Last month saw more properties over $1m sold or in contract that at anytime over the past 15 months as buyers are out in force.

If you are looking to capitalize on the house price increases over the last decade and lock in some gains, here are five mistakes to avoid:

1. Leave Inspections to the Buyer

The two key inspections that most buyers will want to see are the Home Inspection and Pest Inspection. I always recommend that sellers complete these inspections up front. While it doesn’t meant the buyer will rely on them, what it does do is take away power from the buyer in negotiations. For example, if as the seller you conduct a Pest Inspection which identifies that $5,000 of work needs to be done, it is then very difficult for a buyer to argue for $5,000 off the purchase price due to work identified in their Pest Inspection because this was identified up front.

2. Price Too high To Start With

Properties that have to have a price reduction to sell them will typically sell for less than if they were priced correctly to start with. Why is that? There are two reasons: firstly, by pricing high you will lose a percentage of buyers who are not looking in the higher price brand. Secondly, buyers’ perception of value falls off over time. If a property is still on the market after 30/45 days, buyers automatically assume there is something wrong with it. It might be a great property but just priced wrongly for the current market.  

3. Sell It As It Is

It is very rare that a property should be sold without doing any improvements or staging. It might be as small as doing a bit of landscaping at the front of the house, all the way to re-painting the property or doing a makeover of the kitchen. As part of listing properties, I work with a professional designer, to prepare a report of the things that could be done to enhance the property and the incremental dollars it will bring in for the seller.

4. Rely on Your Agent To Also Represent Buyers

Never rely on the agent selling the property to also represent the buyer. It is impossible for someone selling your property to represent your best interests and those of a buyer at the same time. The best deal for the buyer is not the highest price for the seller. The best price can only be obtained by driving the maximum number of potential buyers to a property rather than matching an agent’s buyer client with the same agent’s seller client.

5. Second Rate Marketing

Don’t rely on the old fashioned ways of marketing a property. The biggest single expertise needed to sell property is marketing. Every brokerage has the ability to syndicate a property listing across the internet. What’s important is to know how to maximize the online visibility of your property, or the online “curb appeal”. It’s important to make sure that the marketing plan for the property is tailored to match the profile of the potential buyer. Make sure you know the details behind the plan.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.