Selling a home may seem like a simple process. You clean it up, show it to a few people, and one of them buys it. The trouble is that the process is actually much more complicated, with legal and practical considerations you may not know much about. Sometimes, sellers make simple mistakes that could cost them big, even after the sale is complete.
When thinking about how to sell your home, avoid these common home selling mistakes.
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Pricing Your Home Poorly: Setting the Listing Price on Subjective Terms
Some homeowners think that the most objective term to use for the price is the amount they paid for the property, plus the cost of home improvements, in addition to the real estate agent's fees. That list pricing rationale is not objective from a buyer's perspective - and has little to do with actual market value when you list your home.
Testing the market by pricing high is potentially the most costly seller mistake. Avoid playing games with pricing. Set it right from day one!
The listing price for a home must be based on a consideration of the present market value, which is typically estimated by a comparison of recent home sales & current listings for similar homes. While this may not mesh well with your expectations for the home, if you overprice your home based on sentimentality or a wish to "test the market," you run the real risk of having the home sit on the market for months.
Pricing a home to sell quickly is not just efficient but common sense. The fact is, the longer a home waits with an active listing, the more buyers start to wonder what is wrong with it. Overpriced homes don't do sellers any favours, except the savvy sellers of nearby homes who will use the overpriced listings as leverage (making their home look like a bargain).
Ordering Expensive Upgrades Shortly Before Selling
When you're selling a house, there is a big difference between getting a home ready for sale and making a bunch of upgrades to it to inflate the sale price. The former is practical and can generate a better sale price, while the latter rarely results in an equal return on investment.
No matter how much money you could throw into your home, target improvements that are most likely to increase your return on investment. For example, updating attic insulation might get you more in value than you paid. In comparison, if you gut the kitchen and rebuild it from scratch, you will pay several thousand dollars more than you will receive in increased home value.
Answering Incorrectly on the Seller Disclosure
Questions about filling out a Seller's Disclosure? Check with an attorney about your specific circumstance.
During the selling process, you will complete and sign a lot of paperwork. Consider all of it legal documentation, and treat it with the utmost respect.
On the seller disclosure, homeowners are asked to indicate their knowledge about certain aspects of the home. Typically, they are directed to check "yes," "no," or "do not know."
Some sellers think that they can bypass some of the delays involved with the inspection process by marking "no" on things of which they are unsure. This act can backfire and cost a lot of money long term.
If a seller confirms the good condition of a particular structure or system in the home and they are knowingly answering incorrectly, not only could it kill the deal, but even in a successful sale, the buyer may have grounds to seek remedies against the seller after closing. To avoid such a scenario, home sellers should strive to be forthcoming about the information requested on the seller's disclosure.
Staging and Showing Mistakes Homeowners Make When Selling Their Homes
While staging can help a homeowner sell their property, certain staging mistakes can have the opposite effect. A well-staged home will have clutter removed, will be properly maintained, and will be organized and tidy. Mistakes that homeowners make when staging a home can be varied.
Leaving the clutter is a common problem. When many people think of clutter, they think of things like stacks of bills and newspapers, toys left on the floor, and change scattered on the counter. In reality, clutter takes many forms.
Large collections of anything like books, knick-knacks or stuffed animals can all become clutter. Closets that are stuffed with clothes and shoes are cluttered. Storage spaces full of boxes are also cluttered. Clearing out these spaces so that buyers can see the true dimensions and nature of the space can help sell the home.
Another common problem is a failure to address issues like maintenance problems or smells in the house. Everything should be in working order when the house is put up for sale, and the air should be freshened. If these problems are not addressed before the house is put up for sale, the homeowner's staging efforts may be for naught.
Lack of Proper Preparation When Selling Your House
Failing to prepare your home for sale can sink it faster than you'd expect, ironically leaving you with a costly repair bill. Neglecting home repairs and maintenance is one of the biggest mistakes sellers make when trying to sell their homes. Not only does this prevent your property from reaching its full market value, but it also sends buyers running away due to potential safety hazards or structural issues. It's important to have all necessary repairs completed before putting your house on the market in order to ensure that any visible flaws do not put buyers off.
Decluttering and staging the home effectively are also essential steps when preparing a house for sale. Buyers will be more likely to remain interested in the property if they can imagine themselves living there without feeling overwhelmed by clutter or other distractions. Additionally, curb appeal plays an important role in attracting potential buyers; making sure that your home looks neat and tidy from the outside will give them a good first impression before entering the house itself.
Poor Marketing Strategies For Your Home Sale
Failing to effectively market your home can lead to a long and frustrating sales process. The most common mistakes sellers make when marketing their homes are in not having an adequate online presence, using low-quality listing photos, and failing to create engaging and descriptive property descriptions.
Having a poor online presence can be detrimental as it is the first impression that potential buyers have of the property. Low-quality listing photos will make the property appear unappealing and could turn off potential buyers before they even consider viewing it.
Finally, effective use of social media and other advertising channels is key in order to reach out to interested buyers. Property descriptions should also accurately reflect the features of the home while still being interesting enough to catch people's attention. By avoiding these pitfalls, you will be able to maximize interest in your home and potentially expedite its sale.
Not Getting a Pre-Listing Home Inspection or Ignoring Home Inspection Issues
Ignoring home inspection issues can be a costly mistake that could drastically delay or even derail the sale of your home.
A pre-listing home inspection is an important step in the selling process, as it helps to identify and address potential problems before they become an issue for buyers during negotiations. It's essential for sellers to take this step seriously and properly address any issues that are discovered during the process, regardless of how small they may appear. Failing to do so could lead to buyers becoming wary of any underlying problems with the property, resulting in them making demands for discounts or repairs as part of the sale agreement.
Additionally, ignoring such issues could also cause delays in closing transactions due to buyers requesting additional time to consider their options. Therefore, it's important for sellers to be proactive about addressing any potential problems uncovered during a pre-listing inspection in order to avoid costly mistakes that could potentially ruin their chances at successfully selling their home.
Lack of Communication and Responsiveness With Buyers
Neglecting to communicate and respond promptly can be a major setback for your home sale. As a potential seller, it is important to understand the significance of open lines of communication with potential buyers. Without clear and consistent communication, buyers may become frustrated and lose interest in the property, resulting in lost sales opportunities. Further, if responses are not provided fast enough, buyers may look elsewhere for properties that offer better availability and responsiveness.
It is essential to maintain good communication habits throughout the entire process of selling a home. This means responding quickly to inquiries from buyers or their representatives, providing updates on changes such as inspections or repairs, and keeping up-to-date on all relevant information related to the sale. Doing so will help assure potential buyers that they are being taken seriously and will encourage them to follow through with offers on your property.
Selling Without a Real Estate Agent
There are homeowners who sell their homes without the services of a real estate agent. Wondering how to sell a home without a realtor is common. However, these sellers take on a lot more responsibility for the sale of the home. Whatever you choose to do, you should not take the decision lightly. If you're thinking about how to sell your own home, consider the following points first.
It is true that real estate agents charge a commission on the sale price as their fee. However, with this fee comes a significant amount of expertise and support for you as the seller. (And also consider that in most cases, the agent earns nothing if the home doesn't sell - so they are assuming "risk" as well.)
In general, selling your home without an agent also makes other real estate agents (and many buyers) hesitant to engage with you on a sale because they know that they are probably not working with a professional or an expert. Furthermore, it's also unfortunately common for a FSBO (For Sale by Owner) listing to either be significantly overpriced or underpriced—either way, costing the seller a lot of money in the long run.
Ignoring Expert Real Estate Advice
Sellers pay a real estate agent to be an expert on-hand to help them sell their homes with the least amount of stress. It is a service that is designed to make your life easier and to net you more money at closing. You should be an active participant in the discussion about how best to sell your home, but all home selling tips should be taken seriously.
Hiring a local agent has major benefits in that this person knows all about your local market, right down to your neighbourhood. They can tell you precisely what buyers look for in homes like yours, which makes their expertise invaluable.
If you do not feel comfortable following your agent's counsel for whatever reason, you are better off finding a different agent whose advice you will accept.
Selling a home calls for amazing attention to detail. Homeowners who set reasonable prices, minimize major upgrades, follow their agents' advice and maintain honesty in the selling process are more likely to sell their homes without hassle.
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