18 Common Mistakes People Make When Selling a House

Selling a house can be rewarding, letting homeowners take the next important step on the property ladder or letting older owners downsize and make a profit. Home selling can also be complex, stressful, and lengthy, especially for first-time sellers. Here are 18 common mistakes people make when selling a house.

Overpricing the Property

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Forbes warns that “overpricing is a costly first-time home seller mistake,” pointing to an agent who “warns that overpricing and aspirational pricing are never good strategies.” While sellers may feel that their house is worth a higher price than comparable houses on the market, overpricing can lead to fewer viewings and offers.

Ignoring Professional Real Estate Advice

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People selling a house they have poured money and care into for years can often be sentimental and unrealistic, and they ignore expert advice and market trends. Listening to the advice of real estate agents is essential. It allows for the implementation of effective marketing techniques, negotiation strategies, and pricing strategies.

Failing to Stage the Home

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Staging a home will make it appeal more to prospective buyers. Freshening the paint in the living room, replacing worn carpets, and arranging furniture to make a room look larger can make the difference between an offer and a lack of interest. Experian points to a survey that revealed that “85% of staged homes sell for anywhere from 5% to 23% over list price, and staged homes also spend less time on the market than non-staged homes do.”

Being Unprepared for Showings

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While showings may be inconvenient, limiting show times can significantly reduce buyer interest. Even if it’s last minute, a viewing can raise the odds of securing a buyer looking for a quick purchase of your home for a fair price. Homes should also be clean and organized when prospective buyers come for viewings.

Overlooking Closing Costs and Details

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Bankrate admits that “with all of the chaos that comes with the home-selling process, it’s common for prospective home sellers to overlook the costs of offloading their property.” Sellers will have to account for real estate commission, closing, and real estate transfer costs, among other potential expenses.

Not Disclosing Property Issues

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Failing to disclose known property issues can leave sellers at risk of damage claims post-sale. Sellers should be transparent about issues with their property, as a lack of transparency will be off-putting to serious buyers, and undisclosed problems can emerge in inspections.

Ignoring Curb Appeal

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The curb appeal of a house is important. Homes that look attractive from the outside, with tidy front gardens and driveways, are more likely to catch a prospective buyer’s eye. Experian points to a study that determined “curb appeal could account for 7% of a home’s sale price.”

Setting Unrealistic Timelines

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Homeowners eager to sell their homes may set unrealistic timelines for the sale of their homes. Expectations need to be adjusted to current market conditions and sales timelines, and failing to adjust expectations to the market can lead sellers to reduce their asking price unnecessarily.

Failing to Depersonalize the Home

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Buyers want to picture themselves living in a home before they buy it. Too many personal items, like family photos, can lessen the ability of prospective buyers to view a property as a potential home. The presence of personal items should be reduced as much as possible before viewings.

Inadequate Marketing

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Homeowners often make basic marketing mistakes when selling their homes. The Balance lists poor photographs as a marketing mistake to avoid, noting that “pictures speak volumes and often get noticed before the written word.” Sellers should ensure they have appealing photos and descriptions of their home and a few buyer incentives to attract attention.

Ignoring Buyer Feedback

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Listening to feedback from potential buyers can give sellers an idea of the impression their home is making. Buyers’ concerns can be addressed with home improvements and additional staging. Ignoring buyers’ and agents’ feedback will likely prolong the sales process.

Ineffective Communication with the Agent

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It’s crucial that sellers clearly and effectively communicate their expectations and goals with their agents. Maintaining regular communication will avoid missed opportunities, misunderstandings, and strategy misalignments.

Not Utilizing Digital Platforms Effectively

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Houses should have a compelling online listing with high-quality photos and virtual tours that give prospective buyers a sense of the property. Social media platforms can also be used to increase the visibility of a property.

Neglecting Repairs and Improvements

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First impressions matter when viewing a house. Obvious, unaddressed maintenance issues can turn off prospective buyers who don’t have the budget or time to improve the home. HomeLight notes that “accepted real estate wisdom says that houses in good condition bring in higher prices than houses in not-so-great condition.” Buyers can also overestimate the repair costs, lowering their offering price.

Holding Out for a Better Offer

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People selling their homes often wait for a better offer that never comes, especially in a buyer’s market. Waiting too long can result in a property being viewed as flawed and unable to sell, and prolonged housing costs can reduce the potential net gain from a sale.

Not Being Flexible with Sale Terms

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Inflexible sellers who are unwilling to negotiate on price, closing date, or contingencies can find their sale stalling. Failing to accommodate reasonable buyer requests will turn away potential buyers, who will look for more reasonable sellers.

Choosing the Wrong Time to Sell

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The best time to sell a house is in the spring and early summer. Bankrate notes that the “worst times to sell are typically the dead of winter when bad weather keeps people off the roads and holiday planning occupies their minds.” Periods of low mortgage rates and short supply are also ideal times to sell.

Underestimating the Emotional Aspect of Selling

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Sellers who have lived in a house for a long time can be emotional about their property, which holds special memories. However, emotions shouldn’t interfere with rational decision-making during negotiations. The stress of the selling process should not be underestimated, and sellers should take care not to let it impact their decision-making.

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