What are the big mistakes that home sellers make?


6 BIG mistakes that home sellers make

Like a lot of things, it doesn’t seem hard until you try it. And then you find yourself with a bit of a dilemma or in a world of hurt. Do you give up and hire a professional? Or do you work through the problems and get to the finish line?

That’s up to you. This post hopes to help to get you on track or prevent you from making the most common mistakes that home sellers make.

Emotional intelligence

Your emotional value of your home is worthless to every one of your potentials home buyers. Sure you have great memories and/or a cognitive bias – something known as the Ikea Effect that is affecting your judgement, but they do not. If you are selling and moving away, you will have to separate yourself from your home.

Now is the time to start.

This goes not only for only seeing the flaws in comparable homes but also overlooking them in yours. You have to force yourself to take a cold hard look at reality sometimes. This is one of those times.

Determination of value

Pricing is the most important thing about listing your home and often the the most difficult. It is because that there are so many factors to getting the price right, so many moving parts in the real estate market. There are things we know and things we don’t, things we can control and manage and things we can’t.

Get up to speed.

Start early.

Go to open houses. Read realtor.ca and the real estate news. Educate yourself on the trends of the local market. Then, interview three or more Realtors and get their opinions of value – they may vary wildly, hopefully they don’t. Get them to show you, not tell you, not promise you, the most correct possible market price.

Use the prevailing strategy

Find out what the local selling customs, trends and tactics are, and then follow them. For example, in Waterloo Region, most homes sell within 3% higher or lower that list price. Knowing this will prevent you from overpricing your home with too much “wiggle room”. If most weekend open houses happen on Sunday 2-4, then that is when you should do your open house.

NOTE: As you may know from reading my blog, one of my guiding principles is, “if everyone else is doing it, do something else”. I’ve done open houses on Wednesday 5-7 – didn’t work. Often (but not always) things are done in a certain way because that is just the way they are done.

If it is broken, fix it

You might be able to hide your problems, but if you are caught you are going to lose all credibility, the buyer, money and time. If you sell a house with a undisclosed problem you might even get sued. Forget about buyer beware. You have responsibilities.

It is better to fix it if it is broken. I’ve had clients try to justify not repairing the roof, saying, “maybe the new owners will want a steel roof”. Come on, really?

Not replacing the roof is going to cost you time and money – more money than if you had done the roof.

Hire a Realtor

Of course I’m going to say this

Like the point above about using the prevailing strategy, hire a real estate agent. Approximately 90% of all real estate transactions involve the help of at least one Realtor (usually two).  There are people who make their own clothes, cut their own hair, grow their own food, change the oil in their cars. Power to them. If you are one of these people, power to you! If not, now is not the time to get creative. It’s not in your nature.

Selling a home seems easy. Sometimes finding a buyer is the easiest part. But what about getting through the agreement with all of its conditions and financing and final closing? Wouldn’t it be great if you could practice a few hundred times first?

mistakesMeasure twice, cut once

In carpentry the motto is ‘measure twice, cut once’. You cannot afford to make a mistake when you list your home.

It takes me a week to get an already marketable home on the market. There is a final look at curb appeal and staging, the photos and text…all the paperwork and administration needed to have the listing go live when it is ready and not until it is ready. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Incomplete information and changes to the listing look bad and hurt the listing when it most matters.


Most home sellers want to sell their home for the most money possible in the shortest time. I hope the above information avoids big mistakes that many home sellers and their agents make.



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