep up with your landscaping and let the agent show your property - give the buyers some space to make decisions about the most expensive purchase of their life.

Mistake #4: Thinking they will come back
You need to be accommodating and sometimes you just have to bend over backwards to meet a viewing need. Sometimes life happens and events force you to cancel an appointment. Most viewers will be understanding and accommodate a change if its rescheduled for another date soon after - you'll have to be prepared to lose the few viewers who have restrictions on their own time.   If you fail to show up for your own viewing because work ran late, or you simply forgot about the arrangement (it happens!) - it is unlikely the viewers left standing on your doorstep will give you a second chance - you don't look serious about selling.  If you are using a local agent to sell your home, enlist their help with viewings if your time is stretched, it's generally part of their service and costs you no extra.

Mistake #5  Refusing to negotiate
So you got an offer on your home, and you accepted it! Congratulations! You can stop maintaining the show home status! All should go fairly smoothly from this point until the survey is carried out. Surveys are 30-40 pages of tough reading...they can show up things you weren't aware of and some you hoped would fly under the radar.  They can make mountains out of molehills and can send the average first time buyer running for the hills which is where your estate agent really earns their keep.  Repairs arising from survey is a common area for negotiation and this is where you, the seller, need to be willing to meet in the middle and show the buyer that you’re serious about selling.  Otherwise you risk your deal falling apart and being stuck with the house - which you’ll eventually shell out more money to fix anyway.  Sure, you can always re-list your home, but it may sit on the market for 30, 60, 90 days or more. Meanwhile you’ll have to deal with more viewings, keeping the house spic & span, making monthly mortgage payments and failing to realise your next dream.  Fixtures and fittings lists are another area where sellers and buyers can fail to agree over a principle.

Remember your first offer is frequently your best offer and sometimes may be your only offer.  Once you secure an interested buyer, you need to trust your agent and work with them and your buyers to get the home sold.  Don't waste time bickering over a £70 light fixture, 7 year old carpets or a failed damp proof course. Be flexible and willing to negotiate or be prepared to be face the same negotiations again with your next buyer, but for less money.  If you've picked an agent you can trust to act in your best interests, ask their advice, but at end of the day the responsibility for the decision rests with you.

Mistake #6 Ignore contingencies
Sales contracts can have any number of contingencies e.g. surveys, repairs, many with time frames. It’s so important for buyer and seller both, to take those timelines seriously.  If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, make sure you do it.  If anything breaks down in the property after it was sale agreed, fix it and inform the buyers.  Don’t do cheap patch-jobs and expect the buyers not to notice the fixes aren’t done properly.  If the buyers mortgage lender requires the fix, use a qualified professional who can certify and provide guarantees for their work.  Going cheap on major fixes can lead to severe and costly delays at best, or alienate your buyers and completely scupper the sale at worst.

Mistake #7  Dilly dallying over deadlines
Don’t drag your feet in the paperwork process.  If you need to instruct a solicitor, secure finance, arrange a survey - do it.  Stalling and not responding makes your buyer, or your seller, question your commitment and considering pulling the plug on it.  It's especially important if you are part of a chain, where other onward sales have deadlines that depend on you pulling your weight in the chain. If you show yourself to be the weak link in the chain you cause stress for all the other families and your estate agent will bear the brunt of it...if the chain decides to replace you as the weak link, your estate agent may not be so keen to help you secure another property next time round.

If you follow this advice, you shouldn’t have a hard time selling quickly and you’ll avoid the unnecessary stress that many sellers endure because they become their own worst enemy by sabotaging their own sale.