The home-selling process is a complex one, and can be full of opportunities for you to come out on top—or for buyers to score the upper-hand. While you can’t predict everything that could botch a sale, there are a few common mistakes you need to avoid.
Mistake #1: Overlooking repairs
Making repairs before selling is a must, or you are guaranteed to lose money. “Things that are safety issues or big-ticket items are always a focus,” says Amy Broghamer, a Certified Residential Specialist and owner of the Amy B. Sells Team with Keller Williams in Cincinnati, Ohio. These include electrical issues, water damage, rotten or chipped flooring, or a leaky roof. Broghamer recommends getting a pre-inspection to uncover necessary repairs that might spook buyers and cause them to lower their offer or back out of the deal.
Mistake #2: Overpricing your home
Buyers are going to compare a sale price to other homes in the area, so your home should be priced competitively. CRS REALTORS® can provide a comparative market analysis to help establish a competitive price. Experienced agents also have their own system for helping you price your home.
Mistake #3: Over-sharing with buyers
Another costly mistake is having too much communication with potential buyers, says Nancy Braam, CRS, with RE/MAX Whatcom County Inc. in Bellingham, Washington. If you are emotionally invested in your home, you may end up giving away too much information. Braam advises that you either make yourself scarce during showings or think carefully about what you disclose to buyers.
“Think of it this way: anything you disclose about your motivation is asking the buyer to offer less,” Braam advises. “Staying out of the way is the best way to preserve what negotiation advantage you have.”
Instead, have an experienced CRS agent there to represent your interests and negotiate for you.
Mistake #4: Poor staging
Both a cluttered home and an empty home will be unappealing to buyers, so proper staging and curb appeal are important. “Finishing off minor handyman items, like replacing rotten trim and adding a fresh coat of paint, go a long way toward a quick sale at the highest price possible,” says Danni Springfield, CRS, ABR, Lead Agent with The Springfield Group of Keller Williams Legacy in San Antonio, Texas.
A majority of buyers are shopping for homes online these days, so Springfield’s team brings in professional staging and photography services.
Mistake #5: The wrong attitude
This includes both patience and setting expectations too high. Not every prospective buyer will submit a bid—some are just window-shopping or are interested in a nearby home. Remembering that browsers are part of the home-selling process will help keep disappointment at bay.
It’s also important to remember that once you do receive an offer, you should take it seriously. “When we list the house, we should never think of it as a ‘first’ offer, but as potentially the only offer. That way we treat each offer with the respect it deserves,” says Kim Laforet, CRS, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood in Lansing, Michigan.