Avoid These Mistakes When Selling Your Home
Selling your home is as easy as listing it for sale, right? Wrong! Even in today’s seller’s market, there’s a right way and a wrong way to sell your home. There are crucial steps sellers should take not only to get top dollar, but to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Selling and buying a home are the largest financial transactions most people make in their lifetimes. In fact, the home is usually a family’s most valuable asset. Yet far too often sellers do not take the steps necessary to protect that asset. One mistake can cost thousands of dollars (or more!), but knowing what to avoid can keep that money in your pocket. Following are some of the mistakes to avoid when selling your home.
Selling on Your Own
Think you can manage a real estate transaction on your own? Homeowners might be tempted to sell their house without an agent, not realizing the importance of having a professional on their side. They might not consider the legal risks, the amount of paperwork, the preparation and marketing, or the time involved in showing the home. Having an expert negotiator who has your best interest in mind ensures you get the highest price and the best terms.
Most sellers know it’s a mistake to sell solo. Last year, less than 10% of all sellers sold their home by themselves, compared to the 90% who used an agent, according to the National Association of Realtors 2020 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers.
Some sellers opt to sell their home “as-is,” leaving needed repairs and updates to the buyer. But even in a hot market, buyers tend to shy away from homes that need extensive repairs. If you’re aware of any major flaws, such as electrical problems, damaged roofs, plumbing issues, or chimney damage, it’s best to tackle them now; they’ll most likely be caught by the home inspector and you may be required to disclose them.
Overpricing the Home
For most homeowners, their home tells the story of their life. It’s where children were raised and memories were made. While there is a lot of emotion attached to a home, that emotion has no place in a real estate transaction, because buyers want to create their own memories. Your real estate agent will prepare a competitive market analysis that will show you how much homes like yours are selling for in your area. Setting the right price from the start can make all the difference in how quickly you sell your home and how much money ends up in your pocket at the closing table.
Homes are selling like the proverbial hotcakes, but that doesn’t mean sellers should slack off when it comes to aesthetics. Consider a fresh coat of paint (especially if your walls are painted bright or quirky colors), remove all personal photos, pare down knick-knacks, clear the clutter, and keep things clean and tidy! It’s especially important to spruce up the front of your home by sweeping the walkway and adding colorful flowers to up the curb appeal.
Failing to Disclose
Disclosures are a required part of any real estate transaction. Being open and up front about the home ensures the buyer is entering the deal armed with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision. Holding back on crucial information can put the safety of the buyer at risk, and can break the deal. Worse, it can set the seller up for a lawsuit down the road. Be sure to disclose any known issues with the home, such as unpermitted repairs, lead-based paint, flood or earthquake damage, even nuisance neighbors.
Sure, rounding up the kids and getting them out of the house can be a pain. But in order to get the best price, sellers should make their home available for showings at all times. More showings equals more potential buyers, which translates to competitive offers. This has been especially important over the past year, as Covid-19 restrictions have limited open houses.
Skipping Pro Photos
Photos can make or break a listing. Professional, high-quality photos (like the photo above!) are essential in drawing in not just buyers, but the right kind of buyers. Those considering a move need to be able to imagine themselves in the home, and well-lit, expertly framed pictures makes that easier. We’ve all seen bad real estate photos, from pictures taken from Google street maps to the photographer’s reflection in the mirror. And don’t get us started on the pig on the sofa.
Choosing the Highest Offer
Yes, selling a home is a financial transaction. And yes, the goal of any financial transaction comes down to money. But there’s a lot more that goes into an offer than number alone. With homes often selling above listing price, it can be tempting to choose the highest price. But it’s also important to factor in other elements, such as contingencies, the buyer’s financial “strengths,” and any concessions or requests the buyer might have.