House and Home

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home


Be sure to tune in to FOX Business' network-wide special: "The Real Estate Story," featuring reports on real estate and the economy all day Friday, February 8.

As anyone who's put their home on the market knows, it's not as easy as setting a price, staging it to sell, and crossing your fingers.

It takes plenty of patience, some flexibility (on your part), and a willingness to think outside the box.  Of course, it never hurts to ask an expert. 

Few people know more about selling real estate than Dolly Lenz.  The Prudential Douglas Elliman Vice Chairman has sold more than $7 billion dollars of it.  We asked Lenz to share some of her insights and here's what she had to say:

In today’s market, what are the most common problems people run into when trying to find a buyer?

DL: Common problems include finding a buyer who is qualified for a mortgage since mortgage standards have tightened significantly. Low ball appraisals continue to be a problem and are a major cause of deals dying. There are also about 10 million homes which are underwater on their property value which makes finding a buyer more difficult.

What are buyers looking for in today’s market?

DL: Buyers have very specific needs (wish list) with respect to the home they are seeking to buy. The problem is finding such a property within the budget they have established. These include proximity to good schools, a thriving neighborhood, and excellent resale potential.

Does it make sense to renovate before putting my house on the market?

DL: Generally speaking a resounding 'no.' However, properly presenting and possibly staging a home, which is inexpensive and presents the property in its best light, is always desirable.

How much should I really expect to come down on my listing price?

DL: You should leave some room for negotiating but I would avoid asking too high a price relative to comparable properties. If you overprice your home you run the risk of the listing lingering on the market for too long thus becoming stale.

What’s the single biggest mistake sellers make?

DL: Other than overpricing a home, sellers sometimes underestimate the importance of the property being clean, free of odors and uncluttered in appearance. First impressions are important to selling a home so presenting a property in its best possible condition will go a long way in finding a buyer