A home is one of the most expensive items you may ever sell. Making a mistake could affect your future financial goals. Here’s a list of ten common mistakes home sellers make that you can take care to avoid.
1. Pricing It Wrong
It’s critical to conduct a thorough comparative market analysis of your home before listing it for sale. This is one of the most important jobs your real estate agent will do for you. Proper research leads to the right price. Homes sell based on what the buyers are willing to pay in your area for similar style and condition. Starting way too high will hurt the home in the long run because it will spend more time on market and experience one or more price drops. This creates the perception that something is wrong with the home. And of course, pricing too low will leave you with disappointment and a smaller profit.
2. Taking a Low Offer Too Personally
Sure, a low offer can feel like an insult. But selling a home is a business transaction. If you haven’t had many offers in a while, a low offer is a starting point. That’s where negotiations often begin. Try not to let emotions rule the process. A counter offer engages the serious buyer and often leads to the sale.
3. Hiding Major Defects
Don’t try to hide anything major like a leak in the roof, a foundation issue, or a termite problem. Once you’re under contract, it’s possible an inspector will find the evidence. Even if they don’t, you may find yourself facing legal action at a later point in time for misleading a buyer on your property disclosure, which requires you to report such defects.
4. Underestimating the Cost of Selling
Smart sellers account for every cost possible before listing their home to ensure that the move is worth the time and money. The cost of selling can be ten percent or more of your home’s sale price. Consider the cost of real estate commissions, closing costs or other concessions for the buyer, repairs, taxes owed, and moving expenses.
5. Skipping Staging
Home owners who want a quick sale still need to invest effort and money to properly stage their home. Staging includes everything from repairing holes and broken handles to decluttering, cleaning, painting, and creating curb appeal. If you plan to skimp on staging, prepare to expect lower offers. Many real estate agents agree that staging increases sale amounts by a minimum of 1 to 5%, sometimes much more.
6. Only Considering the Highest Offer
If you receive multiple offers on your home, it may seem like a no-brainer to choose the highest bidder. But there is more to consider. Compare the terms of each offer, such as a contingency that the buyer must sell their own home first or a special financing need. Perhaps one of the slightly lower offers has only an inspection contingency and pre-approved financing. Look at the whole picture and choose the offer that is sure to close.
7. Choosing the Wrong Agent
The right agent for you is the one who proves their worth with a thorough pricing analysis, experience, and the willingness to properly market your home. If you feel you’re getting bad service, move on to a better vetted agent.
8. Limiting Showings
Sellers who limit available showing times also limit the opportunities for more buyers to view their home. While it’s true you only need one buyer, limiting showings could mean a longer wait for a sale.
9. Selling When You’re Upside Down on Your Mortgage
If your home decreased in value to the point that you owe more than the home is worth, you’re upside down on your mortgage. Selling in this case means accepting less than you owe and then making up the difference with your own savings. Depending on the amount owed, many people opt to wait on selling at least until they can break even.
10. Using Poor Quality Photos for Your Listing
In this day and age, beautiful photos are mandatory for bringing in buyers. Poor photography with bad lighting and weird angles can make a space look worse than it really is. Insist that your listing agent obtains professional quality photos.
Real Estate Term of the Week
Upside Down Mortgage: Also called an underwater mortgage, an upside down mortgage is a home loan with a higher principal than the home is worth. This happens when property values fall but the homeowner still needs to repay the original balance of their loan.