Selling a home can be a complex process. It’s easy for first-time home sellers to make lots of mistakes. To keep it hassle-free from for-sale to sold, consider these common mistakes people make when selling their homes – and avoid making them yourself.
1. Skimping on necessary repairs
Some sellers ignore major repairs in hopes of closing the sale before anyone notices. However, if the home inspector catches detrimental damage, it will likely halt the sale until repair – or an agreement – can be made.
To save yourself the hassle and to streamline the selling process, assess any serious repairs before listing your home. It may feel unnecessary to repair a home you’re soon to leave, but it could help you pass inspection – and a well-maintained home gets better offers.
2. Not prepping the house for showings
Your home is bound to be filled with mementos, photographs, kitchen magnets and all of the wonderful details that make it unique to you. But an important part of preparing your home for showings is to minimize knick-knacks.
To do so, store away any clutter that would distract an interested homebuyer when they enter a room or open a closet or cabinet. Tidy up all surfaces, including bookshelves, end tables and kitchen countertops. By cleaning up messes and personal items, you’ll help rooms appear larger, so buyers will be able to envision their own belongings in the space. It also keeps buyers from getting distracted and draw their attention to the home’s strongest selling features.
Don’t forget about curb appeal. Improving a home's curb appeal will add value to your property and help it sell faster. Buyers will likely form an opinion of your home before they enter the front door. When you clean and stage the interior of the home, head outside and give a bit of TLC to the exterior too. Depending on the season, this could include anything from weeding mulch beds, putting out planters or touching up chipped paint on the house’s exterior.
3. Using inadequate listing photos
Listing photos can make all the difference when attracting homebuyers who begin the homebuying process online. Digital listings for even the most magnificent of homes will receive far fewer clicks if they aren’t presented with high-quality photos.
Photos should be crisp and clear and taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light available. They should showcase your home’s best assets. As mentioned above, prepping the home before listing it for sale by cleaning and decorating helps ensure that photos capture each room looking polished and sophisticated.
4. Listing it FSBO
Sellers who list their homes for sale by owner, otherwise known as FSBO, could face major setbacks along the way and may even end up receiving significantly less money in return. In order to ensure the sale is legally sound, and that you’re receiving competitive offers, it’s important to hire a real estate agent.
An agent can place your home in your regional multiple listing service. This gives you the best chance to get the offer you want. As your representative in the sale, a real estate agent will offer guidance and make sure the process goes smoothly. Qualified agents dedicate their lives to helping people navigate the buying or selling process - so why attempt it alone?
5. Setting an inflated price
Be realistic and timely when setting an initial listing price. Read up on your local housing market to learn the current trends of buyers and sellers. For example, selling in a seller’s market may mean that you list your home for sale at a higher price to account for the increased demand.
Hiring a real estate agent, who can help guide you to a fair listing price, can be critical. Sometimes, setting a price that is disproportionate to the value of the property means that the home will sit on the market for days on end. Accordingly, buyers who see a home sitting on the market endlessly without any movement may question the integrity of the home.
6. Underestimating costs associated with the process
Before your home hits the market, make sure you’re aware of the costs associated with the process. While your initial investment may be some routine repair, staging and professional listing photos, bear in mind that, as the sale progresses, you’ll typically be paying for closing costs, moving expenses and fees associated with hiring a real estate agent.
Consider these costs to be investments. The return is when you receive higher value back on your home due to how it was presented to interested buyers or how it was represented by an experienced real estate professional. That said, make sure to budget for these costs in advance to avoid any surprises.