A Mistake Home Sellers Make… Unknowingly

After negotiating thousands of sales over 35 years I’ve seen an array of price-depressing mistakes homeowners (and their Realtors) consistently make.  One biggie is listing homes in MLS (Multiple Listing Service) too quickly.

MLS should be used strategically, not immediately. Here’s why.

The MLS tells buyers how many days your home has been on the market. This is an advantage to them and a detriment to you as a home seller.

Pretend for a moment that you’re buying a home. You see one you like. The first thing you ask is the price. Your second question is how long the home has been on the market.

Why do you care how long it’s been on the market? Because you figure if a home has lingered unsold for a while it must be overpriced or there is something wrong. You also think the sellers might be becoming desperate. So you offer a lower price.

The travesty is that many homes do sit for a while on the market, not because they are overpriced, but because they either aren’t marketed aggressively up front, or the right buyer isn’t in the market when they are listed. When the right buyer does come along, they presume a home is overpriced simply because it has been sitting unsold. That’s why the MLS is so unfairly structured against home sellers.

Why should MLS disclose your home’s days on the market to buyers? It was designed to help you sell, not hurt your price. Yet it does, and this is a price killer if your home doesn’t sell quickly. That’s why you should use MLS as a last resort, not a first step in selling your home. Check out what Forbes had to say about the pre-MLS marketing strategy I teach to 990 Agents.

The solution? Don’t allow your Realtor to submit your home to MLS right away. Ask your agent to aggressively market your home outside MLS for a few weeks using online and print ads, emails to local agents and open houses. That’s what 990 Agents do to help their home sellers maximize price.

Pre-MLS marketing puts buyers in a “higher price frame of mind.” Buyers love the opportunity to see homes that aren’t “officially” on the market. When buyers learn they are among the first to “privately” view a new home on the market they become excited and typically offer higher prices.

There is another reason to market your home privately, before listing it in MLS. You can test an aggressive price with no negative consequences. If your home doesn’t sell due to a high list price, future buyers won’t see a history of price reductions.

Pre-MLS marketing does require more work by your real estate agent. Some agents are reluctant to do it because it’s easier to simply toss your home in MLS and hope it sells. Are these the agents you want?

Want to boost your bottom line with no downside? Encourage your Realtor to use MLS as a last resort, not a first move when selling your home.

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