5 Things Home Sellers Must Never Do

Thinking of selling your home? If you want to earn the maximum profit on your home and have the most solid contract with a buyer, here are 5 things a home seller must neer do.

1.  When Hiring a Realtor, Never Pay a Transaction Fee.  Several years ago, I went to buy a replacement vehicle after our SUV was destroyed in Hurricane Wilma.  We searched for several days to find the right one.  Having finally settled on the "out-the-door" price with the saleman, the sales manager gave me the written bill which included an additional charge: a dealer "transaction fee".  In sales professions, transaction fees are nothing but junk, padding, extra profit margin.  Hire an agent that will give you an all-inclusive, standard price.

2.  Never List Your Home in Less Than Top Condition.  Today's buyers largely favor homes that are move-in ready.  Since 2008, I have never heard the once common term "sweat equity".  Buyers don't do that anymore, unless they are investors looking for a below-market deal.  Home sellers give up thousands of dollars by not having the home ready.

3.  Never Accept Less Than a $1000 Earnest Money Deposit.  In a sales contract, an earnest money deposit represents the buyer's "skin in the game."  It ensures a buyer will not arbitrarily walk away from the deal.  Anything less than $1000 is too easily given up by a buyer.  Make sure your buyer is serious: demand at least $1000, or go even higher for upscale-priced homes.

4.  Never Accept Everything a Buyer Asks to Have Repaired.  After a buyer has your home inspected for non-working item, they will typically ask for repairs.  Some repairs are required by a sales contract, but often they are fluff.  Almost every home inspector will write that an air conditioning system should be cleaned, and buyers will ask for this as a required or "warranted" item.  But a system can be working great without a cleaning, and therefore cleaning is not required by the contract.  Always scrutinize what a buyer is asking for.

5.  Never Ignore Closing Statement Details.  Closing statements, or "HUD" statements detail the costs and proceeds in a sales transaction.  They can be quite complicated depending on situation.  While closing officers do a fantastic job 99% of the time, an error in the statement can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  Always review the statement with your real estate agent and closing officer.