9 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home 

 November 1, 2020

By Scott Teesdale  

minutes read time

Your home is perhaps one of the most expensive things you’ll ever sell. Doing it the wrong way could substantially mess with your financial position and objectives. That is why you need to prepare ahead of time for the exhaustive and time-consuming task of selling your home. And, it can be worse for first-time home sellers. 

The critical mistakes home sellers will want to avoid when selling their home are:

1. Not hiring a good listing agent

Selling a home comes with a large to-do list. You can decide to take everything on alone, or better yet, hire a good selling agent to help you with the process. When deciding if you need to hire a seller’s agent, keep in mind that while not necessary, having one around to help with legalities, negotiations, paperwork, and determining the home’s value can help take a lot off your plate in this process.

2. Not preparing for home selling expenses 

Selling a home comes with costs that most home sellers, especially first timers, have no idea they exist. There are commissions of approximately six percent of the home’s total value that will go to the buyer and seller agents. Additionally, a home inspector may propose concessions like repairing the house, and the buyer may require you to cater for the expenses. You can also expect closing costs, which ordinarily range between one and three percent of the home value. These costs include: 

Furthermore, if you are selling a condominium or cooperative, additional fees and taxes are paid to the building’s homeowner association. Before venturing down the route of selling your home, check with the building’s board to learn more about what those fees look may be.

Selling your home is not solely about making a profit from the sale. You need to prepare in advance for the above expenses. 

3. Setting the wrong selling price 

Setting your price too high can make it stay on the market for long, whereas selling your home for a low price can make you miss a good deal. There are many factors that can affect a home’s resale value. It is essential to understand your home’s real value, for instance, by getting your home appraised by a professional. A great way to increase the value of your appraisal is by making small improvements such as a new coat of paint or easy fixes.

4. Using poor quality photos

With the help of technology, most homebuyers tend to do their search online. We can all agree that this method saves time and energy compared to physically looking for a house. That said, you can’t afford to use low-quality photos on your listing. Poorly captured images are likely to drive potential buyers away. You can either take great photos of your home or hire a professional real estate photographer to get the job done for you. Also, consider adding a video tour or 360-degree panorama to enhance your listing further. By all means, you have to ensure your listing has excellent images that will set you apart from the rest.

These days, photos include “staging” a home, which means the home seller physically moves furniture around the house to show potential buyers how to utilize the space entirely. For example, maybe that extra bedroom can also act as an office, or perhaps the living room looks better without a large TV. Whatever the case, for the home seller who wants to go the extra mile, staging the home and furniture is a great way to show off the house’s full potential.

5. Letting your emotions get the better of you

Irrespective of your reasons for selling your property, putting your home on the market can inspire a deep emotional response, especially if you’ve never sold a house before. When you receive a lowball offer, you’ll most likely be offended. However, a low bid is not a personal offense, but a starting point for negotiation, and not exactly the final resale price. Such anguishes can be avoided by visualizing yourself as a businessperson rather than just the homeowner. 

6. Attempting to sell a darkly-lit home

Before you put up your house for sale, you need to make sure that it has the correct lighting. Bright rooms make your home feel so spacious; therefore, close those curtains and go to each room. In case you notice any that is poorly lit, contact an electrician immediately to install additional lighting. You also need to take note of lights that don’t work and get them replaced as well. An adequately lit house could be the investment that will get you potential buyers faster. 

7. Not repainting your home

Paint is perhaps the first thing potential buyers will notice once they get to your property. To create an excellent first impression, ensure that your house is painted with attractive color(s) and that the paint’s quality is exemplary to impress the buyer. According to a study published by Realty Times, painting your home’s exterior could give you up to 51 percent return on investment (ROI).

8. Concealing major flaws

Hiding significant flaws of your home, such as a leaking roof, is a dishonest deed that will be uncovered when the buyer inspects the house. Thus, before planting the “for sale sign” in your yard, it is essential to rectify the problems in your home first. Alternatively, you can do the following:

  • Reduce the price below the market value to account for the flaws
  • Fix the problem(s) yourself or hire a contractor for maintenance before looking for a buyer
  • List the house at a standard cost and give credit to the buyer to fix the issue(s) 

Note that failure to address these problems could delay closing the deal or, even worse, turn away potential buyers who are after a turnkey home. You or a professional should conduct a home inspection before listing your home to avoid costly surprises.

9.  Forgetting curb appeal

The front of your home is the first thing buyers see when they walk up to your house. Many home sellers forget the importance of first impressions when preparing their house for sale. They are so busy making repairs and upgrades that they forget the critical yet simple act of upgrading their front yard. For example, adding new, fresh flowers or keeping the lawn mowed goes a long way when a homebuyer pulls up with their agent. If you are excited to prepare the exterior of your home for selling and have the time/budget to do so, we recommend repainting the front of your house or at least touching up parts where the paint is chipping.

Bottom line

Home selling mistakes will cost you money, time, and, most importantly, your peace of mind. However, with a little expertise, you can avoid many of these pitfalls altogether. Simple things like pricing the property correctly, using professionally captured photos for your listing, and ensuring your house has proper lighting & painting, among other things will get your house ready to sell. In no time, you’ll be signing those closing papers! 

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, make sure to print out our home selling checklist so you don’t miss any steps along the way.

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I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.