No matter what’s going on in the housing market, selling a home can be challenging.
Some sellers have a hard time saying goodbye to a treasured family residence. Others want to skip ahead to the fun of decorating and settling into a new place. However, almost all sellers want to make the most money possible. Sometimes, these feelings can lead to costly mistakes.
Also, whatever your circumstances, the road to the closing table can be riddled with obstacles — from issues with showings and negotiations to inspection surprises. But many of these complications are manageable when you have a skilled and knowledgeable Realtor®.
For example, here are seven common mistakes that many home sellers make. These can cause anxiety, cost you time, and shrink your financial proceeds. Fortunately, I can help you avert these missteps and set you up for a successful, low-stress selling experience.
MISTAKE #1: Setting an Unrealistic Price
Many sellers believe pricing their homes high and waiting for the “right buyers” will net them the most money. However, overpriced homes often sit on the market with little activity, which can be the kiss of death in real estate — and result in an inevitable price drop.1
Alternatively, if you price your home at (or sometimes slightly below) market value, it can be among the nicest buyers see within their budgets. This strategy can increase your likelihood of receiving multiple offers.2
To help you set a realistic price from the start, I will do a comparative market analysis or CMA. This integral piece of research will help us determine an ideal listing price based on the amount similar properties have recently sold for in your area.
Without this data, you risk pricing your home too high (and getting no offers) or too low (and leaving money on the table). I can help you find that sweet spot that will draw in buyers without undercutting your profits.
MISTAKE #2: Trying to Time the Market
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “buy low and sell high.” But when it comes to real estate, that’s easier said than done.
Delaying your home sale until prices peak may sound like a great idea. But sellers should keep these factors in mind:
- First, predicting the market with certainty is nearly impossible.
- If you wait to buy your next home, its price could also increase – which may erode any additional proceeds from your sale.
- If mortgage rates rise, your pool of potential buyers could shrink — and you would have to pay more to finance your next purchase.
Instead of trying to time the market, choose your ideal sales timeline. Your perfect timeline may be based on factors like your personal financial situation, shifting family dynamics, or the seasonal patterns in your neighborhood. I can help you figure out the best time to sell, given your circumstances.
MISTAKE #3: Failing to Address Needed Repairs
Many sellers hope that buyers won’t notice their leaky faucet or broken shutters during home showings. But minor issues like these can leave buyers worrying about more serious — and costly — problems lurking out of sight.
Even if you do receive an offer, there’s a high likelihood that the buyer will hire a professional home inspector who will flag any defects in their report. Neglecting to address a major issue could lead buyers to ask for costly repairs, money back, or worse yet, walk away from the purchase altogether.
It’s a good idea to make necessary renovations before your home hits the market to avoid disruptions caused by unaddressed defects. I can help you decide which repairs and updates are worth your time and investment. In some cases, I may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection.
This extra time and attention can help you avoid potential surprises down the road and identify any significant structural, system, or cosmetic faults that could impact a future sale.3
MISTAKE #4: Neglecting to Stage Your Home
Staging is the act of preparing your home for potential buyers. The goal is to “set the stage” to help buyers envision themselves living in your home. Some sellers opt to skip this step, but that mistake can cost them time and money in the long run. A 2021 survey by the Real Estate Staging Association found that, on average, staged homes sold nine days faster and for $40,000 over the list price.4
Indoors, staging could include everything from redecorating, painting, or rearranging your furniture pieces to removing personal items, decluttering, and deep cleaning. Outdoors, you might focus on power washing, planting flowers, or hanging a wreath on the front door.
You may not need to do all these tasks, but almost every home can benefit from some form of staging. Before your home hits the market, I can refer you to a professional stager or offer our insights and suggestions if you prefer the do-it-yourself route.
MISTAKE #5: Evaluating Offers on Price Alone
When reviewing offers, most sellers focus on the offer price. While dollar value is undoubtedly important, a high-priced offer is worthless if the deal never reaches the closing table. That’s why it’s important to consider other factors in addition to the offer price, such as:
- Financing and buyer qualifications
- Deposit size
- Contract contingencies
- Closing date
- Leaseback options
Depending on your circumstances, some of these factors may or may not be important to you. For example, if you’re still shopping for your next home, you might place a high premium on an offer that allows for a flexible closing date or leaseback option.
Buyers and their agents are focused on crafting deals that work well for them. I can help you assess your needs and goals to select an offer that works best for you.
MISTAKE #6: Acting on Emotion Instead of Reason
It’s only natural to grow emotionally attached to your home. Unfortunately, that’s why so many sellers end up feeling hurt or offended at some point during the selling process. Low offers can feel like insults. Repair requests can feel like judgments. And whatever you do — don’t listen in on showings through your security monitoring system. Chances are, some buyers won’t like your decor choices, either!
However, it’s a huge mistake to ruin a great selling opportunity because you refuse to counter a low offer or negotiate minor repairs. Instead, keep a cool head and be willing to adjust reasonably to make the sale. I can help you weigh your decisions and provide sensible advice with your best interests in mind.
MISTAKE #7: Not Hiring an Agent
There’s a good reason 90% of homeowners choose to sell with the help of a real estate agent. Homes listed by agents sold for 22% more than the average for-sale-by-owner home, according to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors.5
Selling a home on your own may seem like an easy way to save money. But in reality, there is a steep learning curve. And a listing agent can:
- Skip past time-consuming problems
- Use market knowledge to get the best price
- Access contacts and networks to speed up the selling process
Working with a listing agent will save significant time and effort while minimizing your risk and liability. And the increased profits realized through a more effective marketing and negotiation strategy could more than makeup for the cost of your agent’s commission.
I can navigate the ins and outs of the housing market for you and make your selling process as stress-free as possible. You may even end up with an offer for your home that’s better than you expected.
BYPASS THE PITFALLS WITH A KNOWLEDGEABLE GUIDE
Your home selling journey doesn’t have to be hard. When you hire me as your listing agent, I’ll develop a customized sales plan to help you get top dollar for your home without any undue risk, stress, or aggravation. So if you’re considering buying or selling a home, reach out today to schedule a free consultation and home value assessment.
- The Washington Post –
- Realtor.com –
- American Society of Home Inspectors – https://www.homeinspector.org/Newsroom/Articles/Before-You-Sell-6-Reasons-to-Get-a-Pre-Listing-Inspection/15766/Article
- Real Estate Staging Association –
- National Association of Realtors –