You’ve made a major life decision: you’re going to move to another state. You’ve done your research, and you will be moving to one of the safest neighborhoods in your new city. The only task left to do is to sell your current house.
You might be new to the home selling process, but you don’t have to let that on to potential buyers. Make pro home seller choices, and avoid these home selling mistakes.
Not Hiring a Professional Real Estate Agent
Being an expert doesn’t mean doing it all on your own. There’s value in collaboration, and real estate agents can be your greatest ally and support when selling your home. One of the biggest mistakes home sellers and buyers make is not hiring an agent. The commission you will be saving if you go the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route you will use to pay for marketing and going back to square one if you make grave real estate sale mistakes.
Statistics show that sellers who decide to sell solo end up settling for a lower sale price and see their homes sit on the market longer than usual and beyond the time that gives homes on the market the most value.
The real estate agent will guide you in what to do and what not to do when selling your house in terms of legalities, paperwork, pricing your home, marketing strategies, showings, and negotiating home inspection findings & offers. Find the right Realtor® by interviewing several agents, reading reviews, and asking family and friends for referrals.
Not Taking Professional Photographs of Your Home
One of the home seller mistakes that can cost you dearly is not taking professional photographs of your home. Yes, you will spend a pretty penny for an experienced real estate photographer, but hiring one ensures that you will be presenting your home in the best possible light, and you’re not needlessly turning away likely buyers because of a few bad pictures.
90% of home buyers begin looking for a home by browsing online, so it’s critical to impress them with professionally taken photos.
A real estate photographer would know the best camera angles needed for home sales, and they have the proper equipment, such as a wide-angle lens, to make this happen. Also, they can make you stand out from the competition by taking aerial photos using drone technology if you have a large home or parcel of land.
Other ways to make listing your home a cut above the rest are creating a video tour of your home and, of course, being gracious with requests for in-person walkthroughs.
If you must DIY your listing pictures, remember to take many photos, remove all the clutter, open all the blinds, and turn on all the lights. It’s ideal to take photographs with plenty of natural light during the daytime.
Not Cleaning or Staging Your Home
You have probably heard about this seller mistake time and again. You might be thinking: “I’m letting go of the house anyway. Why put so much effort into it?”
Not cleaning and staging the home is one of the rookie mistakes to avoid when selling your home.
Real estate experts will tell you that marketing and pricing are only two-thirds of the home selling equation. Psychology completes the formula for a successful real estate transaction. Let’s look at the consequences of skipping cleaning and staging your home.
Not depersonalizing or removing your personal items and clutter will make it hard for home buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. It will also make your house feel smaller and less comfortable. Remove any mail lying around and all family pictures so buyers are free to make that personal connection.
Presenting a dirty house to buyers makes them wonder what else you have neglected in your home. Buyers would only want to buy houses in excellent or good condition.
On the other hand, showing a bare, empty home leaves buyers with a feeling of emptiness. Edit down what furniture you already have and leave only enough behind to complement the features of your home.
Not Cutting Emotional Ties With the Home
We’ve mentioned that selling a home is as much a psychological game as it is a numbers game. Both buyers and sellers find themselves emotional in the real estate process. Not cutting emotional ties with your home is an important mistake to avoid when selling your own home.
First and foremost, you have to be confident that you are willing to let go of your house and all the memories that you have made in it.
Real estate professionals advise putting on a salesperson and businessman’s hats and placing the homeowner role more in the background. Experts also suggest doing some minor remodeling and making a significant effort in staging because this helps create a healthy emotional distance from the home as the house will look slightly different. Plus, this will enable you to ask for a higher sale price.
We understand that you may feel offended when you receive a low offer, and you might want to hold out for the highest possible sale price for your beloved home. But it’s best not to take offers personally and remove emotion & ego from the equation as much as possible.
Respond with an open mind and a fair counteroffer, and you might just receive a profitable offer sufficient to jumpstart your new chapter.
Finally, don’t linger in showings. Let your Realtor® do their magic.
Not Getting a Pre-inspection on Your Home
Not getting a pre-inspection on your home is a common home selling mistake that can lead to a lawsuit if home sellers aren’t careful. Also called a pre-listing home inspection, a seller may have their home inspected ahead of the elective home inspection usually requested by people looking to buy a home.
A pre-inspection is typically inexpensive and puts you steps forward in the home selling process. Why go through signing a purchase contract with a buyer only for them to withdraw after receiving a dismal home inspection report? Save time, make necessary repairs ahead of time, and attract turnkey home buyers.
You also have the option not to make the repairs, but you will be pricing your home below market value. Another way is to keep the original sale price and offer the home buyer credit to make the renovations.
A pre-inspection is also crucial in compliance with your state’s disclosure laws to avoid being sued by the buyer when they uncover issues in your home later on. Some states require home sellers to disclose known defects about their houses if home buyers question them directly, while other states decree that sellers must voluntarily disclose problems with their home.
Not Selling at the Best Time
Aim to have your home sold between late February and mid-May during Spring.
Late fall and winter, particularly around the holidays, is generally a slow time for home sales. Gatherings occupy people, and the nippy weather makes it appealing just to stay in. Buyers are typically ready and willing to purchase a home when it’s warmer in Spring. You will be selling faster and closer to your asking sale price then.
If the sale cannot wait until Spring, it might be worth giving it a try in the colder months as there won’t be much competition.
Consult also with an accountant to see if any tax benefits such as long-term capital gains tax breaks apply to you, and align the sale in your calendar. Correctly timing the deal could mean thousands of dollars saved for you.
Not Preparing Your Home for Sale
Before you meet a buyer and buyer’s agent for a showing for the first time, use a repair and home maintenance checklist as you inspect each room of your house. Read the list here
for what not to fix when selling a house.
You can also have family or your Realtor® point out areas of your house that need work. Because of your familiarity with the place, you may be immune to its blind spots. Get rid of odors, apply a fresh coat of paint, clean the carpets, and declutter; you will undoubtedly make an excellent first impression on homebuyers.
When selling your home, many things could go wrong, from miscalculated closing costs to incorrect comparative market analysis. Doing your own bit and research can take you half of the way. Be open to recruiting the help of Realtors®, real estate photographers, home inspectors, accountants, appraisers, and professional cleaning and staging services to ensure the highest probability of success.