Selling your home is a major life event, and finding a buyer is only one of many stops along the route to closing on a house. While selling a house may sound simple, there are a lot of moving pieces that can end up costing you time and money if missed. Here are eight of the most common mistakes people make when selling and how to avoid them.
1. Not Working with a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent
Having access to an agent’s extensive market knowledge is key to selling your home seamlessly. It’s important to work with a real estate agent who knows your area and will prioritize your home’s sale. Reach out to a few reputable agents in your area before you agree to work with one. Finding an agent who’s also a REALTOR® means you’ll be working with a knowledgeable professional who follows a strict code of ethics. Be sure to ask them questions, look at their websites, and browse their credentials before you commit.
2. Pricing Your Home Too High
With virtual listings, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and tons of historical data, buyers and their agents have lots of information about home prices in an area. In short: your home is more likely to sell for what it’s worth. Setting a price that’s too high at the outset can result in delays, and price drops can signal potential buyers that something is wrong with the house even if it isn’t. The best practice is to work with your real estate agent to price your home correctly from the start.
3. Not Getting Professional Photos Taken
No photos or poor-quality photos mean a buyer is more likely to skip over a listing online. Worse, they might think you’re hiding something, like a home that needs a gut renovation. High-quality, accurate pictures will help bring buyers in and set expectations for what they’ll see in the home.
4. Ignoring Clutter and Poor Lighting
It’s difficult for buyers to view themselves in a grimy, dimly lit, or cluttered space. Doing a deep clean and purge before putting your house on the market can help potential buyers imagine their belongings in your house, hopefully helping you sell more quickly.
5. Not Accommodating Showings
The more people who see your home, the more likely someone is to buy it. However, many homebuyers work full-time and ask to see homes on nights and weekends. Therefore, insisting on times that are convenient for you might cause delays or negative associations with your home before buyers even see it.
6. Hiding Problems
Possums have nested in the attic, and you’ve covered up a sinkhole in the yard with sod. But it’s fine: you’re moving out and won’t have to deal with it, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
These problems are almost always revealed by a thorough inspection. As a result, you may have to fix the issues or possibly even offer the buyer credit against the home price. And failure to disclose problems could result in deals that fall through, delays, and trust lost between buyer and seller.
7. Failing to Budget for Closing Costs
So, you’re selling your home for $400,000, and you owe $250,000 on the mortgage. That means you’re getting $150,000 in cash after you close, right? Not exactly.
Selling a home can come with costs like agent commissions, lawyers, closing costs, inspection repairs, moving, etc. If you’re not selling your primary residence, capital gains taxes may also apply, and some co-ops come with flip costs if you sell before a certain period is up.
8. Not Knowing What’s Needed for the Final Walk-Through
Closing is the last step in the process, and you’ll have a lot to do to get ready. Most buyers have the option to do a final walk-through of the property within 24 hours of the contract settlement. You can help the walk-through go smoothly by double-checking that any agreed-upon repairs have been completed and all conditions of the contract are met.