10 Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make

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It seems there is no shortage of advice for home buyers, but not as much for home sellers. Which is a bit counterintuitive since home sellers typically turn into home buyers once their property sells. When you decide to sell your home, for whatever reason, there are some mistakes to definitely avoid. Here are the top 10 mistakes home sellers make.

Top 10 Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make

1. Wrong Valuation

Pricing your home incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes home sellers make. Pricing the home just right is the goal. The right appraisal allows you to the most you can from your current property while at the same time not pricing it out of the market. If you need to sell quickly, you’ll want to set your list price on the lower end, but if you have some time, then a higher price can work.

However, unless you’re a licensed real estate agent, you don’t have access to the Multiple Listing Service and you don’t have the best data to properly price your home. To conquer this, speak with three separate real estate agents and let them know you’re thinking of selling and would like to meet. Each agent can prepare a Competitive Market Analysis, or CMA, which compares recent home sales data with your property to arrive at a price range.

2. Lack of Experience

Selling your home on your own can be confusing. Many homeowners who sell their home on their own realize too late that they’re in over their head. This is a common mistake homesellers make that can easily be avoided. Real estate agents are in the market every single day, analyzing trends, making offers and negotiating contracts on a daily basis. Most homeowners, by contrast, only buy a home two or three times throughout their lifetime, and this lack of experience can make the process more complicated. It’s important to clearly understand each step in the process that home selling involves from getting an initial property inspection to heading to the closing table.

3. Wrong Audience

iStock-642799566Who is your target market? Are you currently in your starter home and want to move up? Then first-time buyers might be your target. If you’re in the mid-range, then your market opens up substantially. You’ll need to know who your home will appeal to and to adjust where needed to open up as deep a pool of buyers as possible. Choosing the wrong audience is a common problem that homesellers can avoid by working with an expert or by assessing their home values and features themselves. 

4. Lack of Marketing

We mentioned the importance of getting a real estate agent to help sell your home as well as help find your next one, and marketing your home is a key part of this. Some home sellers think that selling without an agent saves money, but in reality the opposite is true. Without the right exposure, finding the right audience and generating interest from buyers is a significant challenge. This is a mistake many homesellers make which can easily be avoided by working with an agent. An agent will be able to list your home on the Multiple Listing Service and can be marketed with more than a “For Sale” sign in your front yard. Your home can be in front of audiences nationwide with the assistance of your agent.

5. Handling Both Sides

Buying your first home is a brand new process and there are lots of moving parts. Various third party services are needed and the timing needs to be coordinated so your loan gets approved and you close on time. If you’re also selling a home the same time you’re buying, there’s twice the amount of work and coordination involved, especially in the environment where homes are in short supply. While the housing shortage can make it easier to sell your home, it can be more challenging to buy a new home that meets your needs. This makes it much harder to coordinate your home sale and purchase.

If you’ve discovered that existing supply of homes are in such demand that you opt for new construction, Homesite Mortgage can also offer a Bridge Loan on your current property which can be used for the down payment and closing costs for your next home.

6. Clutter

Your real estate agent won’t be with you every day. But you also never know when a potential buyer is going to show up or drive by your home for a first look. How’s the lawn? Mowed and free of clutter? Shrubs trimmed? Sidewalks, drive and porch power washed? When buyers enter your home they also want to imagine it being their own home, which then means removing personal effects such as family portraits and pictures. This is one of the most overlooked mistakes that homesellers make. 

7. Not Making Repairs

iStock-528165081Homesellers who don’t order an initial inspection won’t know what repairs are needed. If you’ve lived in your property for any length of time, needed repairs eventually take a back burner if ignored. A small repair, like a leaky faucet, is no big deal, but it will be noticed by potential buyers. Not making some larger repairs can be deal-breakers for buyers, and big mistakes that homesellers can avoid. Get an inspection report and fix what’s needed. Even as something as small as a light switch that doesn’t work or burnt-out bulbs can be a distraction.

8. Underestimating Pictures

Since so many buyers now start their home search online, high-quality pictures of your home have become even more important. However, many homeowners who see their home every day find it difficult to see how their home will look in pictures. This is a big mistake that homesellers can avoid with a critical eye.

Before taking pictures, thoroughly clean and shine the interior of your home. Store some furniture to open up the living areas, make the kitchen sparkle and baths and bedrooms lighted. When your home is being photographed, turn the lights on to brighten the areas. Home buyers typically first look online for a potential purchase and if the home appears dusty or hasn’t had some attention, they might pass.

9. No Curb Appeal

What is it about first impressions? It’s one of the most important things to pay attention to. This means paying attention to “curb appeal,” or what first time visitors see when they drive up to your home. Pay attention to lawn maintenance, remove clutter and give the exterior a thorough cleaning. When someone first sees your home with a pleasing curb appeal, they’ll have an immediate positive impression and can come to the conclusion the owners have taken good care of the home.

10. Jumping at the First Offer

It’s easy to get excited about the first offer on your home, but this is a mistake that homesellers can avoid with patience. Don’t get too anxious. Give your agent some time to list the home and hold open houses to deepen the pool of potential buyers as much as possible. Offers will come in quickly, but avoid the temptation to jump the first one. If buyers enter into a bidding war over your home, you can get offers above your asking price.

These are the 10 most common mistakes home sellers make, but the good news is there are licensed professionals who can help guide you through the process. Work closely with your real estate agent and make sure you have a preapproval letter in hand when it’s time to shop for a new home. In this manner, selling and buying at the same time will be a breeze.

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