Common Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a Home
Buying and selling real estate are stressful, high-stakes processes, but buying a house is a lot more fun than selling one. Challenges for home sellers include timing, managing emotions, seller’s remorse, expensive repairs, staging and showing, and market forces beyond their control. An experienced, ethical real estate agent is a valuable ally who can effectively manage the marketing and guide the transaction through several obstacles. The main goal is to sell the house as quickly as possible for the highest price. In some situations, time may be more important than money, so sellers may be willing to make price concessions for a quicker closing. There are many mistakes that can delay or derail a house sale:
- Getting overly emotional: This is the place you call home, so it’s natural to get a little emotional. Prepare for agents critiquing your home and furniture, strangers looking in your closets, and buyers submitting low offers. Start looking at it as a financial transaction.
- Failing to interview multiple listing agents: This is a crucial role you’re looking to fill, so don’t pick the first agent you find. Research local listing agents, draft a list of questions to ask, and then interview at least four realtors from different firms.
- Automatically hiring your buyer’s agent: The agent who helped you buy the house may not be the best person for the job. Different agents have different specialties, and listing and marketing property is more work than representing buyers.
- Setting the price too high: This is the biggest mistake sellers make. An overpriced listing can scare away ready and able buyers. Market value is based on comparable sales, location, demand, condition, and market trends. Be wary of agents promising big selling prices and bidding wars.
- Not repairing and updating before listing: Major condition issues and deferred maintenance can cause buyer second thoughts. Repair broken or damaged items and systems and update major features.
- Concealing condition problems: This is pointless and legally dangerous. Sellers are required to disclose known defects and many buyers get a home inspection. Fix the issue if you can or reduce the price.
- Failing to stage the house for sale: A house for sale is different than the house before you list. You’ll need to ruthlessly depersonalize and declutter and then rearrange furniture to optimize space and flow.
- Few or low-quality photos: The listing photos get people interested in seeing your house in person. Make sure the listing page and marketing materials include plenty of professional, bright, clear photos.
- Inadequate marketing: If enough of the right buyers aren’t finding the listing, you can’t get visitors and offers. Marketing should be designed to expose the house to the most prospective buyers. It goes beyond just posting it on the MLS. Ask your agent what else she is doing to get the house seen.
- Not being open to negotiation: Don’t assume that you’ll get the asking price. Buyers expect to negotiate everything from repairs and personal property to price and closing dates. When pricing, aim to attract buyers and leave room for negotiation.