9 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

As Spring approaches and the real estate market comes back to life along with the budding flowers, some homeowners are preparing to list their homes for sale. If you’re thinking of selling your home, here are common seller mistakes to avoid.

Selling Your Home: Avoid Making These Common Mistakes

Mistake 1: Not Staging Your Home 

Sellers who do not clean and stage their homes are throwing money down the drain. If you can’t afford to hire a professional real estate agent (like Mike Lind!) that works with a top stager (and includes it as part of their service), that’s okay, there are many things you can do on your own. 

Failing to do these things will not only reduce your sale price but may also prevent you from getting a sale at all. For example, if you haven’t attended to minor issues like a really dated window coverings, a potential buyer may wonder whether the house has larger, costlier issues that haven’t been addressed either.

Work with a real estate agent or professional home stager with a keen pair of eyes that will point out areas of your home that need work. Because of your familiarity with the home, you may have become immune to its trouble spots. 

Decluttering, cleaning thoroughly, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls and getting rid of any odors will also help you make a good impression on buyers.

Mistake 2: Crappy Listing Photos

Listen, every single buyer looks for homes online these days, and in the age of high definition phone screens, 4k T.V.s and instagram, many of those homes online have great photos, that you’ll be doing yourself a real disservice if you don’t offer great photos as well. 

At the same time, there are so many crappy photos of homes for sale online that if you do a good job, it will set your listing apart and help generate extra interest.

Good photos should be crisp and clear, should be taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light available, and should showcase your home’s best assets. 

Ideally, your agent should be working with a professional real estate photographer to get top quality results.

If an agent suggests taking snapshots on a phone or are not working with a top real estate photographer, well, how serious are they about selling your home for the best price possible?

Mistake 3: Hiding Major Problems

Any problem with the property will be uncovered during the buyer’s inspection, so there’s no use hiding it. The problems should be repaired ahead of time or price the property at proper market value to account for the problem.

Doing a home inspection before listing your house for sale allows you to uncover problems you may not have known about so you can either fix it ahead of time or, be in a position to let buyers know ahead of time.

Realize that if you don’t fix the problem in advance, you may eliminate a fair number of buyers who want a turnkey home. 

Every home that I list for sale will be inspected by a qualified home inspector which allows you to avoid costly surprises after the home is sold. 

Mistake 4: Setting an Unrealistic Price

Whether you’re working with an agent or going it alone, setting the right asking price is key. Remember the comparable market analysis you or your agent did when you bought your home to determine a fair offering price? Buyers will do this for your home, too, so as a seller, you should be one step ahead of them.

Overpriced homes generally don’t sell. What many home sellers may not realize is that overpricing a home can result in them getting less for their house than if they priced it right to begin with. 

The reason: Knowledgeable agents and savvy home buyers often won’t bid on an overpriced house. By the time the seller wises up, many of the best prospects will have bought other houses, decreasing demand for the now properly priced property. 

An overpriced house can end up being sold for less than it would have a few months earlier.

Mistake 5: Being Emotionally Involved

Once you decide to sell your home, it can be helpful to start thinking of yourself as a home seller, rather than a homeowner. 

By looking at the sale from a purely financial perspective, you’ll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property that you’ve undoubtedly created many memories in.

Also, try to remember how you felt when you were shopping for that home. Most buyers will also be in an emotional state. If you can remember that you are selling not just a piece of property but also an image, a certain lifestyle, you’ll be better able to realize the value of a good real estate agent’s service and be more likely to put in the extra effort of doing some minor renovations to get top dollar for your home. 

These changes in appearance will not only help the sales price but also help you create that emotional distance because the home will look less familiar.

Mistake 6: Not Accommodating Buyers

If someone wants to view your house, you need to accommodate this person, even if it is inconvenient for you. And yes, you have to clean and tidy the house before every single visit. A buyer won’t know and care if your house was clean last week. It’s a lot of work, but stay focused on the prize.

Mistake 7: Not Hiring an Agent

Although real estate agents command a hefty commission (usually 5 to 6% of the sale price of your home), it’s truly not-advisable to try to sell your home on your own, especially if you haven’t done it before. 

A good agent will help you set a fair and competitive listing price for your home that will increase your odds of the most amount of money for your home. 

An agent can also help tone down the emotion of the process by interacting with potential buyer agents so you don’t have to and eliminating tire-kickers who only want to look at your property but have no intention of placing an offer.

With more experience negotiating home sales than you, an agent will potentially help you get more money than you could selling on your own. 

Also, if any problems crop up during the process—and they commonly do—an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. 

Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly. 

Mistake 8: Minimizing What Real Estate Agents Do

Some people do sell their homes themselves. You’ll need to do your research on recently sold properties in your area and properties currently on the market that are comparable to your home to determine an attractive listing price. Keep in mind that most home prices have an agent’s commission factored in and you may have to discount your price as a result.

You’ll be responsible for your own marketing, so you’ll want to make sure to get your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to reach the widest number of buyers. 

Also, you’ll be the one showing the house and negotiating the sale with the buyer’s agent, which can be time-consuming, stressful, and emotional for some people.

If you’re forgoing an agent, be sure to hire a good real estate lawyer to help you with the finer points of the transaction. 

Keep in mind though, if the buyer has an agent, the real estate agent expects to be compensated for their time and effort. This cost is typically covered by the seller, so you’ll still need to pay about 2.5% of the home’s selling price plus H.S.T. to the buyer’s agent.

Mistake 9: Choosing the Wrong Agent 

If you choose to work with a real estate agent, make sure you select an agent who has your best interests at heart. 

To help ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, take the time to interview potential real estate agents. Check their online reviews, talk with past clients, and make sure they have plenty of experience.

You may also ask potential agents about:

  • Their marketing plan for your home
  • Their negotiation style
  • How often they plan to communicate with you
  • If they have any current listings that might compete with yours
  • What services are included in their commission

Before you hire an agent, take the time to interview them and try to get a good sense if they have your best interests at heart, or theirs.

Final Words on Selling Your Home

Listing your home for sale can be a stressful undertaking. However, with some preparations and expectation management, you can successfully sell your home.

Have questions? My team and I are more than happy to answer any questions and we won’t bug the heck out of you to list your house with us afterwards. Promise.