Selling your house can be both exciting and
stressful, especially if it’s your first time. Regardless of why you decided to
sell your home, there are a number of pitfalls you can easily fall into, making
your home selling experience less than ideal. Luckily, we’ve put together a
list of the most common home selling mistakes people make so you can sell your
home knowing you have your bases covered.
Underestimating the cost of selling your house
While you should ultimately profit from the sale
of your home, many home sellers forget about the costs associated with selling
a house. For starters, you should expect to use five to six percent of the
total sale price of your home to cover the commissions of both the seller and
buyer agents. For example, if you sell your home for $300,000 you could wind up
paying upwards of $18,000 in commission.
Furthermore, this hefty cost doesn’t include
possible concessions homebuyers might want you to make during the negotiation
phase, such as making repairs suggested by a home inspector.
Not budgeting for your move
When you consider the moving process, you have
two options: hiring a moving company or borrow your buddy’s truck and doing it
By hiring a moving company, rather than doing it
yourself, you’re getting someone who will pack, move, and then unpack your
belongings. This means that a full-service mover can be well worth the
investment when you’re preoccupied with all of the other tasks associated with
selling your home. Not to mention,when you hire movers your belongings are
insured so you’re covered if anything breaks.
Selling a house you owe more on than what it’s worth
If you still have a remaining balance on your
mortgage, you’ll most likely use a portion of the sale proceeds of your home to
pay off the existing mortgage. Make sure you don’t owe more on your mortgage
than what your house is actually worth or you won’t make enough money on the
sale to pay off your mortgage. The best option is almost always to wait on
selling your home so that it can build more equity. This way you can sell your
home and buy a new one without having two mortgages at the same time.
Pricing your home incorrectly
If you price your home too high, your home may
fall into seller’s limbo, sitting on the market
for what feels like an eternity. On the other hand, if you price too low then
you will likely sell your home quickly but you risk missing out on a
significant amount of money.
The first step to understanding how much your
home is worth is utilizing an online
calculator. Afterward, meet with your real estate agent to
discuss a good pricing strategy for your home. They will look at other
comparable properties in your neighborhood that sold recently as well as bring
keen insights into what the housing market is currently doing. Together, you’ll determine a good starting
price as well as a pricing strategy that will incentivise buyers if your house
begins to sit on the market for too long.
Skipping a pre-listing home inspection
Selling a house is stressful enough, even when
everything goes right. But if a homebuyer hires an inspector who catches an
issue like mold, pests, or a cracked foundation, then your stress levels will
multiply as you risk losing a potential sale entirely.
Given the affordability of home inspections,
there’s not much reason to avoid them. Getting a pre-listing home inspection
will put your mind at ease as you’ll either know that your home is in sound
condition or you’ll be able to tackle problems before homebuyers have the
chance to bring them up during the negotiation phase. If an issue does arise,
you can either fix it or you can let buyers know and then make a concession
during the negotiation phase by reducing the price of your home
Not refinishing hardwood floors or cleaning your carpet
If you’re reading this at home, look down. How
do your floors look? Even if they don’t look terrible, there’s a pretty good
chance they’re starting to show their age. Since potential buyers are going to
be inspecting every aspect of your home, you should start thinking of
refinishing your hardwood floors and cleaning your carpet.
The best time to have your carpet cleaned or
hardwood floors refinished is right before you stage your home. Since you’ll
already be moving most (or all) of your furniture to either a new home or a
storage unit, this is a great time to get your floors done and make them a
selling point to potential homebuyers.
Not staging your home for a quick sale
The main point of staging your home is to allow
potential homebuyers the chance to picture themselves living in your space.
They get to see a home with furniture and art that’s arranged in a way that
highlights key features of your home, rather than an empty house that echoes
every sound. Staging your home pays off too as 21 percent of agents told the National Association of Realtors that staging a home increased its’ sale price by as much as 10
percent, making it a worthwhile investment.
Forgoing professional real estate photos
With the advent of cameras on smartphones,
everyone likes to think of themselves as a photographer these days. Even though
that picture you took of your dinner last week looked like it could be featured
in advertisements, you’re still probably not ready to take your own real estate
photos. A real estate photographer will make sure that your home looks great
when you list it because not only do they have the equipment, they understand
the angles that best sell a home.
If you have a large home, a stunning view you
want to show off, or a large amount of land, you may also want to consider
having aerial photos taken of your home. The views that drones are able to
capture are impressive and can help show off your home in a way that will make
sure it stands out from other houses in your area that are on the market. Even
better, drone technology makes this option more affordable than ever before,
allowing you to get a lot more bang for your buck.
Trying to sell a poorly lit home
You want to show your home in the best light, so
take the time to really gauge the quality of your lighting by closing your
curtains/blinds and looking at each room as though you’re a potential
homebuyer. Make a note of any rooms that are poorly lit or just seem dark and
then call an electrician so that you can have some additional lighting
Even worse than a poorly lit room, however, is
when the lights don’t work at all. Sometimes the light bulb is just burnt out,
while other times the socket itself is in need of repair. Consider calling an
electrician before you begin showing your home to make sure it’s shining its
brightest. Potential buyers (and your bank account) will thank you for the
Not making your home energy efficient
If you’d like to spend less on your utility
bills, you aren’t alone. A study by the National Association of Realtors found that 33 percent of homebuyers see high-efficiency HVAC
systems as an important factor when looking at a new home. If you have an older
home, you should look into either retrofitting or replacing your HVAC unit
altogether as your current system might be using a lot more energy than it
needs to be. This will ensure that you have a system that is meeting your
home’s needs, while also lowering your utility bill.
If you’re committed to energy-efficiency then there are a few extra things you can do. These options
include making sure your home is properly insulated, ensuring that you don’t
have any leaky air ducts, and buying a smart thermostat. Whichever route you
pursue, having an energy-efficient HVAC system will make your house stand out
from the competition.
Not cleaning your house before trying to sell it
Most of us would probably be lying if we said
our homes weren’t overdue for a good cleaning, so don’t forget to check this
box before listing your home for sale. There’s nothing more off-putting during
a home tour than realizing the house is dirty, and potential homebuyers may
wonder what else you’ve been neglecting. By hiring a professional cleaning
company, you’ll guarantee that not only is your home spotless but that you’re
going to make a great impression on homebuyers when they tour your house.
Not addressing the exterior of your house
Over the years, your home’s exterior has taken a
beating from the elements. With everything mother nature throws at it every
year, the paint on your home’s exterior and the stain on your deck have likely
lost a bit of their luster. So before listing, be sure to pressure wash your
house first. In addition to making sure your house looks its best in the
listing photos, you will also enhance the overall curb appeal when buyers
eventually show up for a tour.
In addition to pressure washing your house and
deck, you can also take the time to pressure wash your garage door, fence,
patio, driveway, and any walkways you may have.
You never got around to repainting
One of the first things a potential buyer will
notice when they pull up to your home is the paint. If you want to make a good
first impression, then you’ll need to ensure that your home is painted an
inviting color and that the quality of your paint job is top-notch. While the
job of repainting your house might take a few days, the value of painting your
house before selling will be well worth the effort. A recent study found that painting the
exterior of your home has a 51 percent return on investment.
Don’t stop with the exterior though! We’ve all
seen some pretty questionable color choices on the walls of homes. If you
happen to have a lime green or bright purple wall, you’ll want to repaint them
to be a more buyer-friendly neutral color. Doing so will make it easier for
buyers to be able to picture themselves living in your home as it makes them
think of your walls as a blank canvas.
Selling a home with a yard in need of some TLC
The other way to make a great first impression
is by wowing potential buyers with your yard. Start by cleaning up anything
that may be cluttering your yard, porch, or pathways (things like gardening
equipment or a child’s bicycle). Then you can move onto mowing the lawn,
weeding your garden, and planting some new flowers. If your yard has a damaged
pathway, you may also want to think about fixing or even replacing it as
If these touch-ups seem like a lot to tackle
while you’re trying to sell your home, don’t be afraid to hire a landscaper as
the cost is well worth it. A study by Turf Magazine found that a home’s
value tended to increase by as much as 10 to 12 percent after making upgrades
to the landscaping.
You have mismatched appliances
Maybe your black stove died a couple of years
ago and you replaced it with a brand new stainless steel one. Or maybe you
swapped out that white kitchen faucet you always hated with a copper one that
caught your eye. Either way, the result is mismatched appliances. While it
won’t necessarily impact the overall sale price of your home, many homebuyers
are going to find the mismatched color scheme off-putting, so consider making
some changes before you sell.
The best way to proceed is to decide which
kitchen appliances are your favorite and base the color scheme off of them. So
if that fancy new stove you bought last year is stainless steel, then make sure
your other appliances are too. Luckily, many appliance manufacturers offer
discounts if you purchase multiple appliances with them at once.
Lingering during a home tour
Nobody likes a lingerer, especially when they
also happen to be the owner of the home you’re currently touring. If you don’t
leave the home during a showing, then potential buyers feel awkward as they
attempt to discuss what they like and dislike about the house. You also prevent
your listing agent from being able to do their job to the best of their
abilities as you’re naturally going to want to answer any questions the buyers
have rather than leaving those questions to your agent. So instead of staying
in your home during a showing, try taking the opportunity to go shopping, run
errands, or visit some friends instead. Your agent will thank you.
Taking a Lowball Offer Personally
Regardless of your reasons for moving, the fact
that you’ve probably lived in your home for years means that you have a lot of
strong feelings attached to it. So when you receive a lowball offer, it’s
natural to be offended.
Instead of walking away, send them back a
counteroffer that you and your real estate agent think is fair. If they really
are interested, then you’ll be glad you didn’t let your emotions get the better
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