5 Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid in 2017

Some homes sell within a matter of weeks while others languish on the market for a year or longer. With most owner-listed homes, this difference can be attributed to common mistakes sellers make, such as not having realistic expectations or failing to prepare the home before listing it for sale. If you’re planning to list your home for sale in 2017, make sure you avoid these mistakes that can sink your sale or knock thousands off your bottom line.

#1. Don’t price too high
The single-greatest mistake you can make as a seller is pricing your home too high. Your home’s value is determined by the market, or what someone is willing to pay. As much as you love the carpet in the master bedroom, the backyard patio you designed yourself, or the walk-in shower, potential buyers may want to change these things to suit their own tastes. The memories you have made, the amount of money you put into a home, what you owe on a mortgage, and what you think your home should be worth are not factors in determining the home’s value.

If you think pricing high is a smart strategy to get the price you want, think again. There are many risks that come with pricing too high:

  • Wasting your early days on the market. Most showings occur during the first 30 days on the market. If the home is priced too high, buyers will ignore it. The longer it sits, the more likely buyers will be to assume they are in a better negotiating possible and you will likely receive lowball offers.
  • Buyers won’t see your home. Most buyers start their home search online. With real estate websites, buyers can easily narrow their search criteria to homes within their budget. If your home is priced too high, you may be screening yourself out of search results.
  • You will end up chasing the market. When a home is listed too high, sellers often end up making incremental price drops without every catching up with the local market. All the while, your listing will become stale.
  • You may face appraisal issues. Even if you can find a buyer willing to offer you the asking price, you will still need to get the home appraised for the buyer to get a mortgage. The appraiser will use recently sold homes in your area to determine your home’s value. If the appraiser doesn’t agree that your home is worth the sales price, the seller will be unable to get a mortgage without paying the difference out of pocket.

Pricing your home correctly is part art and part science. Part of your home’s market value can be determined using comparable sales in your area, but other factors may be considered, including your home’s condition and location, demand in your area, and market movement. Your real estate agent can help you choose a pricing strategy that’s designed to sell your home quickly without leaving money on the table.

If you’re thinking of pricing your home above your agent’s recommendations, it may help to take a step back and consider your reasons for overpricing.

#2. Don’t sell your home with low-quality pictures
With most buyers, your online listing is your chance to make a good first impression. Home listings with just one picture or low-quality pictures that are blurry, dark, or taken at bad angles can turn away buyers quickly. While you don’t want your photos to be over-edited and dishonest, they should still show your home in the best possible light. Here are some of the biggest mistakes you can avoid with your home’s listing photos.

#3. Don’t skip necessary repairs
While you don’t need to undergo major renovations or repairs before you list your home, it’s a good idea to take care of as many problems as possible. This will ensure your home is showing at its best. When buyers walk through your home and notice problems like crumbling steps, windows that don’t open, and missing trim, they are likely to see the problems as bigger than they are. Most buyers don’t want to buy your unfinished projects; they want to buy a home in move-in ready condition.

When determining which projects will be most important to increase your sales price or sell your home faster, ask yourself these questions. You can also ask your agent for advice.

#4. Don’t overpay for a real estate professional
A lot of work goes into selling a home, but that doesn’t mean skilled representation should cost you an arm and a leg. The typical real estate agent commission is 6% of the home’s selling price. This 6% is split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent, but it’s paid completely by the seller.

There are many ways to save money on your agent’s commission and walk away from your sale with more money. You may want to negotiate an incentive — such as 20% more commission — for selling the home over asking price with less in commission for getting less than you’re asking. You can also try using a platform like Upnest that connects agents and sellers. This type of system allows agents to compete for your listing so you can compare offers and select the one that’s best for you.

#5. Not staging your home
Selling your home empty or trying to sell a cluttered home can both be detrimental. Even simple staging of your home can highlight it’s best features — like a bay window or beautiful fireplace — while helping potential buyers feel at home. According to several studies, staging can help you sell your home faster and for more money on average. If you are moving before you list, consider working with a home staging company to rent furniture. Remember: less is more. Focus on giving each space in your home a purpose without clutter.

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Adam Richards

About Adam Richards

Adam Richards is a semi-retired business professional originally from Bangor, Maine. He spent the majority of his career in sales and marketing where he rose to the marketing lead of a Fortune 1000 company. He then moved on to helping people as a career counselor that specifically helped bring families to self-sufficiency through finding them rewarding careers. He has now returned to Bangor for his retirement and spends his free time writing. This blog will be about everything he learned throughout his career. He'll write on career, workplace, education and technology issues as well as on trends, changes, and advice for the Maine job market and its employers.