9 Critical Mistakes For Home Sellers To Avoid

Be wary of these common pitfalls if you want to get the best price for your 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 nine critical mistakes for sellers to avoid and potentially help you save thousands — even tens of thousands — of dollars.

1. Selling Your Home Privately 

Trying to sell your own home by yourself is sheer madness. You need the expertise of a professional real estate agent, and the numbers don’t lie: houses without a professional real estate representation remain on the market longer and end up selling at a lower price than those who engage a professional.

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 is well known amongst real estate professionals that often the first offer is the best offer. It’s important to remember that although you may have just put your property up for sale, your buyer may have been looking for some time and is highly educated to property values in your area. In some cases, a hot buyer will have a better idea of property values than your agent because they have been through every home in the area!

3. Incorrectly pricing Your Home

Overpricing or under-pricing is a significant 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 what price tag your home needs. There is nothing wrong with ambitious pricing. It’s okay to try for a dream price as you never know if a price is there until you've tried to achieve it. It’s when the dream price is too ambitious that the nightmares begin. Just remember the market will guide you to the true value of your home and remember they may not see the same value that you do.

A property is fresh and exciting when it first hits the property market. There is a window of opportunity for sellers as this is where the highest amount of buyer interest is achieved. 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 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 prime window selling period. You may have already missed out on good buyers but as long as you are priced right within this time, you still have a great chance to secure a top result and still keep in the forefront of the buyers mind. Keep in mind that competitive market pricing is the fastest way to attract multiple offers and competing buyers which is every seller's dream!

4. Neglecting Necessary Maintenance and Repairs

You will lose money if you don’t fix the repairs that need completing before you list your home. It’s less costly to fix these 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 real estate 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 just not enough. Your property is quite possibly the high value item that you own, it's 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 overflowing cupboards to the family photo and trophie lined shelves in the den, it’ll cost nothing to get rid of all that stuff - you don't have to throw it away but just store it away so the room is less cluttered. You will reap big rewards when it’s time to sell and market your home for sale.

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). You are going to receive feedback from the buyers that you may not like as you've quite possibly owned your home for many years and consider it to be your "castle" however remember buyers wont see your home through your eyes. Remember, this is a business transaction — perhaps the biggest one of your life that you're about to make. Take your ego out of the transaction and put your head back into it.

7. Failing To Disclose Potential Problems

Too many sellers lose big bucks because they were afraid to disclose their homes imperfections. Be upfront about your home’s issues. It will save you money, time and worry, especially if the buyers end up finding out the 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 before 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 Unprofessional Photos

This is a pet peeve. Too many homes for sales feature amateur smart phone photography in their listings. More than 90% of all buyers begin their home search online, so you need to ensure you and your agent nail your home’s marketing! You will not ever get a second chance to make a first impression so make sure you engage in a marketing package that will put your property into the very best light as remember, first impressions count!