Selling your home can be rife with surprises and challenges. The process can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally draining. Having strangers touring your home, looking in closets and poking around your cabinets can feel like an invasion of privacy. Not to mention listening to criticisms of the place you have called home can be devastating. Then when the first low offer comes in, the whole ordeal can feel overwhelming.
When it comes to selling your home, there are plenty of mistakes you could make. You should be aware of some of the more common mistakes people make so you can avoid them.
1. Trying to Sell Your House Yourself
You may save money on agent commission by selling your house yourself, but you also miss out on a lot of advantages that come with hiring a professional. Realtors will likely get a higher selling price that makes up for the commission you will be paying.
A good agent generally has your best interests at heart. They will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home, increasing your odds of a quick sale. A professional agent also has the benefit of professional guidance, a network of agents and sophisticated marketing strategies. A realtor will have a much deeper understanding of local trends on the housing market, regulations on closing a sale and an expertise that will help you make the best decisions for selling your home in your particular area.
Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly. This means there will not be any unnecessary delays in the deal.
2. Setting an Unrealistic Price
This is another mistake you can easily avoid by hiring a professional agent. An agent can provide you with a comparative market analysis and guide you toward a fair price based on comparative market analysis. You may think your home is worth more, but remember to set a realistic price based on comparable homes in the area.
3. Underestimating the Costs of Selling
Be sure to prepare for the additional expenses that come with selling a home. This can include agent commissions, staging costs, closing costs, necessary home repairs, other moving expenses and more.
Here is a breakdown of some common costs sellers pay:
- Agent Commissions (Typically 6% of the home sales price)
- Closing costs (roughly 2% of your home’s sale price)
- Staging: Can be anywhere from $500 to over $2,000
- Moving Expenses: The average cost for a local move is $1,200 and the average cost for a long-distance move is $4,500
- Capital Gains Taxes (difference between your home’s purchase and selling prices)
4. Getting Emotional
It is easy to get emotional about selling your home, especially your first one. After all, your home has been a huge part of you and your family’s life! You spent a great deal of time and effort to find the right one, saved up for your down payment and furniture, and created many memories. People generally have trouble keeping their emotions in check when it comes time to say goodbye.
It is important to set any emotional attachment to the side when selling your home. Stay open-minded, do not be offended by low offers and be willing to make any necessary repairs or staging decisions that will help your home sell.
5. Failing to Declutter
Do not underestimate the importance of cleaning and decluttering your home before showing it to potential buyers. You want the buyers to envision themselves in your home, and clutter may make the space seem tighter and smaller than it actually is. Make it as easy as possible for them to picture themselves in your home by decluttering as much as you can beforehand.
6. Hiding Major Problems
Trying to get away with hiding major problems with your property is a bad idea since any problem will be uncovered during the buyer’s inspection. You have three options to deal with any issues. Either fix the problem ahead of time, lower the price of the property to one below market value, or list the property at a normal price and offer the buyer a credit to fix the problem.
Keep in mind that by not making the necessary repairs, you may eliminate a good number of buyers who want a problem-free, move-in ready home. Having your home inspected before listing is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises once the home is under contract. Additionally, many states have disclosure rules that require sellers to disclose known problems about their homes if buyers ask directly, while others decree that sellers must voluntarily disclose certain issues.
7. Skimping on Listing Photos
Listing photos are often the first impression potential buyers get of your home since so many buyers look for homes online. Many of the competing homes in your area will have photos so you will be doing yourself a real disservice if you do not take the time to get quality photos of your home. But also keep in mind that there are a lot of poor quality photos of homes for sale that if you do a good job, it will set your listing apart and help generate additional interest.
Good photos should be crisp and clear and taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light available. The photos should highlight your home’s best assets and give potential buyers a good idea what the entire room looks like. If you can afford it, hire a professional real estate photographer to achieve the goal of high quality photos. Resist the temptation to simply snap photos on your phone, especially if you do not know how to take proper pictures of the interior of a house.
Consider adding a video tour or 360-degree view to further enhance your listing. This can be easily done with any smartphone. You can certainly entice more potential buyers into walking through your doors for showings. You may even get more offers if you give them an introductory walk-through of your property.
8. Selling During Winter Months
Spring and summer are traditionally the optimal times to sell a home. Winter, especially around the holidays, is typically a slow time of year for home sales. People are busy with social engagements, and the cold weather across much of the country makes it more appealing just to stay home.
Selling a house during winter comes with additional challenges. Curb appeal is typically lacking during the winter months. From dead trees and vegetation to icy driveways and snowy yards, your normally lush landscaping may look drab and lifeless during cold months. Snow and rain can hide your home’s best features.
The housing market typically is not as hot as it is during the spring or summer months, which means there will likely be less buyers interested in your home. Fewer buyers means less of a chance that you’re going to receive multiple offers on your home. Without multiple buyers competing for your property, you may not get the highest price possible for the house.
You may be better off waiting. Barring any mitigating circumstances that may force you to sell during the winter or holidays, consider listing when the weather begins to warm up. People are usually ready and willing to purchase a home when it is warmer.
9. Not Accommodating Buyers
A common mistake sellers make is not showing their house often enough, and not accommodating a wide range of buyers. Very few buyers are willing to make an offer without seeing the property in person at least once.
Make time for as many interested potential buyers as possible, even when it is inconvenient. You never know when your future homeowner is going to walk through the door, so you need to provide as much opportunity as possible for that to happen. Work with your agent to schedule showings and open houses as soon as your listing goes up. The longer a house sits on the market untouched, the less value it has.
10. Selling to Unqualified Buyers
It is more than reasonable to expect a buyer to bring a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender or proof of funds (POF) for cash purchases to show that they have the money to buy the home. Signing a contract with a buyer may be contingent on the sale of their own property, which may put you in a bad position if you need to close by a particular date.
Is Your Escrow Company Looking Out for You?
Selling a house can be an exciting and enjoyable experience. With such a major personal and financial change on the horizon, you want to do everything you can to ensure that you protect yourself and sell for a fair market price.
With Citrus Heritage Escrow by your side, you can rest assured that when you receive your settlement check, you have gained the maximum benefit from your home sale or purchase.
Call us today with any questions or concerns. Our professional Escrow Agents will help you through this exciting yet confusing process. (951) 335-7200