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Douglas Hall

The Most Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make

The most common mistakes home sellers make.

Mistakes are a part of life. However, home selling mistakes can cost you dearly — as in several thousand dollars.

Before you go off and sell your house, read about these common home selling mistakes and how to avoid them. Your wallet will thank you for taking a few minutes to do your research

1. Choosing the Wrong Sale Price

Pricing strategy is a tricky business. A list price that is too high will scare off buyers. Alternatively, a price that is too low will make buyers wonder what is wrong with the house.

Regardless, both situations could lead to your home sitting on the market for weeks or months. This is both frustrating for you and bad news for your venture.

Every day a home sits on the market it becomes harder to sell and you often end up having to drop your price. It’s a psychological thing. Buyers assume that if nobody else wants it, they won’t either.

Hiring a real estate agent familiar with the market trends in your area is the best way to avoid this mistake. They will do a comparative market analysis and choose the best price based on current conditions.

2. Not Using an Agent

You might not love the idea of forking over 5-6% of the sale price to a real estate agent. However, you probably have no idea of all the work that is involved in selling a home.

It isn’t as simple as hanging up a few flyers or posting an ad on Facebook. Agents recommend repairs, market the home, and find the right buyer (key for getting a strong purchase price). Plus, they know what’s going on with the local market.

A quick look at general stats from the National Association of Realtors shows us that a typical home sold by the owner sold for $260,000. Compare that to $318,000 for agent-assisted sales. Even with paying the commission, homeowners who use agents often earn more profit.

This mistake is easy to avoid, simply hire a real estate agent. However, be aware that not all agents are equal. Do your homework and don’t hire your cousin’s friend’s son who is just starting out.

Don't have a real estate agent? Use our Agent Search to find the right one for you

3. Underestimating Selling Costs

You’re selling your home and if you’ve built up considerable equity you might be expecting quite the tidy sum. However, most people don’t realize how much money they need to have on handbefore the sale.

From marketing costs to repairs to needing an interim home if you sell your house before buying a new one, it adds up quickly!

Your agent can give you a better idea of the projected costs so you will be prepared. Plus, they can help negotiate the contract to alleviate some of these expenses. For example, they might knock a bit off the purchase price, but avoid expensive repairs, etc.

4. Not Hiring a Photographer

In an effort to avoid upfront selling costs, many people forego hiring a professional photographer. However, in this day and age — that is a mistake.

An astounding 90% of buyers are searching online for their next home. They’re scrolling through dozens of listings and eye-catching photos are what will make your listing stand out. Video tours and 360-degree views will also help to get more eyes on your listing.

Even knowing this, a surprising number of online listings don’t even have good, basic photos.

Avoid the problem by hiring a professional real estate photographer. If it’s really not in your budget, at the very least take some well-lit photos of the property yourself. Use a wide-angle lens if possible and take a photo ofeverything. People want to see what you’re offering!

5. Not Preparing for the Sale

It can be a lot of work to properly prepare a home for sale, that’s why many people skimp on it. But you have to realize that you’re throwing money away when you do this.

Deep clean your home, declutter, and remove personal items/decorations before buyers come to look. Buyers are trying to imagine themselves living in the home. That’s hard to do when pictures of someone else’s family are covering the walls.

Freshen the paint and fix up small issues. Cosmetic fixes like this make a huge impression on buyers and make them feel confident about purchasing your home. The reverse is also true, small things like a broken doorknob or a leaky faucet make buyers hesitate and wonder what bigger problems lie just beneath the surface.

Ask your agent (or another fresh pair of eyes) what they notice that you should fix up. You’ve gotten used to some of your home’s quirks and probably don’t even notice them anymore.

If you’ve stayed on top of your regular maintenance, it should only take a few weekends of work to get your house ready for buyers. Put in a few hours of work and reap big rewards when you sell.

6. Hanging Around for Showings

It can feel uncomfortable to have people trudging through your home when you’re not there. For this reason, some homeowners hang around when buyers come to see.

But here’s a little secret, buyers tend to feel awkward when the homeowner is present. They might not feel as comfortable asking direct questions about the property or addressing negative issues.

Let the real estate agent handle the showing, that’s part of what they’re being paid to do. Buyers appreciate dealing with an impartial third party and you’ll have a better chance at locking down a buyer quickly.

7. Limiting Showing Times

Let’s face it, showings are inconvenient, especially when you need to make yourself scarce. Buyers always seem to pick the worst times to come see your home and many times it happens on short notice.

That’s why many sellers will tell their agents the home is only available for showings during certain time slots.

However, this limits your pool of buyers, which is not what you want to be doing. You need to reach as many people as possible to broaden your chance of finding interested buyers and getting the highest price possible.

Go Forth and Sell Your Home

There you have it. Avoid these mistakes when selling your home, and enjoy a smoother selling experience!