7 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make (And How to Avoid
No matter what’s going on in the housing market, the process of selling
a home can be challenging. Some sellers have a hard time saying goodbye to a
treasured family residence. Others want to skip ahead to the fun of decorating
and settling into a new place. Almost all sellers want to make the most money
Whatever your circumstances, the road to the closing table can be
riddled with obstacles — from issues with showings and negotiations to
inspection surprises. But many of these complications are avoidable when you
have a skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent by your side.
For example, here are seven common mistakes that many home sellers
make. These can cause anxiety, cost you time, and shrink your financial
proceeds. Fortunately, we can help you avert these missteps and set you up for
a successful and low-stress selling experience.
MISTAKE #1: Setting an
Many sellers believe that pricing their homes high and waiting for the
“right buyers” to come along will net them the most money. However, overpriced
homes often sit on the market with little activity, which can be the kiss of
death in real estate — and result in an inevitable price drop.1
Alternatively, if you price your home at (or sometimes slightly below)
market value, it can be among the nicest that buyers see within their budgets.
This can increase your likelihood of receiving multiple offers.2
To help you set a realistic price from the start, we will do a
comparative market analysis, or CMA. This integral piece of research will help
us determine an ideal listing price based on the amount that similar properties
have recently sold for in your area.
Without this data, you risk pricing your home too high (and getting no
offers) or too low (and leaving money on the table). We can help you find that
sweet spot that will draw in buyers without undercutting your profits.
MISTAKE #2: Trying to Time
You’ve probably heard the
old saying, “Buy low and sell high.” But when it comes to real estate, that’s
easier said than done.
Delaying your home sale
until prices have hit their peak may sound like a great idea. But sellers
should keep these factors in mind:
the market with certainty is nearly impossible.
you wait to buy your next home, its price could increase as well. This may
erode any additional proceeds from your sale.
mortgage rates are rising, your pool of potential buyers could shrink —
and you would have to pay more to finance your next purchase.
Instead of trying to time
the market, choose your ideal sales
timeline. This may be based on factors like your personal financial situation,
shifting family dynamics, or the seasonal patterns in your neighborhood. We can
help you figure out the best time to sell given your individual circumstances.
MISTAKE #3: Failing to
Address Needed Repairs
Many sellers hope that
buyers won’t notice their leaky faucet or broken shutters during home showings.
But minor issues like these can leave buyers worrying about more serious — and
costly — problems lurking out of sight.
Even if you do receive an
offer, there’s a high likelihood that the buyer will hire a professional home
inspector, who will flag any defects in their report. Neglecting to address a
major issue could lead buyers to ask for costly repairs, money back, or worse
yet, walk away from the purchase altogether.
To avoid these types of
disruptions, it’s important to make necessary renovations before your home hits
the market. We can help you decide which repairs and updates are worth your
time and investment. In some cases, we may recommend a professional pre-listing
This extra time and
attention can help you avoid potential surprises down the road and identify any major structural, system, or cosmetic faults that could
impact a future sale.3
MISTAKE #4: Neglecting to Stage Your Home
Staging is the act of preparing your home for potential buyers. The
goal is to “set the stage” to help buyers envision themselves living in your
home. Some sellers opt to skip this step, but that mistake can cost them time
and money in the long run. A 2021 survey by the Real Estate Staging Association
found that, on average, staged homes sold nine days faster and for $40,000 over
Indoors, staging could include everything from redecorating, painting,
or rearranging your furniture pieces to removing personal items, decluttering,
and deep cleaning. Outdoors, you might focus on power washing, planting
flowers, or hanging a wreath on the front door.
You may not need to do all these tasks, but almost every home can
benefit from some form of staging. Before your home hits the market, we can
refer you to a professional stager or offer our insights and suggestions if you
prefer the do-it-yourself route.
MISTAKE #5: Evaluating Offers
on Price Alone
When reviewing offers, most sellers focus on one thing: the offer
price. While dollar value is certainly important, a high-priced offer is
worthless if the deal never reaches the closing table. That’s why it’s
important to consider other factors in addition to the offer price, such as:
Financing and buyer qualifications
Depending on your circumstances, some of these factors may or may not
be important to you. For example, if you’re still shopping for your next home,
you might place a high premium on an offer that allows for a flexible closing
date or leaseback option.
Buyers and their agents are focused on crafting deals that work well
for them. We can help you assess your needs and goals to select an offer that
works best for you.
MISTAKE #6: Acting on Emotion
Instead of Reason
It’s only natural to grow
emotionally attached to your home. That’s why so many sellers end up feeling
hurt or offended at some point during the selling process. Low offers can feel like insults. Repair requests can feel like judgments.
And whatever you do — don’t listen in on showings through your security
monitoring system. Chances are, some buyers won’t like your decor choices,
However, it’s a huge mistake to ruin a great selling opportunity
because you refuse to counter a low offer or negotiate minor repairs. Instead,
try to keep a cool head and be willing to adjust reasonably to make the sale.
We can help you weigh your decisions and provide rational advice with your best
interests in mind.
MISTAKE #7: Not Hiring an
There’s a good reason 90%
of homeowners choose to sell with the help of a real estate agent. Homes listed
by agents sold for 22% more than the average for-sale-by-owner home, according
to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors.5
Selling a home on your own
may seem like an easy way to save money. But in reality,
there is a steep learning curve. And a listing agent can:
Skip past time-consuming problems
Use market knowledge to get the
Access contacts and networks to
speed up the selling process
If you choose to work with a listing agent, you’ll save significant
time and effort while minimizing your personal risk and liability. And the
increased profits realized through a more effective marketing and negotiation
strategy could more than make up for the cost of your agent’s commission.
We can navigate the ins and outs of the housing market for you and make
your selling process as stress-free as possible. You may even end up with an
offer for your home that’s better than you expected.
BYPASS THE PITFALLS WITH A
Your home selling journey doesn’t have to be hard. When you hire us as
your listing agent, we’ll develop a customized sales plan to help you get top
dollar for your home without any undue risk, stress, or aggravation. If you’re
thinking of buying or selling a home, reach out today to schedule a free
consultation and home value assessment.