The 10 Biggest Mistakes Sellers Make

In the process of selling your home - or thinking about doing so soon? Watch out for some of the biggest blunders sellers make, which could end up costing you time and money.

1. Not Hiring a Professional Real Estate Agent

While selling by owner may be appealing, home sellers who try to do it themselves often end up sitting for sale for a longer period of time - and selling for less than those who work with a real estate agent. A licensed professional will have resources and expertise to help you navigate the process of selling and will be an intermediary between you and the buyers.

2. Not Pricing it Right

Over-pricing or under-pricing your home is a huge mistake. It’s critical that you and your real estate professional know your market and deeply analyze the comparable sales in your neighborhood or area to understand exactly where to price your home.

To recommend the right list price, we employ the same detailed approach as an appraiser. We pour over the recent sales and present you with a customized Comparative Market Analysis (not a standardized report generated from the MLS) that considers the nuances of neighborhoods, streets, and homes. We review the information with you and, together, we decide the most effective list price.

3. Neglecting to Address Needed Repairs

Items needing repairs will almost certainly come out in the inspection - but if you wait until then, your home might not be ready for buyers to look at. Get ahead of the inspection and fix anything that you know needs repaired. The house will show in better condition - and it’s always going to cost less out of pocket ahead of time rather than if buyers see the house in disrepair.

4. Refusing to Remove Your Clutter and Junk Prior to Sale

A messy home isn't appealing to anyone - especially buyers! The more clutter your home has, the smaller it looks ... which definitely isn't what you want prospective buyers to see. Before listing photos or showings, take time to declutter and create a clean, spacious home for buyers to view. Removing “stuff” allows a buyer to see the home and potential.

5. Selling an Empty House

Not every buyer has “vision,” so it can be difficult for buyers to seem themselves in your home if the space is completely empty. A properly staged home can help a buyer see the potential and give them ideas on flow and how to set up the space for their own needs. Focus on removing personal items to create a calm, peaceful home.

6. Taking Negotiations Personally

Negotiations are a routine part of buying and selling a home, and they shouldn't be taken personally. However, as someone who has lived in a home and (likely) created lots of precious memories there, it's natural to be emotionally attached to the property. Keep in mind that buyers are trying to get the most bang for their buck - not to insult or attack you by wanting to pay less than you may have listed it for.

This is really where a professional Realtor can come in. As an unbiased party, we can help you navigate the negotiations process without making it emotional.

7. Honestly Filling Out Disclosures

Selling a home comes with its fair share of paperwork - including disclosure forms. The seller's disclosure form is where you disclose any known defects about the home - and it's vital that you fill this form out accurately and honestly. Being thorough can save you time and money down the road -- and it will also protect you from legal issues or a buyer backing out due to an undisclosed issue.

8. Overlooking Extra Expenses for Closing

While you might be making money on the sale of your home, that doesn't mean you should show up to closing empty-handed. Some fees are typically the responsibility of the seller, and overlooking these extra expenses can cause some shock if you aren't prepared.

When selling your home, you can (likely) expect to pay the following:

  • Title insurance: It's typically the seller's responsibility to pay the Owner's Title Insurance policy for the home you are selling

  • Prorated property taxes: At closing, you will provide buyers a credit for the prorated property taxes you owe but have not yet paid

  • Commissions: Both buyer and seller agent commission are generally paid by the seller

  • Title + closing fees: These fees are typically split with buyer

  • Repairs: Finally, make sure you're prepared to pay any agreed-upon credits to the buyer to assist with repairs post-closing

9. Using Low-Quality Photos in Listing & Marketing

Before they decide to come view a home to sell, what do buyers look at? Photos, of course! One of the best ways to differentiate your home from the rest of the market is superior photography. The vast majority of buyers search for homes online and rely on photos to determine their initial interest in your home - and the quality of the photos you use in your listing and marketing materials can make ALL the difference in driving interest to your house. Always, always hire a professional photographer - no matter how good you may think your cell phone's camera works!

10. Underestimating the cost of selling your home

We've talked about cost a few times already - and that's because it's something that's SO often overlooked or underestimated by sellers. Again, while you may be selling your home for more than you owe, that doesn't mean you don't have to come up with some cash along the way! Some of the typical costs for sellers include:

  • Inspection repairs

  • Credits to buyer

  • Final property taxes

  • Utilities and insurance

  • Short-term rental or lease-back costs

  • Closing costs, such as title insurance and escrow and transfer fees

  • Commission costs

 

If you're thinking of listing your home for sale but are overwhelmed by the list above, don't worry - that's where we come in. A professional Realtor (like the ones at Brick & Corbett) can help make the process easy to navigate, and can help make sure you avoid costly mistake. Get in touch with us today!