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10 Common Home-Selling Mistakes to Avoid for Beginners

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10 Common Home-Selling Mistakes to Avoid for Beginners


The median house price in 2020 has increased by 8% from 2019. If you're considering selling your home, this is an opportune period.

However, you need to be wary of several mistakes made by home sellers.  

For first time home sellers, the process can be emotionally challenging and time-consuming. You'll have to be comfortable with home showings and any criticisms coming from prospective buyers. The pressure related to home selling can make you prone to a myriad of faults. 

If you’re selling your home, understanding the challenges involved in the process is crucial. Here are the home-selling mistakes you need to avoid. 

1. Incorrect Pricing 

Unreasonably high prices can make your home stay on the market for long. Most homeowners list a higher price with the assumption that potential buyers will negotiate for a lower price. Unfortunately, this approach hardly works, as prospective buyers only reach out to house sellers within their budget.

Conversely, underpricing your home will work against you. Some buyers might even equate the low price to low standards in your home. While you may want to sell your house fast, undervaluing it isn’t the way to go. 

Utilize an online calculator to gauge your home’s worth. Research on the home prices within your neighborhood to get a glimpse of the current housing market. With an experienced agent, you can develop a practical pricing strategy. 

2. Underestimating Home-Selling Costs

The chances are that you're only looking at the amount you'll get from your home-selling. As a seller, you'll have to incur some costs. One of the mistakes you can make is ignoring or underestimating these home-selling costs.

Did you know that a real estate agent will take 6% of your home’s sale? You should know because the amount you're anticipating to get from the sale will be reduced. You need to talk to your realtor to see the commission fee and what it involves.

It is prudent to factor in closing costs that can be up to 3% of your home price. The costs are inclusive of title transfer charges, attorney fees, and sale tax. Also consider any agreed upon home inspection repairs that might take you back several dollars. 

You might also want to know more about the staging costs. When staging your home, your location, home size, number of rooms, and any additional décor determines the price. Traditional home staging can cost you at least $350. Virtual home staging is considerably less expensive with prices at around $50 per image and up.

3. Selling Without an Agent

For sale by owner (FSBO) isn't a new house selling strategy. Most homeowners choosing this approach forego the agent intending to save on the commission fee. Selling your home without an agent is doable, but it can be frustrating.

You need to start by researching the cost of recently sold homes within your neighborhood to determine the market. What's more, you have to invest heavily in marketing by getting your home on Multiple Listing Service. Without an agent, you'll need to have adequate time to meet with buyers who want to view the house.

While you might want to sell solo, talking to an agent is one of the best decisions you can make to avoid common home-selling mistakes. There are important questions to ask a real estate agent to ensure that you get the best one for you. With an experienced agent, your house will sell faster, and you won't need to compromise on its value.

4. Selling Your Home When You Owe More in Mortgage 

Circumstances force homebuyers to sell their homes regardless of the state of their mortgage. Once you sell the house, you hope to pay the mortgage using the proceeds. What happens if your home has reduced in value?

Such a predicament will leave you with less cash to pay your mortgage. It is advisable to wait until your home builds adequate equity. You'll sell your home comfortably without thinking about two mortgages.

If you decide to sell a house with a mortgage, you should have insights on what to expect. So, what happens when selling a house with a mortgage? You’ll need to know the amount you owe the lender to establish whether going ahead with the sale will make economic sense. 

5. Ignoring Major House Repair

Buyers are not enthusiastic about a home that requires several repairs. Besides turning off potential buyers, ignoring some repairs will decrease your home’s value. Work on the repairs before listing your home for sale. 

It would be best to focus mostly on the glaring issue that will embarrass you during the inspection. Problems such as roof leaks should take center stage in your repair process. Anything that can potentially threaten the functionality and safety of the home should be a priority.

Unfortunately, some homeowners try to hide most of these repairs, as some are expensive. You might want to think again because this move will make potential buyers question your integrity. It is essential to pay a professional inspector to judge whether your home is in the right shape for listing. 

6. Failure to Declutter

The first impression is likely to determine whether or not a buyer closes the deal. With clutter everywhere, your home might take ages to get a buyer. It is vital to remove any unnecessary furniture, misplaced items, and paperwork. 

Clear all surfaces, clean any stains, and store away other stuff such as toys. If you've been hoarding items that you no longer use, dispose of them. Clear closets to make them appear less crowded.

You don’t want a potential buyer assuming the house doesn’t have enough storage. Some of the large items that make a space appear squeezed are better kept in the garage. A decluttered place will make it easier for sellers to visualize themselves in the house.

7. Not Taking Professional Photos

About 83% of smartphone users consider photos and images to be significantly influential in their purchasing decisions. One of the home-selling mistakes that homeowners make is the failure to take professional photos. Buyers will judge your home based on the images you post online.  

When using a realtor, professional photography is part of the package. If you’re going FSBO, invest in a qualified real estate photographer. The pictures should accentuate the best features of your home. 

Professional photography will also consider your home’s aerial view. The pictures captured through a drone will give impressive images that will attract potential buyers. If you want to stand out from the rest, getting an expert photographer will make all the difference.

8. Limiting House Showings 

Now that your house is on the market, you might need to embrace the idea of strangers in your home. Whether you're selling as FSBO or through an agent, house showings are necessary. You need to work on your schedules to accommodate prospective clients.

Home showings can be tiring. The time clients choose to view the house might be inconvenient for you. Yet, you don't have much of a choice, as you want to accommodate many buyers to increase the chances of closing a deal.

You have to focus on the goal, which is to sell your house. The weekends within the next few days or weeks of listing your home might only be about home showings. Are you ready to cancel your weekend plans? 

9. Selling a Poorly-Lit Home 

If you’re wondering what to do to sell your house quickly, lighting is one of the aspects to consider. A well-lit home is quite welcoming. Dark rooms will be a turnoff to most potential buyers.

Assess the lighting in your house and make the necessary changes. You might want to replace heavy drapes with attractive sheers that let in natural light. Having lampshades in lighter tones will also improve the lighting in your house.

A bright home feels spacious. Besides the overhead fixtures and lamps, you can place candles strategically for more illumination. Having a fire in your fireplace is another great addition.   

10. Selling Your Home Without Making It Energy Efficient

Everyone wants to save some bucks on utility bills. In fact, many homebuyers are likely to prioritize HVAC efficiency when shopping for a house. If your old home doesn't have the right systems to save on energy, selling it might prove harder than you can imagine.

Potential homebuyers will inquire about energy efficiency. To save yourself the frustration, consider replacing your system for a more energy-efficient option. You'll meet your home energy needs and still save a significant amount on the bill.

For your house to stand out, consider proper insulation, a smart thermostat, and repairing leaky ducts. You can include these upgrades in your home description. This approach will get you more interested buyers. 

Home-Selling Mistakes Can Make Your Home Stay Longer in the Market 

A smooth home selling process is almost untenable. While thinking about everything that can go wrong is pretty overwhelming, it will cushion you from the frustrations. You need to know common home-selling mistakes and how to avert them. 

While selling by yourself is a viable option, using a professional agent will shield you from most of these mistakes. An agent understands how to stage your home for a sale and how to price your home so it will sell. Your primary role at this point should be to get a reliable real estate agent. 

Are you looking for a real estate agent to help with your house sale? Contact us today to work with professionals with years of experience in real estate.