As soon as you decide to sell your home, your mind starts thinking of the million things you need to do to get your home ready to go on the market. To make things a little easier, here are seven mistakes to avoid making when selling your home as given by real estate experts from all over the U.S.
Mistake #1- Trying to Sell Your Home Without an Agent
Connecting with a realtor should be one of the first things you do. Selling your home is not like selling an old car. The process of home buying and selling involves a lot of legal issues that most people are not aware of. Several of our experts brought up this point. Other than understanding local housing codes and laws involving real estate, agents have insight that someone would only gain after selling homes for a living, easily hundreds in their career for top agents (According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2018 the median number of homes sold annually per agent was 11).
Ryan Ferguson of eXp Realty (Austin, TX) took it one step further. He emphasized the importance of finding not just any agent, but the right agent. He said, “I feel like there are so many distractions around commissions and fees so many sellers skip all the super important necessary steps as they are only focused on how much commission they will be paying. Sellers end up finding an agent with little to no experience. This agent is willing to charge next to nothing in commissions, ultimately costing the seller much more in the end.”
Once you decide to use an agent, do your homework so your realtor isn’t adding to your list of worries, but helping you prevent them.
Mistake #2- Thinking Your House Is Worth More Than It Is
Think positive, but also think realistically. How much is your house actually worth? Don’t expect to get $300,000 for your home just because a house down the street recently sold for that price. This is another example of why having an agent is a good idea. Get your home appraised and consult with your real estate agent so you are prepared and have reasonable expectations.
Mistake #3- No Knowledge Of The Housing Market Where You’re Selling
As part of understanding the home-selling process, you should also have a basic understanding of real estate conditions in your area. This will help you to have realistic expectations. How is the market where you are selling? Are you in a thriving city or neighborhood? Are there schools, shopping, and other amenities nearby? What do you have to offer that other locations do not? Thinking about and researching questions like these will give you a better idea of what to expect.
Mistake #4- Not Getting a Pre-Listing Home Inspection
Several experts we reached out to mentioned the importance of getting a pre-listing inspection when selling your home. First off, having a home inspection done before putting your house on the market shows you things that will make your home more marketable and look better on paper. A home inspector will go through your entire home and give you a report that includes the problems that they find (as well as the good things about your home).
An inspection also provides potential buyers more peace-of-mind by being able to see that the home is in good condition or knowing ahead of time any issues that may exist.
“Better to know these things ahead of time and be able to prepare. Some buyers that would normally buy the home if an issue is disclosed ahead of time may walk if it comes up and surprises them during their own inspection.” –Ryan Tollefsen, Founder and Team Leader of Unity Home Group (Anchorage, AK)
Don’t allow a small problem to drive away a potential home buyer. Even if the problem isn’t fixed beforehand, it gives buyers a heads up that the issue exists rather than surprising them during their inspection.
Mistake #5- Leaving Repairs to be Done After Your House is Listed
After the inspection come the repairs. Our sources said you should not leave repairs to be done after your home is already listed. It is highly recommended that you take care of any necessary repairs before putting it on the market. Your agent will have a good idea of which things may alarm prospective buyers, so that information paired with a report from a certified home inspector will let you know what to work on.
Tammy Kister of Keller Williams Realty (Abilene, TX) said, “If an inspection has been done and the repairs made or issues addressed, there is nothing the buyer can negotiate with.” By doing the recommended repairs, you take away some of the buyer’s bargaining chips, giving you the upper hand.
Mistake #6- Listing Your Home For More Than It’s Worth
Our experts said one of the most common mistakes they see are sellers overpricing their home when they put it on the market. Often the price is listed for higher than the seller is actually wanting in order to leave room for negotiations. Ryan Toffelsen said, “As far as overpricing goes, it is going to put the home at a disadvantage as soon as someone starts looking at [comparables]. The longer a home sits on the market, the more likely it will sell for less.” Aside from the danger of being on the market too long and losing the prime time for sellers, you may find trouble with the appraisal and drive away potential buyers (see this article on Trulia for more). Listing it at fair market value is in your best interest.
Mistake #7- ‘Not Taking Time to Get Your Home Ready for the Market’ or Staging
Romona Brogan of Remax Real Estate in Abilene, Texas noted that one of the biggest mistakes that she sees sellers make is “not taking the time to get their home ready for the market – cleaning, decluttering, touch up paint…”. Five other experts mentioned this same common mistake. Staging your home and making it look ‘market ready’ can make or break a sale.
Jenny Ledder, Tanya Harbin Team- Keller Williams Realty of Abilene, TX, says it is important for your home to be neat and look like you want to sell it. Even if you have lived there for 20 years, you want the home to look fresh and new to somebody else!
Jheri South of Platinum Living Realty in Phoenix, AZ recommends opening it up and clearing out personal items. By decluttering and removing well-used, personal items, potential buyers have a better vision of what it would be like if they lived there. You also have the opportunity to use your agent’s expertise to learn specific qualities that home buyers might be looking for and use that to your advantage to stage the home.
In conclusion, the process of buying and selling homes is stressful enough. Use these tips from 12 leading Real Estate experts to help guide your decisions as you sell your home!