Common mistakes home sellers can easily avoid
It is ok to make a mistake or two along the way to selling your home. Usually you can recover as soon as you realize you have gone wrong, and there are so many ways to go wrong! However if you make too many mistakes it will also cost you all progress.
There are lots of common mistakes that home sellers can make so let’s continue our review so that we can try our best to avoid them.
Here are some more mistakes are in no particular order.
Show time restrictions
You have to understand that home buyers might be arriving from out of town and/or want to see three or four homes in a row. If you make your showing times too restrictive they won’t be able to see it when it is convenient for them.
Not fixing the little things
You should fix the small stuff for two reasons:
- When buyers easily see small problems they begin to wonder what else is wrong with the place. And they start looking!
- Buyers tend to overestimate the cost of fixing small flaws. It will cost you more if you don’t fix things before listing.
Not delivering the home at closing as it was during the sale
If the furnace or dishwasher breaks down between the time you sell and the time you close, it is your responsibility as the seller to fix them. Also, you cannot swap out the beautiful and expensive light fixtures (or appliances) for something else.
Smoking in your home, even your garage, will reduce its value.
Every home sells eventually. You just need to make adjustments or wait it out.
Leaving your dog at home for showings.
I once had a couple of little dogs follow me and my clients around barking their little heads off during a showing. We hurried out of there.
Not proof reading listing for accuracy
The details are important, as is accuracy. Please double check all of the details of your listing to ensure that your Realtor has everything correct.
Hiring a Realtor for the wrong reasons
There are no great secrets to selling real estate. If an agent tells you that they have ready buyers, a humongous network or promises you the highest price in the shortest time, ask to see the proof.
Ignoring the feedback
The real estate market can change pretty fast. Even though you may have priced your home based on recent sales activity, if there is a downward trend, you will get a lot of feedback that tells you so. Listen to the feedback, not the comparative market analysis.
Doing major renovations before the sale
If your house needs a new kitchen, it would be better to adjust the listing price accordingly rather than do a renovation that might not be fully appreciated.
Not leaving the heat or A/C turned up, the lights on and the curtains open
It in not the time to suddenly get energy conscience during a home sale. Buyers react to bright and comfortable homes.
Not keeping your home in it’s most showable condition
It is tough to sell a home that you are living in. Take the time every morning to make the bed and do the dishes
Not reading what you sign
Take the time to understand all of the paperwork. It may be tedious, but it is important.
Not disclosing what you need to disclose
A good rule of thumb is if something will impact the buyers enjoyment of the home, then you should disclose it.
Testing the market
Resist the urge to try it out at the wrong price for a few weeks. If the wrong price is known to you, it will be obvious to everyone.
Blaming the Realtor
Before blaming the Realtor, critically evaluate why your home isn’t selling. Maybe something else is (also) wrong.
Not communicating enough
Most people think they communicate enough, but they don’t. If you strive to over-communicate then you are likely communicating enough. If you think it, say it. Then talk about it.
Better real estate transactions happen when people are cooperative instead of being adversarial. Work with buyers and their agents instead of against them.
Not insisting on the best photography
Home shopping begins online and almost always with the photos. Visit Realtor.ca and see what the others are doing.
Not deep-cleaning your home before putting it on the market
Buyers are looking for excuses not to buy a home or to put in a low offer. A good deep cleaning is a proactive fix for these problems.
Not recognizing the cyclical nature of the real estate market
The busiest time is from February to June. The quieter is December and January.
Home selling is a great opportunity to get rid of your old clothing and anything you haven’t used in the past two years. Do that before listing.
Selling with tenants
Although it is true that some investors like to buy already tenanted units, showings do not go as well with tenants.
Closing on the same day as you close on your new home.
It is better to have a few days or even weeks to prepare your new home and move out of your old one.
Not scrubbing your social media
There is a lot of information available online about you and your home. Google yourself and take down anything that might impact the sale of your home. This is a common mistake that no one ever thinks of.
Not adjusting the price
Prices go up and down during the year depending on sales activity, the number of buyers and sellers in the market, other market forces…your listing price should reflect this.
Letting the listing go stale
When a home has been on the market for a while, everyone thinks there is something wrong with it. It is best to re-list (at a new price).
Not paying attention to the competition
Have your Realtor set up a neighbourhood search of comparable properties so you know what else is being listed and sold.
Not realizing the impact of the weather
Home buyers do not look at houses during blizzards.
Believing agents marketing materials about themselves
How many #1 agents can there be? How can an agent promise you the most money in the shortest time and at the same time promise a buyer the best negotiating skills and finding the best house? Superman?
Listing before you are ready
Everything should be perfect when your home hits the market. It will likely take you twice as long as you think to get your home in its most show ready state.
Put away anything that will distract the buyer. This is a most common mistake.
Pricing your home based on the price of other homes
A better practice is to price based on houses that have sold rather than those that are for sale.
Thinking it is easy
Sometimes selling a home is easy. Sometimes it’s not. You never know how it’s going to go.
Common mistakes home sellers make to be continued…
Further reading: More common mistakes found in real estate