A house is the most expensive item you’ll ever sell, and mistakes are costly. There are so many hurdles to jump, and one misstep can bomb your finances and house sale. Here are eight common house selling oversights you’ll want to avoid.
Mistake #1: Pricing It Wrong
Pricing a property is tricky. If the price is too high, buyers will not touch it because it’s out of their budget. If the price is too low, they’ll think something’s wrong with the house, or you’ll miss out on thousands of dollars.
Do not trust online sites, like Zillow or Redfin, to accurately value your property. These sites lack the information necessary to estimate its value. Instead, ask your real estate agent for a comparative market analysis that shows how much properties like yours are going for in your area.
Your realtor should be able to suggest a fair price. It may be a good idea, though, to get an inspection and deduct repair costs.
Mistake #2: Not Expecting House Selling Costs
It is a big mistake to assume that selling a house does not cost you money. There are all sorts of fees that you, as the seller, are responsible for, including:
- Real estate agent commission fees
- Closing costs
- Seller concessions
- Home inspection repairs
- Staging costs
- Moving expenses
And, of course, the cost of your next home is a factor too. If you are not prepared to pay these expenses, you’ll have trouble making a profit or even breaking even with your sale.
Mistake #3: Selling It by Yourself
Going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route is not impossible, but it’s a lot of work. You may do it to avoid paying commission, but the truth is, a good realtor is worth their weight in gold.
A good real estate agent handles all sorts of responsibilities, including:
- Performing real estate market analysis;
- Helping price the property;
- Listing it on the MLS;
- Running advertising campaigns;
- Answering phone calls and emails;
- Scheduling appointments;
- Hosting showings; and
- Managing communications with buyers
If you sell FSBO, in addition to these tasks, you’ll be dealing with buyer-requested repairs, possibly shopping for your next house, packing and moving. Spreading yourself too thin can jeopardize your sale.
Mistake #4: Bad Listing and Advertising
Buyers today shop for houses online. In fact, more than half of last year’s shoppers found their new home through online listings.
A bad listing, improperly worded and featuring bad photos, will lose buyer interest right away. Moreover, if you do not take advantage of online and offline advertising, you miss the opportunity to reach more potential buyers, and thus miss out on a better offer.
Mistake #5: Failing to Winterize and Perform Maintenance
The worst thing a homeowner can do is neglect to care for their property. As long as you own it, and that includes while it’s listed for sale, you need to perform weekly, monthly, and annual maintenance to keep the property functioning and safe.
Winter care is especially important. Perhaps one of the most common incidents is frozen pipes bursting and flooding the house. So make sure your property, whatever the season, is ready and will pass a home inspection.
Mistake #6: Skimping on Staging
Buyers want to envision themselves living in the house. Too much clutter impedes that vision.
Staging has a dramatic impact during walkthroughs. If done right, it can showcase how spacious rooms are and give buyers an idea of what it’d be like if they lived there.
Whatever you do, do not show an empty house. If you’ve already moved, rent furniture or hire a professional stager to model the home.
Mistake #7: Failing to Clean
How would you feel if you went to an open house, and the bathrooms had soap scum, dishes were piled in the kitchen sink, and belongings were strewn about the rooms? You’d no doubt be put off, right?
Keep the house clean to make a great first impression every time.
Mistake #8: Signing a Bad Contract
You must be well-informed of the details in your real estate contract. Know your rights and responsibilities before signing, and do not be afraid to go over it with your realtor or a lawyer. If you blindly sign, you may be agreeing to a bad deal that costs you thousands of dollars.
Selling to an Investor, aka The Best Decision You’ll Ever Make
If you want to sell fast and avoid all house selling issues, consider selling it to a real estate investor. Most investors offer cash for a property “as-is,” be it damaged, neglected, or vacant. They do not deal in traditional sale warranties or inspections, but pay all closing costs and additional sale fees, actually saving you money.
Moreover, you choose the closing date, which can be in several months, 30 days or less. You’ll enjoy a quick closing and maybe use your cash proceeds to buy a new home.