6 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make (and How to Avoid Them)

sell your home in winter

As someone selling a home, there are many ways to lose money and add stress. I don’t want either of those for you!

So here’s the 6 costly mistakes I’ve seen too many home sellers make. Hopefully you’ll be able to avoid these and make the process of selling your home as easy and lucrative as possible.

Mistake 1: Pricing Your Home Too High

Even when the real estate market is screaming white hot, there is still a threshold for how much a buyer is willing to pay for your home. Home buyers are smart and have access to so many tools that help them understand the value of properties. They literally have boots on the ground viewing all the homes comparable to yours. If yours is listed considerably higher than others that have similar location, amenities, and upgrades then why would they buy the most expensive one?

Unfortunately by listing too high you leave yourself vulnerable to quickly being the home that all the buyers ask “What’s wrong with it? Why hasn’t it sold?”

I think we can agree that’s NOT what we want them saying about the house you’re selling.

The likely consequences of listing too high are:

  1. Taking longer to sell the home and becoming “stale.”
  2. Making less money than you would have by listing at a more reasonable price in the first place.

Buyers are apt to offer less (sometimes way less) than asking price if your house has been on the market a while. In a hot market this could mean as short as two weeks.

Mistake 2: Not Getting the Property Show Ready

You don’t necessarily need to do a massive remodel and have the home staged. You do need to clean and declutter the home. No, this isn’t most people’s idea of fun. Yes, you need to do this to move anyway.

The goal of preparing your home for sale is to make sure the pictures and marketing are attractive, which brings the most home buyers to your house. And then when they are in the home you want them to feel as if it could be their home.

When buyers can envision themselves living in the home and they think the price is fair, you will get the most offers and the highest price.

Most home buyers don’t have vision. They can’t see beyond your clutter and won’t even schedule a showing if they don’t like the photos.

So pretty please, do yourself a favor and spend a couple weekends properly prepping your house for sale. Trust me, it’ll get you more money AND you won’t have to rush to go through belongings when it’s time for you to move.

Mistake 3: Hiring the Cheapest Realtor

Just like almost everything else in this world, you get what you pay for!

I might be biased (or just experienced), but there is definitely a difference in quality between real estate agents.

Truthfully, how much you pay a real estate agent isn’t always the difference in quality. But I have noticed the real estate agents and companies that are so quick to give away their money generally care a lot less about your money. You are hiring someone to negotiate on your behalf. You might want to hire someone whose value proposition includes being an excellent negotiator…which includes not being so quick to give away their own money.

I’ve also noticed that discount companies and real estate agents often have the worst marketing. Could it be that they have less to spend? We all know that bad marketing equates to fewer showings, and fewer showings mean less offers and less money in your pocket.

My suggestion, interview multiple real estate agents to find someone who will market your home strategically and has passion about getting you the best price. This will make you more money than hiring the cheapest option.

Mistake 4: Limiting Showings

I get it, it’s a hassle to have people walk through your home. Unfortunately that’s all part of the process. I’ve noticed over the years that homes with unusual or restrictive showing instructions are often the same ones that take forever to sell.

It’s in your best interest to allow showings during all reasonable hours of the day (9am-7pm is pretty normal).

If you work from home, have children at home, or have pets that will need to be moved for showings try to figure out logistics before your house goes on the market.

If a lot of showings are predicted for the first weekend, it might be easiest to go on a short trip or stay with family for a few days. Or at least plan some longer day outings so that you don’t have to keep coming and going.

Mistake 5: Not Reducing Your Price Quick Enough

This kind of goes back to Mistake #1, but it sort of is a separate issue. Sometimes even after being strategic about pricing a home for sale they just don’t sell in as timely a fashion as expected.

Every market is different and average days on market can shift quickly, but your real estate agent should set the expectation up front what the strategy will be if no offers or low showings happen in the first couple weekends.

The consequence of waiting too long to change your price is the house becomes “stale”, meaning buyers will overlook the home simply because they can’t figure out why the house is still on the market. Home buyers that view the home may write an offer, but it will likely be under asking price.

Which brings me to the final mistake…

Mistake 6: Not Trusting Your Real Estate Agent’s Advice

This might be a bold statement, but if you don’t trust your real estate agent I think you picked the wrong one. So maybe the mistake is actually not interviewing a few realtors before choosing who to work with.

Regardless, you and your real estate agent do have the same goal…sell the home with as little stress and as much profit as possible.

When they offer advice it comes from a place of experience and the desire to do the best job possible for you.

Believe me when I say it’s not easy to suggest lowering the price, to kick your dog Jack out of the house for every showing, or ask you to put away your most prized giant elephant statue. But those tough conversations have to be done (with tact hopefully!) in order to accomplish your goals.

You want an agent who is willing to have the tough conversations. And if they are bringing it up, it serves your best interest to listen to what they are saying.

That’s a Wrap! Hopefully you now have the knowledge to not make the costly mistakes I’ve seen many home sellers make. I’d love the opportunity to offer you suggestions on making your home sale a breeze! This includes creating a customized marketing strategy and doing an in-depth analysis to guide you toward an optimal list price. Give me a call and we can get started.