A home for sale.

Typical Home Selling Mistakes

Selling your home is probably not something that you do often. At most, you probably sell a house every 3 years but even that would be somewhat uncommon. According to the National Association of Home Builders, 13 years is the average time a home owner will stay in their home. Because of this, you will probably make some mistakes. Here are some things to avoid.

The sale of a home is a really big deal and it will probably be one of the largest transactions that you make in your life. Mistakes can end up costing you thousands so, you want to do things as perfectly as possible. Here are some areas where home owners often get in trouble when selling their home. Avoid these mistakes and you should be in good shape.

1. Not using A Realtor

This is a big no no. The idea of saving money on a commission is enticing but a Realtor can help you avoid a lot of common mistakes and handle all of the work that you are unfamiliar with.

Many buyers will even avoid “For Sale By Owner” homes as the sellers can often be difficult to work with and even, dare we say, cheap.

When you think about it, the little bit of money that you save is not even worth it. The typical sale with a realtor is going to cost you 6%. A hefty amount sure but even if you sell it yourself, you will have to offer the buyers agent a 3% commission. If you don’t, good luck getting showings. In addition, you will still have to pay to get your property listed on the MLS. That will cost you a 400 dollar fee. With that and your other miscellaneous expenses, you will still be a little be paying out between 3 and 4 percent and will have to do all of the work.

A better option, if you still want to save money is to negotiate a 2% seller commission with your agent. This is becoming far more common since selling a home has become much more competitive and frankly a bit easier with the internet.

So, wrapping it all up, here are your options. Sell it with a Realtor for a 5% total commission after negotiating the seller commission or sell it yourself for a 3 to 4 % commission.

Do yourself a favor and get the Realtor.

2. Asking Too Much Money

Setting your home listing price is an important decision. This is an area where a Realtor will really help you out. They can do a market analysis and see what properties in your are are actually selling for.

Many sellers make the mistake of listing their home too high. You want to get a good price for your home but listing it too high will cost a lot of problems. Mainly, you will turn away a lot of buyers. The first week or so of your listing will be the hottest time for showings as people swarm on the new listings. You can kill that rush by asking for an unreasonable amount of money. You will inevitably have to lower the price of your home in the future but will have missed the new listing craze.

It is almost never a good idea to ask much more than your home is worth. A fair listing price will do wonders for the speed at which your home sells. In a hot market, listing it below market may even spawn a bidding war, giving you the high price that you wanted. Consult a Realtor for the best strategy for your home.

3. Skimping On Home Prep

We get it, you are trying to walk away with as much money in your pocket. This will often lead home owners to get cheap and skimp on the prep.

The savings that you get from skimping might be far outweighed by the reduced selling price of your home, not to mention the increased selling time.

Don’t be cheap. Do a thorough cleaning of the home, including the carpet and tile. Also, do not do it yourself, hire a professional. For about $500, you can get a professional job that could set your home apart.

If your paint is in bad shape, you should, at the very minimum, do a touch up. If it has been many years since you have painted your home, a touch up will not work. The fresh spots would stand out like a sore thumb. You will need to do a full repaint. Dollar for dollar, this is one of the best ways to improve the value of your home, just be sure to stick to neutral colors.

Next, consider the curb appeal of your home. Go to the street and give it a good look, this is the first view your buyer will get. Make sure the lawn is neatly trimmed and remains that way through the entire sale. If the mulch beds need work, go in and clear all the weeds and apply a fresh layer of mulch. Also, you would be amazed at what $20 in flowers will do.

Finally, the staging. Organize your furniture so that the rooms flow together. You want to see wide open spaces and clear pathways. Also take the time to declutter and remove any personalization. You want people to think your home is bigger than it is and that there is plenty of room for storage. This means, clean out the closet. Half the closet rods should be empty.

4. Not Taking Professional Photos

Most Realtors know how important a photo is, if they do not, you need to remind them.

Most buyers these days shop for their home online before they do so in person. The first view of your home will be picture, so make sure it is a good one. This means a professional picture, not one from you or your Realtor’s camera phone.

We have probably all seen those poor listings with the blurry pictures that fail to show off the key assets of a home. There is usually even a bathroom shot where you can see the photo taker in the mirror with their phone. Don’t make this mistake.

5. Not Being Emotionally Prepared

Selling a home is a big deal and there is a lot to put up with. You need to be prepared for a stressful couple of weeks as you wait for offers, negotiate and have to live in a state of constant chaos.

You will have to be prepared to leave your home at any time. You will get a text out of the blue requesting a showing and the last thing that you want to do is turn it down. This means that you have to have a place for you, your kids and possibly your pets to go at all times. In addition, it means that you have to have your home “show ready” all the time.  If you have another place to stay, it is almost always a better idea to just move out for a few weeks.

In addition, you need to deal with the stress of handling offers. They might not come for days or even weeks. When they do come, they might be low ball offers. Don’t get offended, simply respond to them with a good counter or decline them.

Finally, you have to realize that things are going to take time. Even relatively quick sales can be a 3 month process. You have to get the home prepped, listed, field offers and then finally accept one. Then you have to deal with home appraisals, inspections and the inevitable closing issues.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.