12 Home-Selling Mistakes You’ll Regret

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Anxious home seller
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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Point2.

We often talk about how buying a home is one of the most complicated transactions you’ll ever make.

But, selling one isn’t much easier, and there are many mistakes first-time sellers might make that can cost them thousands of dollars, not to mention a lot of stress.

From stiff competition to last-minute viewings, there are countless things that a seller needs to keep on top of.

And while you’ll never please everyone, if you avoid the following mistakes, you’ll have a much better chance of persuading buyers that your house can be the home of their dreams.

Let’s start with listing mistakes to avoid.

1. Listing Your Home for the Wrong Price

Unhappy home sellers
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Pricing your home can be tricky, but it’s one of the most important things a seller needs to do. It’s also one of the most common things they get wrong.

Price too high, and you’ll put buyers off, leaving your home languishing on the market for months. Price it too low, and you’ll miss out on thousands of dollars.

It’s best to consult a reputable listing agent familiar with your local market.

They have access to data you’ll struggle to find and can offer sage advice on pricing your home for a quick and profitable sale.

2. Poor Marketing

Unhappy real estate agent
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A perfectly-priced home in excellent condition can still be a struggle to sell if you don’t have a good marketing campaign.

It’s essential to step into the buyer’s shoes and think about how they will search for their new home. Many will look online on reputable real estate platforms.

But there’s more to marketing than showing your property online. An ad with poor-quality photos, or none at all, will most likely be ignored by most buyers.

Typically, a good listing agent will handle all your marketing needs, from staging your home and taking high-quality photos and even video tours to uploading your ad across multiple listing services.

They can also deal with offline marketing options like open home viewings.

3. Skimping on Costs

Home for sale
Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock.com

Keeping costs down is always important, but when listing your home, it doesn’t always work in your favor. Spending a little time and money on research and marketing can yield significant returns.

A good listing agent is well worth their fee, though finding one you can comfortably work with is essential.

Now, let’s move on to house mistakes to avoid.

4. Neglecting To Make Repairs

A couple at an open house
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When purchasing a new home, most buyers are far more inclined to pay more for one in good condition. The last thing they want is to have to carry out extensive repairs.

So, it’s worth getting your home in ship shape before you list it.

Things like a leaky roof or a faulty HVAC system can be costly to repair, but a healthy house will entice more buyers.

5. Going Overboard With Renovations

Couple renovating home
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On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s all too easy to go over the top when renovating your home before selling it.

Things like remodeling the kitchen or bathroom often won’t pay off and can be a poor investment on your part.

In most cases, it’s best to simply clean the house and redecorate any areas that really need it in a neutral scheme. This takes us to our next point …

6. Holding On to Dated or Bold Elements

Orange wall in interior decorating example bright room
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Things like popcorn ceilings and dated wallpaper should typically be removed as most buyers have no interest in them.

Indeed, many may be put off, seeing them as extra elements they’ll need to deal with. With popcorn ceilings, be sure to test for asbestos before you attempt to remove it.

Bold color schemes are another no-no. Remember, bold colors can be great for living with, but a more neutral palette is more likely to sell.

7. Not Cleaning Your Home Properly

Man smelling bad odor
Damir Khabirov / Shutterstock.com

A dirty, smelly, cluttered home is an instant turn-off to anyone who comes to view it, so it’s absolutely essential that you give everything a good clean before you list it.

Indeed, it can be well worth hiring a professional cleaning company.

Likewise, a cluttered home suggests to potential buyers that it lacks storage space, making many walk away and not look back.

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, it’s a good idea to start emptying it off all but the most essential day-to-day items. Keep anything else in storage, allowing buyers to see the available storage space.

A home that smells bad will also be an instant turn-off for buyers. It’s easy to become “nose blind” to your home’s odors, so be sure to ask for a second opinion. Pets, in particular, can leave bad smells, so they should be rehoused elsewhere before viewings.

Rather than masking odors, take time to thoroughly clean anything that smells, such as curtains, carpets and furniture.

8. Forgetting About Curb Appeal

Man mowing weeds in an overgrown lawn
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It’s all too easy to focus on the inside of your home and forget about the outside. However, doing so can cause many buyers to decide not to view your house at all.

An overgrown yard, broken fences or peeling paint can all put buyers off, so it’s well worth spending a bit of time and energy on making the outside of your home look attractive.

Next are seller mistakes to avoid.

9. Becoming Emotionally Involved

Frustrated homebuyer
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A home is an extremely personal space, but when the time comes to sell, it’s essential to learn to detach.

View your home as an asset to sell by removing any personal effects and leaving it as a blank canvas for the new owner to make their own.

If lowball offers come in, it’s easy to take it personally, but the buyer is simply trying to save a bit of cash. Instead of getting upset, make a counteroffer and let the negotiations begin.

If this is something you might struggle with, a good listing agent can really help.

10. Hanging Around During Viewings

Open house
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It can be hard to open your house to strangers, but giving them space is essential. Head out and leave them to it, with your agent available to answer any questions.

If you hang around, it can soon become awkward for buyers, who cannot relax and ask the questions they’d like to.

11. Not Crunching Your Numbers

Worried and stressed senior couple paying bills and working on budget
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Selling your home costs money, but many sellers neglect to do the math, leaving them out of pocket by the end of the transaction. Here are some of the main fees to be aware of:

  • Agent fees: typically 5%-6% of the sale price
  • Legal fees
  • Insurance
  • Moving costs
  • Taxes
  • Utility bills
  • Closing costs

This can all add up to around 10% of the sale price, so it’s important to budget accordingly.

12. Not Reading the Small Print

broke couple unhappy
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A sales contract is a complicated yet legally binding document, so it’s important to know exactly what the terms and conditions are before you sign it.

Once you’ve signed it, you’re legally bound to honor the conditions you’ve agreed to, which can include footing the bill for all repairs, paying the buyer’s closing costs or leaving all your appliances behind.

Go through the contract with a solicitor and only sign it if you agree with the terms and conditions.

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