Like every new challenge in life, the starting point is the hardest, and when it comes to selling a house, things get tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before. Selling a house can be a time-consuming and emotionally challenging situation, where you can expect all kinds of bad comments on your execution; also, what you consider as a valuable home, may seem nothing to some. Thus, they’ll try to offer you less money, and they won’t give in.
What to do if you need to sell a house and don’t want to die trying? If you have no experience and are committed to giving your property the value it deserves and, as a seller, want to avoid as many pitfalls you can, read these 12 mistakes to avoid when selling a house in 2019. New year, new challenges. Check out these next basic tips and make sure to do most things right, so you won’t end up selling your home to the first bidder.
Mistake No.1: Not Hiring an Agent
If this is your first time selling a house and you’re not willing to negotiate, do the paperwork, and take on all the responsibilities that come with the whole process, then we highly recommend you to hire an agent. Yes, they will ask for the 5 or 6% of the sale price for your home, but they will increase your odds of a quick and better sale. Also, if the interaction is not your strength, agents can help tone down the process with potential buyers and eliminate candidates that have zero intention of giving you a decent offer.
But if you think you can sell your home without help, then remember that extensive research is necessary, especially when it comes to recently sold properties in your area and properties currently on the market, so you can determine a just selling price. In addition, you’ll be in charge of your own marketing, and for this, you’ll need to get your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in your geographic area to reach a wide number of buyers; nonetheless, if you’re not determined to do all of this and more, then hiring an agent and a real estate attorney – to help you with transactions and escrow process – might be the best option; but if you don’t need it, congratulations, you may save thousands.
Mistake No.2: Letting emotions control you
Getting too emotional over the single detail or problem that comes up can take you straight into misery lane. To avoid making this mistake and let emotions overtake you, then you need to stop seeing yourself as a home seller, and start thinking you’re a businessperson, one that will take your property surfing through the best bidders. A pure financial perspective is what you need, not any attachment you might have on the home you’re about to sell.
Buyers tend to be emotional too, so if you’re having trouble picturing everything as a pure business activity, you might want to sell them an image or a lifestyle, so you can offer them more than just what’s in front of them. Also, consider making notable remodeling work, so you can see your home as a less familiar environment.
Mistake No.3: Expecting to get your asking price right away
The previous two mistakes are two of the most important things to avoid when selling a home, but now it’s time to get to other types of mishaps, such as expecting to get your asking price. A smart buyer will negotiate and you’ll have to complete the sale by not giving too much, but if something’s clear is that most of the time, you’ll never sell your property at the asking price. Work on a good pricing strategy and how you’re going to stage your home for others.
Mistake No.4: Setting an unrealistic price
Of course, you have to be careful during the pricing process, as this is key. An agent would make a comparable market analysis, or you can even do it yourself with the right guidance and research, and by considering many factors, such as the original price of the property. Don’t be afraid of setting a low price, as this generates multiple offers you can bid the price up.
Mistake No.5: Hiding significant problems
In case you have any problems with the property and you’re hiding it from the world, then a lack of sincerity will be instantly noted by buyers, who would definitely uncover any suspicious detail in the property. Always fix the problems ahead of time or price the house properly and according to flaws you might have on the walls, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Plus, this will give you the chance of avoiding any costly surprises once the home is under contract.
Mistake No.6: Bad real estate photos
Think of it as a bad portfolio; a portfolio is supposed to show your best work in a variety of areas, but if you skimp on property photos, then that would be as if all the work you had in there was only half done. Would you show that to the person that’s about to hire you? Absolutely not. Show the best of your home, get the angles right, and make sure to take the photos in a sunny day with plenty of natural light, so you could showcase “the dream” you’re selling. Hire a professional real estate photographer for better results. A video tour or a 360 degree is also a wonderful idea.
Mistake No.7: Not getting the sale season right
The sale timing is highly important, as it would make the difference in the price you could get. What’s the best month to put a house on sale? In most places, this would be May, specifically, the first half of the month. If you put your home on sale in those specific days, your property can be sold faster than average – two weeks faster – the weather in your city will play an important role as well. The first months of 2019 will be key.
Remember that to avoid capital gains taxes on the sale of your primary residence, you’ll need to have lived in the home for at least two of the last five years.
Mistake No.8: Focusing on the interior and not the exterior
Yes, a potential buyer will make a huge inspection of the interior, and you may need to put a little bit more of an effort in getting everything in order, but this doesn’t mean you have to leave the prepping of the exterior aside. According to Zillow in a Consumer Housing Trends Report of 2018, only 29% of sellers spruced their landscaping before listing. Mow the lawn, clear pathways, trim the bushes and branches, and plant some flowers. These chores will make the exterior of your home look as impeccable as the inside.
Mistake No.9: The closing costs
Many home-sellers make the mistake of forgetting the closing costs, which can be as high as 8 to 10% of the sale price. These costs include commissions, transfer tax, title insurance, escrow fees, attorney’s fees – in case you hired one – advertising costs, escrow fees and Homeowner Association fees (HOA).
Mistake No.10: Taking advice from neighbors
According to WBP Group buyer’s advocate Greville Pabst, the prices move at different speeds and different directions, even within the same street. So, for those people selling in outer suburbs, things are positioned in a better panorama, while the ones selling in the inner suburbs are experiencing falling prices.
This means that no matter what you might hear from people, numbers will always differ. Don’t make the mistake of assuming things are flowing through one river when they could be stalled in a large lake. Nonetheless, a property valuer and regular on The Block said that by the end of 2019, the inner suburbs will leave the outer ring behind and prices will potentially grow.
Mistake No. 11: Ignoring the competition
When it comes to pricing your home, you have to consider the prices of recently sold homes that are similar to your property on sale. This process is all about comparable, or “comps,” which means you should look at how many homes are currently on sale and listed in your area because this is the same process your possible buyers will go through.
Mistake No.12: Limiting showings
It’s not about letting every stranger get into your home to inspect it just because, but about not limiting the showings. Your property needs to be easy to show, and if you have a real estate agent working with you, then you’ll have to cooperate with the time he or she wants to show it. You’ll have to give up a determined time in your home and let it free for showing during a whole afternoon, or maybe go vacationing for a weekend.