Selling a home is no different from buying your first. It can be complicated, time-consuming, and emotionally challenging. There's no way you can just let go of your precious abode and easily trade your house keys for a sweet pile of money.
This is why it’s easier enough to make lots of mistakes throughout this journey. Here are some of the most common home-selling mistakes, and some of the best practices you can take to avoid jumping into these pitfalls and lose your mind during the whole process.
1. Underestimating the costs of selling a home
Hate to break it to you, but it isn't just potential buyers who need to cough up money for additional expenses related to a home purchase. You also need to get ready for things such as closing costs, agent commissions, staging costs, home inspection repairs, seller concessions, and even moving expenses for your next home. These costs could simply add up and overwhelm you if you don’t prepare for it.
2. Deciding to FSBO
Not hiring a real estate agent or choosing to For Sale by Owner (FSBO) to avoid paying commission is a huge home-selling mistake. According to the National Association of Realtors' 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, only eight percent of recent home sales were FSBO, which remains at an all-time low. FSBO homes sold at a median of $200,000, compared to the median of agent-assisted homes which is at $280,000. That’s a whopping $80,000 difference!
A good agent will help you set a fair and competitive price for your property, accompany you through the home inspection, guide prospective buyers during showings (especially during this pandemic where restrictions and protocols are in place), negotiate on your behalf, handle all the necessary paperwork, and more. Further, any problems that may arise during the real estate transaction will be handled professionally. Your agent’s knowledge and marketing expertise is also a key to a successful and less stressful home sale.
3. Pricing incorrectly
Incorrectly pricing a home might be one of the trickiest parts of a real estate transaction. Yes, every seller wants to get the most out of their biggest investment. However, if you price your home too high, you could turn away serious buyers and risk wasting precious time as your overpriced home sits longer on the market.
The best way to set the right price for your property is not through any home valuation tools on the internet, but by hiring a real estate agent. The agent will do a comparable market analysis that will show how much homes like yours are selling for in your neighborhood. An overpriced home can be a huge turn-off to buyers, and eventually, it may result in low-ball offers. But a home that was priced just right from the beginning will attract savvy buyers and multiple offers that could drive up the home's true market value.
4. Forgetting to declutter
It'll be hard to show off the beauty of your home if it’s full of clutter. Potential buyers will have trouble visualizing their stuff if they are welcomed by misplaced toys, stains in the kitchen countertops, funky odors, and other things that will make them think twice about checking the home further.
As soon as you’ve decided to list your home for sale, start sorting out your things and get rid of the stuff you don’t need. Clear out your closets and drawers to help buyers appreciate your precious storage space. Get everyone in the family involved by thinking of it as a headstart for the packing you’ll eventually have to do when you move.
5. Neglecting necessary repairs
While it can be costly to tackle minor repairs when you list your home, it will increase your chances of a quick sale. Unless you're planning to sell your house “as-is” to investors or you’re listing it as a fixer-upper, many home buyers would be keen to see a home that is being taken care of. You can do minor cosmetic upgrades such as painting the walls and front door, replacing light bulbs, fixing damaged windows, loose locks and door handles, and other issues that need your attention. Remember that many of these simple repairs can go a long way when you put your house on the market so you’re better off fixing them early on.
Likewise, you can start looking into your options when you’ve discovered major issues, such as cracks in the foundation, electrical wiring problems, plumbing issues, mold growth, and roof problems in your home. Whether you will pay for professionals to fix any of these major issues or you will give discounts to the buyer is up to you and your realtor.
6. Letting your emotions get the best of you.
You've spent valuable years living in it; you’ve celebrated countless milestones, accomplishments, and celebrations with your family and loved ones. So it’s only natural to have a deep emotional attachment to your house. But when you start selling it, you need to have an open mind and approach the whole process as a business deal. You also need to remember that each home sale is unique because of many factors, so don’t get frustrated and work closely with your realtor for the best way to handle and evaluate purchase offers.
There are going to be challenges and obstacles along the way as you list your home for sale. But the key to moving forward is to be prepared emotionally and practice your willingness to set realistic expectations about anything that might happen in the transaction.