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.
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.
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.