6 Common Seller's Mistakes

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6 Common Seller's Mistakes

Selling your home isn’t an easy process — it can be emotionally challenging and time-consuming, mainly if this is your first time doing it. After all, you’ll be opening up the place where you’ve lived to strangers that will criticize and inspect it. And in the end, they will probably offer you less than the price you’d value your home at. 

All of this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell — it only means you should prepare for the process thoroughly. An emotional and complex transaction is hard such as this is hard even for people who have sold one of their homes in the past and even more so for someone who’s doing it for the first time.

There are plenty of common seller’s mistakes that you definitely want to avoid. Don’t worry, though, as our in-depth guide to the pitfalls of the average home seller will help you avoid them. If you don’t make any of the mistakes below, you’ll probably be able to sell your home within a reasonable amount of time and for the best possible price — without losing your mind in the process. 

Price Too High

1. Pricing Too High

The most common mistake people make when they decide to sell their house is setting a price that’s objectively unrealistic. Yep, it’s crucial to set an appropriate asking price. When you buy a home, your agent performs a comparative market analysis to estimate the value of a home — and it’s important not to forget that as a seller. Serious buyers will know what the fair offering price is and likely offer less in the beginning — as a seller; you need to be a step ahead. 

Sure, your home is precious to you, but it’s vital to see comparable homes in your area and set a realistic price. Except in a serious housing bubble, you generally won’t see overpriced homes selling all that much. And most real estate agents will tell you that this is the biggest mistake sellers make. 

Any buyer that’s smart will negotiate instead of agreeing to the initial price — and this is something you have to expect if you want a sale to go through. Essentially, you want to list your house at a price level that will leave some room for negotiation while also attracting buyers. The buyer needs to feel like they’re getting a decent amount of value while also giving you an amount of money you’d be satisfied with. 

Also, remember that whether you get more or less compared to the initial asking price depends on multiple factors — apart from your pricing strategy, you also need to consider whether you’re in a seller’s market or in a buyer’s market. And the effort you put into modernizing, repairing, and staging your home will have an effect as well. 

Women regreting not hiring a real estate agent

2. Not Hiring An Agent

Some people forgo hiring a real estate agent to avoid the commission they command — but that usually turns out to be a mistake, especially if this is your first time doing it. Even with the commission, it pays to hire a real estate agent in the end because of the value they bring to the process.

First of all, a professional real estate agent is always guarding your interests — and they’ll help you get a competitive and fair selling price while also increasing the odds that you’ll make a quick sale. Plus, having an experienced agent is also great because they usually tone down the inevitably emotional nature of the process — they interact with buyers instead of you and eliminate people who are only there to look at the home without any intention to make an offer. 

When you encounter a serious buyer, an agent will also be able to negotiate the sale with more experience, authority, and skill — ultimately getting you a better price than you’d probably get on your own and more than making up for their commission.

And if any issues occur in the process, as they tend to do, a professional real estate agent will quickly help you handle them. Finally, the mountains of paperwork and common pitfalls of real estate transactions are something agents deal with all the time — and they’ll make it all much less of a hassle for you, ensuring that everything goes through smoothly. 

On the other hand, imagine all the work you’d have to do if you didn’t hire a real estate agent. Sure, there are some people who manage to sell a home successfully — but they go through what amounts to full-time work to do it. You’d first need to do a lot of research on the other properties that have recently been sold in your area, as well as properties that are listed on the market right now. 

Then, you’d have to analyze this information correctly to arrive at an acceptable yet attractive selling price. And after that, all of the marketing for the home will be on you — so you’d have to find a multiple listing service that caters to your area and start communicating with buyers. Seeing as there’s no agent to do it all for you, you’d also have to show the house and negotiate with the buyer’s agent, who’s got far more experience than you.

As you can imagine, all of this takes a lot of energy and results in plenty of stress. And even then, you’d probably need an attorney to go through the escrow process and some of the finer points of the entire transaction with you. Because of all that, we recommend you hire a real estate agent instead.

Staged Home

3. Not preparing your home

Sure, staging a home can seem like an unimportant detail you can skip — but it’s actually a huge mistake that can cost you quite a lot. Ask a real estate agent, and they’ll tell you just how dramatically staging can impact the speed at which you can sell your home.

And the same goes for the price, which can vary by as much as 5% – 10% depending on how well the home is presented. Whatever you decide to do in terms of staging, however, the most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t show just an empty house. Potential buyers won’t feel a connection to the space, so you want to rent some decorations and furniture from a staging company — these will give buyers a rough idea about what this home could look like for them. 

Also, you should definitely remember to clear any clutter — it will only dampen the beauty of your house. Misplaced toys, torn-up furniture, or piles of newspapers and paperwork; all of it has to go if you want your home to look its best when potential buyers arrive. 

Clear all the surfaces, eliminate odors, clean up any stains, pack up the toys, and remember — you’re marketing a product, and you need to treat it as such. The same should be clear to any other members of the household; just imagine you’re running a cute little bed and breakfast and welcoming guests. 

Furthermore, you should remember to accentuate your interior with some proper lighting. Chances are Batman’s not going to be buying a new cave — so darkness isn’t your friend here. Brighter rooms look bigger, so pull back any curtains and make sure you’ve got a light shining on all nooks and crannies. Putting in 100-watt bulbs in all fixtures and lamps is a good trick — and you may want to use a couple of candles or a fireplace fire to ramp up the cozy feel of the home. 

Realtor Negotiating

4. Choosing the wrong agent

Hiring a real estate agent is important, as we’ve shown above — but it’s not just about hiring anyone either. You want the best people on the job, someone with lots of experience, and even more importantly, someone with local experience. 

A local realtor who’s done a lot of work in your community will have a lot of useful knowledge about the area — they’ll know all the businesses and amenities, as well as the local schools. All of this matters quite a lot when you’re marketing the house to potential buyers; they’ll want to hear all about the most fun dog parks and all the cool places locals like to visit and hang out at. 

In essence, a local realtor will be selling a lifestyle that the house is a part of — something a lot more attractive to interested buyers. Plus, they might even have sold a house in your neighbourhood before. 

Because of all of this, the last thing you want is to hire the wrong agent — someone who doesn’t have the necessary experience with your area or with real estate in general. Make sure you’re getting someone who knows what they’re doing. 

Man doing home repairs

5. Neglecting home repairs

Before you sell your home, you might want to pay for a professional home inspection on it — because you can bet that your buyer will. And depending on what kind of issues come up, the ensuing repairs could cost quite a lot. This is stuff that you’ll want to handle before you market the home — otherwise, your buyers will certainly expect a hefty discount.

In most cases, making repairs yourself costs less than the price reduction you’d have to give to buyers down the line — especially when it comes to costlier fixes. 

And don’t expect to get away with anything and hide the issues — the buyer will inevitably perform an inspection and realize what’s wrong. Plus, depending on your location, there might be disclosure rules forcing you to reveal any problems anyway. So, you can either list the property below its market value because of the issues or fix them beforehand. 

Though, bear in mind that quite a few buyers are in the market only for a turnkey home — so you’ll definitely be eliminating them by marketing a house with obvious issues. 

6. Don’t get too emotional

As we’ve mentioned in the beginning, this is inevitably an emotional process — particularly if this is the first home you’ve ever sold and if you’re the one who bought it in the first place. You’ve spent countless hours searching for the right place, saved up money for the downpayment and furnishing, and spent so much time creating wonderful memories here. Once it’s time to bid the home adieu, it’s easy to lose grip on your emotions. 

However, when it’s time to sell, you need to start viewing yourself as a salesperson and a businessperson rather than the homeowner. Try to look at things solely from a financial perspective and distance yourself from the emotions before the sale is made. In the end, this will reduce the chances of any costly mistakes occurring in the process. 

Wrapping Up

Even with a real estate agent by your side, learning some of the most important ins and outs of home selling is crucial. Not only will you avoid potential mistakes, but you’ll also prepare yourself financially and mentally for not-ideal scenarios, something that’s almost inevitable with this type of complex transaction.

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    Sukh Brar Real Estate Group
    (604) 648-7800
    Top 1% Realtor according to the FVREB 2014-2019