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A classic mistake of many home sellers

by  Neil Jenman

Article written and provided by Neil Jenman from Jenman.com.au . To see the original source of this article please click here. https://jenman.com.au/dont-focus-on-faults/. Neil Jenman is Australia’s trusted consumer crusader. He can support you, all the way, from choosing an agent who will get you the highest price guaranteed to when your removalist comes! You get an unprecedented level of total support. All for free. To find out more visit jenman.com.au

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Famed psychologist (and lover of Ayn Rand) Nathaniel Branden, once wrote: “Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”

The same applies to home sellers.

If you’re about to sell your home, don’t make a common mistake: Don’t focus on faults.

Homes are like people, none are perfect. But consider this: When you bought your home, you didn’t buy it because of its faults. You bought it because you liked (perhaps loved) it. Sure, you may have been aware of faults. But these were immaterial alongside the benefits.

So it should be when you sell.

But when it comes time to sell, the first thing many sellers do is point out the faults of their home. They are like dodgy characters making a confession. But home sellers are seldom dodgy, they are usually fair people who want to treat others fairly – the classic “do unto others” types.

Yet here’s the problem: Most of the people with whom sellers deal are not friends. Many are not even fair, especially most agents. Most agents don’t care about your sale price – they just want your home sold low enough to get a fast enough sale to get their commission and make the [often overdue] payment on their flash cars.

When you focus on faults, you give agents a perfect excuse to talk you down in price.

Sure, sellers may feel they are being honest by discussing their home’s faults. But agents often treat them as chumps. “A fool and his money are soon parted”, as the saying goes. It’s true. Don’t be foolish. Don’t focus on the faults of your home.

No one is suggesting you cover-up faults, especially something major that could severely impact your sale price. It’s obvious faults (if you must call them “faults”) that you have no need to highlight.

Believe it, the agents – and the buyers – will soon tell you all that’s wrong with your home.

So, if you don’t stick up for your home, if you don’t accentuate its positive points, who will do it for you? The agents? Rarely. The buyers? Hardly.


Rather than focus on faults, do what good agents do: Turn negatives into positives – or, at the very least, play them down.

For example, if your home is on a busy road, don’t say, “I know we are on a busy road.” Wait until agents or buyers say to you, “But your home is on a busy road.” You might then reply, “But it’s only busy in peak hours. At nights and weekends, it’s much quieter.”

Or if your home backs onto a railway line. Some buyers – especially grown-up little boys (men) – love trains. They fondly remember a model train set from childhood. There is something about the sound of a travelling train that triggers a warm sensation in some (usually male) buyers.

To any negative that’s pointed out to you about your home, you should reply: “That’s why it’s priced so reasonably.”

Yes, if your home was perfect, if it had no faults, if it was everyone’s idea of a dream home, you might get double the price. But who owns such a home? Almost no one.


Instead of focusing on the faults of your home, here’s what to do: Prepare what’s known as a ‘Love List’. On this list – which can be headed ‘Reasons We Love Our Home (and you may do the same)’ write down as many positives as possible.

In the 42 Rules of Real Estate Negotiation, Rule Number 8 is called ‘Positives”. It reads as follows:

Research has shown that asking yourself positive questions (that can only be answered by ‘yes’) before you start to negotiate, increases the chance of a successful negotiation by at least 35 percent.

Skilled negotiators always start on a positive note. They are genuine (never phoney) about positive points they feel will lead to a successful negotiation. For example, if there is one major reason buyers really want a home – such as it being near a favourite school – the agent will often say, especially in response to any negative points made by buyers – “Yes, but it’s close to the school you want your children to attend.”

When buyers show concern about the price of a home, a skilled negotiator will ask a positive question about one of the buyers’ favourite features, such as, “But surely it’s worth this price to be near the school you want?”

If a negotiation is allowed to focus on too many negative features, buyers soon forget the main reasons they like the home. A skilled negotiator never lets buyers forget why they like a home.

Good negotiators know a fact of homeownership: buyers never regret buying a home they love.

A good negotiator will have no qualms in asking a question such as: “Where would you rather live for the next 20 years: In a ‘this’ll do’ home or in a home you love?” The more positive a negotiation, the more likely it is that buyers will pay their highest price.


No one is asking you to deceive or cheat buyers. But don’t cheat yourself by focusing on the worst features of your home. As the psychologist, Nathaniel Branden, urges: Have a high opinion yourself and your home. Don’t short-change yourself.

As mentioned, you are going to be assailed by all sorts of reasons why the faults in your home mean its price should be lower.

But here’s your response:

To an agent – “If you don’t like my home, what hope have I got of liking the price you get?”

To buyers – “If you don’t like my home, buy another home.”

How can a home be sold for a great price without great enthusiasm? It can’t. Indeed, one of the truisms in the sales world is this: Selling is the transference of enthusiasm.

If homeowners aren’t enthusiastic about their own home, how can others be enthusiastic? Don’t make the only factor that excites buyers about your home become the low price. That hurts.

Focus on what you love about your home. Let buyers know they are likely to spend many happy years in this home. If you (or your agent) can convince buyers to fall in love with your home, that’s your best chance of getting the best price.

As another saying goes, “Home is where the heart is.” And when buyers love a home, when they focus on its positives, that’s when they’ll offer you the best possible price. Wallets follow hearts.

Don’t focus on faults. Focus on positives.

As a seller you need to stand up to people who point out the faults of your home. Don’t join them. Don’t collaborate to sabotage your sale price.

If your home is a home worth loving, surely it’s worth the best price.

Good luck to you.