First-Time Home Sellers Confess Their 4 Biggest Mistakes

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Regretful man at home who feels he made a mistake /

Selling a home for the first time can be challenging. The goal is to strike a balance between getting as much money as you can without pricing yourself out of the market.

Recently, Zillow surveyed those who sold their first home within the past two years and asked them to recount their biggest mistakes. A full 84% of those surveyed say they wish they had done something differently.

Following are the most commonly cited errors. Learning from the mistakes of others might help you the next time you put a property up for sale.

4. Skipping repairs and improvements

Woman painting a wall
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It’s easy to see why sellers would skip maintenance before selling. Who wants to pour money into a home that you soon will depart?

But having your house in tip-top condition gives you a leg up on other sellers, which is particularly valuable in a competitive market.

In the survey, 25% of sellers believe they would have gotten more for their home by completing repairs and renovations. In a press release, Amanda Pendleton, Zillow home trends expert, says:

“Landscaping, interior painting and carpet cleaning are the most commonly completed seller projects for good reason. They boost online curb appeal and send a powerful signal to a buyer that a home is well-maintained.”

Before you decide to spruce up your home, check out “Home Renovations That Add Value to Your House.”

3. Listing at a bad time

a couple wear parkas and shiver on their couch
Lopolo /

In some periods, homes sell almost as soon as they appear on the market. At other times — such as now — it might take longer to complete a sale.

Also, listing your home at certain times of year, such as around the holidays, might make it more challenging to find a buyer.

Among sellers, 1 in 4 wish they had chosen a different time to sell.

When is the optimal time to sell? Zillow says its research shows that, nationwide, the second half of April is your best bet.

2. Neglecting online curb appeal

Home exterior with landscaping.
Artazum /

The first thing a potential buyer sees is the exterior of your home. First impressions are lasting, and if the home looks like it has lacked TLC, it might be difficult to get top dollar in a sale.

And curb appeal extends into the digital domain. Among those who sold a home, 39% think better listing photos could have earned them more cash while 25% wish they had added a virtual tour to their listing.

According to Zillow:

“Listings that also include a 3D home virtual tour or an interactive floor plan get 69% more page views and 80% more saves on Zillow.”

1. Setting the price too low

Unhappy home seller
ZephyrMedia /

Chances are good that no matter what price you get for your home, a nagging voice in the back of your mind will whisper, “You could have gotten more.”

And in fact, the survey revealed that 39% of sellers wish they had set a higher selling price.

However, doing so could backfire. In a press release of the survey findings, Nicole Bachaud, Zillow senior economist, says:

“This spring’s sellers are more likely to regret pricing their home too high. The price their neighbor commanded a year ago may no longer be realistic. They need to adjust their expectations if they want to avoid having their home linger on the market.”

Are you planning to sell a home? Check out the tips in “ Selling Your Home: Here’s How to Create Maximum Curb Appeal.”

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