5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Selling your home is not an easy thing to do. Most of us only get to do this once or twice in our lifetime, so there are usually more questions than answers. However, you can make this tough process easier by learning about and knowing how to avoid these five common mistakes.

5 Common Home Selling Mistakes

Photo by Casey Serin via Flickr

Pricing Your House Too High

This is the most common mistake homesellers make in any market, and it is much worse when the market is slow. Asking for too much money for your house will cause it to languish on the market for months. It may be difficult to think about the equity you might give up by lowering the price, but think instead about the amount of money you are spending each month on mortgage and utilities (particularly if you have moved out of the house).

If you purchased your home at the top of the bubble it can also be demoralizing to realize that your house is worth less than what you paid for it. You have to be willing to make some tough decisions to make sure that your house is sold. Discuss with your real estate agent what a fair price is for your home. It is better to start your listing off with a reasonable price than to start off higher and have to lower the price later.

Choosing the Wrong Real Estate Agent

Not all agents are the same. It is worth your time to do all the proper homework to find the right agent. You want an agent who specializes in your neighborhood or area, who is familiar with your style of home, and is willing to go the distance to help you sell. The right agent will get you the foot traffic you need to get the home sold.

Letting Emotions Get in the Way

It’s not just four walls, a yard, a garage, and a roof to you. It’s your home. But you can’t let your emotional attachment to your home blind you. It might feel insulting to field an offer that is significantly lower than your asking price. You must look at that offer objectively rather than as a reflection of the place you have called home for some time if you want to sell your house.

Missing Obvious Flaws

It can be easy to overlook the things you see every day. People who live next door to famous monuments never even notice that they’re driving past the Lincoln Memorial. So it’s very easy for a seller to overlook issues — both small and large. While this is a big part of why you have a real estate agent, it is important for you to remember that you have to look at the house the way a prospective buyer would.

You need to stage your home so potential buyers can see themselves living in their house not your house. Are your window boxes empty and cheerless without the flowers you grow in other seasons? Is there an oil stain in your driveway from the last time you changed your oil? Look at the house with a critical eye, and try to find anything that might make your house seem unkempt. The less flaws a potential buyer sees the more likely you are to receive an offer.

Being Inflexible

The real estate market is constantly changing. If your house is on the market for any length of time (longer than a month or so), you’ll want to revisit all of your decisions regularly. It’s fine to do your homework and set things in motion. But if you house stays on the market without any changes then it will probably stay there for the long haul. Be willing to rethink choices and it might be that much easier to find the right buyer.

Ultimately, selling a house in this market will be a difficult challenge. By avoiding these five mistakes you can increase you odds of getting your home sold soon.

About the Author

By , on Sep 10, 2013
Emily Guy Birken
Emily Guy Birken is a freelance writer, recovering English teacher, and stay-at-home-mom. She lives in Lafayette, Indiana, with her mechanical engineer husband and infant son. Her musings on life and parenting can be found at The SAHMnambulist.

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Leave Your Comment (8 Comments)

  1. Suresh @ Myinvestmentideas.com says:

    Eye opener for people who want to sell their house.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I’m in the process of selling my home and these are great tips. I would absolutely agree with the tip about emotional attachment. I’ve decorated in very neutral colours throughout, not one’s that I would choose but colours that offer a blank canvass to a potential buyer :)

    • Montana Ruark says:

      It is very good that you have noticed an important part about your selling process. It is no longer about you, it is all about the buyer. Using those colors may seem plain and boring, but that doesn’t mean that the room has to be. Use a focal point and extract the colors from your focal point to decorate the room. This will draw attention to a life style instead of a plain room.

  3. Bridget says:

    Just to add to this. Sellers need to declutter their home as well. The rooms will look larger if you clear out some of your things. Also, personal pictures are a no no. Try not to place family portraits all over your walls. You want the buyer to feel as if the home is theirs.

    • Montana Ruark says:

      Great points. De-cluttering your home is a very helpful to a buyer, and if you want to take it a step further, learn how to space plan your home. This will help you prepare each space in a way that shows the buyer how well they can function through out your home.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Ty sister learned the hard way to choose a realtor who specializes in your area. After she had hired someone who was not a local expert, she was stuck in a 6 month contract. It never occurred to us that a neighborhood specialist is the way to go. You’re right – the foot traffic is key.

    • Montana Ruark says:

      Any home owner that is selling in 2013 should not depend on any Realtor to get their home sold. Buyers are searching for 3 things needs, wants, and value. With the ability to search through listings online it is easy to see what you are up against. Find the value in the homes that you are competing with and re-develop your home. Sellers need to take charge.

  5. Sarah Park says:

    Thanks for these very useful tips. I’ve been thinking of selling our house which have not been used for a month now since we just moved out. At first, I didn’t want to because I am still planning to visit this once in a while. But with my hectic schedule, I don’t think I can make it especially now that my kids are going to school.

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