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mistakes to avoid when selling your home

10 biggest mistakes to avoid when selling your home

November 30, 2017 — Written by Marcie Geffner

“Oops” isn’t something you want to say when selling your home. Or at least, not often.

Mistakes on the little things aren’t a big deal. But for big things like prepping your home, making repairs, or pricing, you’ll want to do everything right.

With that in mind, here are 10 mistakes to avoid when you’re selling your home:

1. Staying emotionally attached.

You’ve probably owned your home at least a few years. It’s natural to become fond of the place where you’ve nested and created memories with your family and friends. Once you decide to sell, however, you’ll have to detach and think objectively about your home’s strengths and weaknesses. Try to see your home the way buyers will. Be aware of your home’s features, faults, and flaws.

2. Not making repairs.

Most homes need at least some maintenance or repairs, but many buyers don’t want to purchase someone else’s problems. If your HVAC broke or your roof needs a few shingles, you might want to repair those problems before putting your home on the market. Expensive repairs could be deal breakers for buyers, but fixing small stuff like a broken doorknob or leaking faucet can help create a positive impression. Prioritize items that buyers can see or their home inspector is likely to discover.

3. Not prepping for photography.

Most buyers begin their home search online, so they’ll probably see pictures of your home before they visit in person. Discuss the photo shoot in advance with your real estate agent to make sure your home shines. Priorities should include cleaning until everything gleams, clearing out clutter, and depersonalizing your home’s decor.

4. Not staging your home.

Staging your home is especially important if your home is vacant, but can help boost the appeal of any abode. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned and decluttered, consider whether your furniture arrangements show your home at its best. If your rooms feel crowded, donate, sell, or give away some items, or put them in storage. You might hire a professional stager to stage rooms, sometimes with loaner pieces and home accessories, to make your home more appealing to buyers.

5. Neglecting curb appeal.

Prospective buyers might drive right past your home if its exterior doesn’t meet their expectations. Sprucing up can help entice them to look inside when they arrive for an open-house or private showing. Start with a fresh coat of exterior paint, clean-swept front porch, and well-maintained walkways. We recommend a neatly mowed front lawn and well-placed shrubs and flowers to enhance curb appeal.

6. Asking too much.

Buyers today have access to a lot of information about recently sold homes, so they won’t make offers for more than your home is actually worth. Even if the market is strong, an overpriced home could become stale, causing buyers to wonder whether it has serious hidden defects. A smarter strategy is to price your home realistically or even a bit low to attract more buyers, receive more offers, and maybe even start a bidding war.

7. Ignoring the competition.

In pricing your home, consider the sale prices of recently sold homes that are similar to yours, known as comparables, or “comps.” You can also look at how much homes currently on sale are listed for, to get an idea of what buyers will be comparing your home price to when they are looking in your area.

8. Choosing the wrong way to sell your home.

For owners with previous home-selling experience, listing as For Sale By Owner can avoid pricey brokerage commissions. But the DIY route may struggle to attract qualified buyers, resulting in a lower selling price. Owners will need time, and the knowledge, to handle every aspect of the selling process on their own.

Recognizing these pitfalls, most sellers hire a real estate agent to help them with pricing, staging, marketing, negotiating and more. Interview at least three realtors before you choose one and do your own research to enhance whatever advice your agent gives you. Make sure to ask the right questions that will help you to determine if the agent is the right fit for you.

You might also consider to sell your home to a direct buyer like Opendoor. At Opendoor, we take a single service charge to provide you with a hassle-free sales process without listing, showings, and months of stress. You’re in complete control of your moving timeline and choose your own closing date.

9. Underestimating the cost of selling your home.

Selling a home can be expensive. A real estate agent’s commission, typically 5 to 6 percent of the sale price, is only one of many costs. Others include

  • Repair credits to the buyer
  • Moving expenses
  • Final property taxes
  • Utilities and insurance
  • Short-term rental or lease-back costs
  • Closing costs, such as title insurance and escrow and transfer fees.

These non-commission costs can eat up another 4 percent of your sale price, bringing your total selling costs up to 10 percent.

10. Limiting showings.

Once you’ve put your home on the market, you’ll have to try to cooperate when your agent wants to show it. That could mean scampering out at dinnertime for a private showing, or vacating for several hours—or most of the day—for a weekend open house. The goal is to accommodate as many buyers as possible, even if their timing is inconvenient.

If your house isn’t easy to show, it won’t be easy to sell either. While interruptions and added weekend planning may feel inconvenient, just remember the end goal—a good return on your investment that can support your next move.

Selling your home is a major life-changing decision, but it doesn’t have to involve aggravation, frustration, or hassle. Steer clear of these classic mistakes and you might close your sale faster and easier than you’d have thought possible.

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