Home & Garden

Mistakes to avoid when selling your home

If you've got a home for sale, it might be time for a real estate reality check.

HGTV's FrontDoor.com has identified common mistakes to avoid if you want to sell your home quickly and for the most profit.

- Waiting until spring to sell. Yes, spring is the busy time for real estate sales, but people still buy houses all year-round. Play up your home's seasonal amenities and take advantage of the serious buyers and reduced competition of the "off-seasons."

- Not understanding the real estate contract. Sit down with your Realtor (or attorney) to go over the fine print of a formal agreement before signing the potential buyer's offer. It's important to understand exactly what your responsibilities will be in the sale and any demands the buyer may pose.

- Going it alone without researching first. Think long and hard about the work involved in a for-sale-by-owner undertaking - paperwork, marketing, showings, etc. Sure, you'll save the Realtor commission fee, but are you up for the task?

- Ignoring lowball offers. It's easy to feel insulted by a low offer on your home and reject it completely. But at least make a counteroffer to see if the buyer is willing to negotiate. You both may be pleasantly surprised.

- Wasting time on an unqualified buyer. Before accepting an offer on your home, make sure the potential buyer is pre-qualified for a loan, not just pre-approved. Today's lending standards are tougher than before, and you don't want to take a gamble on a buyer whose financing falls through.

- Skimping on marketing. The most effective marketing strategy is to mix a little traditional advertising (like the sign in the yard and an ad in a homes magazine) with more innovative techniques (such as an impressive online listing with photos and video).

- Sabotaging the showing. Make yourself scarce when your home is being shown to prospective buyers; they need space to focus on and evaluate your property. Also, make sure the house is easily accessible with convenient showing hours and a lockbox for agents.

- Not prepping for the sale. First, visit open houses in your neighborhood to get an idea of what the competition has to offer. Then make appropriate fixes and updates, de-clutter, stage - and clean, clean, clean!

- Over-improving. Don't go overboard when it comes to home improvements. It's possible to make so many upgrades that you price your home out of the appropriate range for the area - and worse, never recoup your investment.

- Overpricing. Be sure to check - or have your Realtor check - the comparable home prices in your area. Your house should be in line with the selling prices of nearby homes of similar age, style and size.

Real estate investors meet

The Capitol City Real Estate Investors will meet Thursday at Saluda Shoals Park River Center.

There is a $20 guest fee for non-members to attend the meeting. However, if you want to attend the meeting for free, log on to www.screi.com and sign up to have your name added to the guest list.

Registration and networking starts at 6:30 p.m. Presentations start at 7 p.m.

For more information on Capitol City Real Estate Investors, log onto www.screi.com or call Janice Lane at (803) 948-8033.

Seminars for home buying

Free home-buying seminars will be offered to teach potential buyers about the process.

Professionals will be available to answer questions about home buying, mortgages, grant money and the closing process. The seminars are free, but RSVP is suggested.

Here's the schedule:

- Monday, Lexington library, 6-7:30 p.m. Call Edwin Gerace for details, (803) 957-5566.

- Oct. 12, Irmo library, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Call Jeff Riley, (803) 467-6440.

- Oct. 13, Forest Lake Travel, 6-7:30 p.m. Call Chad Jones, (803) 957-5566.

- Oct. 19, Lexington library, 6-7:30 p.m. Call Edwin Gerace, (803) 957-5566.

- From Staff and Wire Reports