9 Critical Mistakes For Home Sellers To Avoid

Be wary of these pitfalls if you want to get the most money for you home, but before you list, it pays to do your homework upfront. Every seller has the opportunity to sell for more but it’s not always smooth sailing. There are often more questions than answers and current market conditions can throw up any number of challenges. If you’re going on the market soon, we’ve put together 9 critical mistakes for sellers to avoid and potentially help you save thousands — even tens of thousands — of dollars.


1. Selling Your Home On Your Own

Trying to sell your home by yourself is sheer madness. You need the expertise of a professional; and the numbers don’t lie: homes without representation remain on the market longer and end up selling at a lower price than those with a pro at the helm.


2. Rejecting A Good Early Offer

The road to selling success is littered with tragic stories about the buyer that got away. Many early offers are rejected by sellers because they subscribe to the myth that things are just warming up when that first offer comes up after only days on the market. It’s essential to remember that although you may have just put your property up for sale, your buyer may have been looking for months and is highly educated as to values in your area. In some cases, a hot buyer will have a better idea of value than your agent because they have been through every home in the area!


3. Mispricing Your Home

Overpricing or under-pricing is a huge and costly error. It’s critical to understand your market: become familiar with other properties currently for sale (and those that have recently sold) to understand exactly what price tag your home needs. There is nothing wrong with ambitious pricing. It’s okay to go for gold and try for a dream price. It’s when the dream price is too ambitious that the nightmares begin.

A property is fresh and interesting when it first hits the market. There is a golden window of opportunity for sellers. This is usually the first half of the average selling period. Let’s say the average selling time in your area is 60 days. The golden window is the first 30 days. After that, buyers are asking questions like “What’s wrong with this house?” and “Why hasn’t it sold?”

It’s essential to get your price adjusted to attract buying interest while you’re still within the golden window period. You may have already missed some good buyers but as long as you are priced right within this time, you still have a great chance to secure a top result. Keep in mind that competitive market pricing is the fastest way to attract multiple offers and competing buyers which is every sellers dream!


4. Neglecting Necessary Repairs

You will lose money if you don’t remedy repairs before you list your house. It’s less costly to fix things ahead of time, rather than have buyers see all of your home’s faults at the open house. If you don’t, you’re almost guaranteed that prospective buyers will offer less.


5. Refusing To Tidy Up Before Listing

When you put your property on the market, your enemy is other homes for sale in your area and price range. Your property is not in isolation it is in competition – all fighting for that hot buyer or buyers to inspect your home and make an offer. Words and your asking price are simply not enough. Your property is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it’s worth the time and effort to get it looking great.

Well-presented homes create an ‘emotional trigger’ that communicates desire in a buyer to own your home. This is because they mentally move in and see themselves living in your place. Check out home magazines or their websites for inspiration and ideas. Speak to your agent about the potential of hiring a staging or presentation specialist. If your mission is to sell for the highest possible price, then that is probably your best investment. Create the WOW factor and start the buzz happening about your place. Get out there and get noticed.

Clutter eats equity and kills deals. Create a sense of spaciousness by de-cluttering. From the kitchen counter-tops to the overstuffed closets to the trophy-lined shelves in the den, it’ll cost nothing to get rid of all that stuff. But it will reap big rewards when it’s time to sell.


6. Letting Your Ego Get In The Way

Many sellers take negotiating personally and lose out on creating a win-win deal (if not the entire deal). Remember, this is a business transaction — perhaps the biggest one of your life. Take your ego out of the equation and put your head back into it.


7. Failing To Complete A full Set Of Disclosures

Too many sellers lose big bucks because they were afraid to disclose their homes imperfections. Be upfront and forthcoming about all of your home’s issues. It will save you money and time, especially if the buyers end up uncovering problems themselves — because they will.


8. Overlooking Extra Expenses At Closing

Home sellers throw thousands away by not requesting and confirming a list of fees and expenses prior to closing. Review the estimated closing cost statements with your real estate agent well before it’s time to hand over the keys. Don’t expect any discounts and credits on closing day if you overlook this step.


9. Using Lousy Photos

This is a pet peeve. Too many for-sale homes feature amateur iPhone photos in their listings. More than 90% of all buyers start their home search online so you’d better make sure you and your agent nail your home’s close-up! You won’t ever get a second chance to make the perfect first impression.