July 14, 2024

In today’s San Diego challenging real estate market, what seller doesn’t want to increase their profits upon the sale of their home?  That seems to be a given priority, especially when so many have taken a negative hit to what was once greater equity.  However, with this money making goal in mind, many sellers make huge mistakes in preparing to market and marketing their home.  Some mistakes can cost thousands of dollars.

In my thirty-plus years of real estate, I’ve seen sellers try to take on the duties and responsibilities of a real estate broker in the mistaken belief that they can save a commission.  Trying to sell their property on their own is the number one mistake sellers make.

The old saying, “penny wise and pound foolish,“ is very applicable to this situation. If you’re a business owner would you represent yourself at an I.R.S. tax audit? If your car had a transmission problem, would you try to fix it on your own? If you had a serious toothache would you just take aspirin for days with hope that it would clear up on its own? Most people would answer no to the above questions.  Sure, there are a few who may answer in the affirmative on one or more questions.  When the question of selling one’s own home comes up, it seems there is a much higher percentage of people who believe that they can confidently fulfill all the functions of a knowledgeable and professional real estate broker.

The second biggest mistake that I’ve seen sellers make, either when trying to sell on their own or through an agent, is determining the asking price on their property by the establishing an asking price similar to other homes in the neighborhood.  If you are using a professional real estate broker they will have investigated not only the current comparable properties on the market, but also the recently sold properties in the area. From this investigation, the broker will provide their clients with a detailed comparable market analysis. If the seller selected the real estate profession, they should heed the broker’s recommendation in the market analysis.

Just looking at an asking price for area properties is not sufficient to determine the correct the asking price for your property. The asking price is just that. Many times what the asking price was at the onset of the marketing effort is substantially different than the asking price just prior to the sale. Plus, there are quite a few properties listed that never sell.

The most important aspect of properly pricing one’s property is proper analysis of the most recent, similar sales.  A broker will look at not only the actual recorded sales price, but possible seller concessions, length of time on the market, improvements and location factors.  After all, your view might be worth thousands more than the house around they corner that you thought was the same or even, nicer (on the outside).

The third biggest mistake sellers make is trying to ‘test’ the market. They will argue with their Agent to try a higher price for a couple of weeks or months to see what happens.  If the seller selected the company/agent they should go with the agency recommendation derived from the comparable market analysis. In today’s challenging market, improperly pricing one’s home can not only cause a loss of time but also a lot of money.

Let’s say, here in San Diego a home seller in 2010, talked his agent into overpricing his home in order to “test the market” for a few months.  For this example, the property was listed in July 2010. Since it was overpriced during the months of the ‘test’ not only did it not sell, but probably there were few showings and no offers.  Now, in our hypothetical example, near the end of September, 2010, the agent and seller agree to reduce the property’s price to what was originally suggested in the market analysis. The best marketing usually runs from March through the end of August, as most people would like to be in a new home prior to the commencement of the school year.  Here in San Diego, during this time in 2010, the real estate market was weak and getting weaker.

It’s very probable that during the three months of the ‘test’ other properties closed escrow at lower prices than the original comparable market analysis had shown.  Just reverting back to the original suggested asking price may not have gotten this property sold, considering that the best seasonal marketing time had now passed, and homes in most San Diego neighborhoods were still losing value.

If these factors really did develop, a good agent would insist on revising their market analysis and most probably reducing the asking price and/or terms, from what was originally suggested. In this hypothetical case, the seller will end up with a property that takes substantially longer to sell and nets the seller much less than what they originally could have received.

Sellers usually want to achieve the optimum sales price in the shortest time.  To do so, they ought to avoid the errors outline above.  The best possible action is to choose a local experienced, aggressive real estate broker to represent their interests.  In areas where properly priced homes sell within a week, and with multiple offers, is a fond memory.  Now is the time for a seasoned real estate professional.

San Diego real estate market

2 thoughts on “3 Worst Mistakes San Diego Home Sellers Make

  1. Great information Bob…..nice blog. As a lender, I would add one more HUGE mistake sellers make and that is assuming they can qualify for a new home loan in today’s market. Many times I have seen sellers list their home, enter into contract, and then go apply for a mortgage to purchase a new home only to find out their FICO score is no longer high enough or their income is not sufficient to meet the new government guidelines recently put in place.

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