When the seller’s market is hot, all you have to do to sell your house is list it and watch the offers pour in, often way over the asking price. When the market cools because of factors like high mortgage rates, sellers need to be a bit more diligent about putting their best foot forward—and not doing anything that could turn off buyers. Here are ten of the most important mistakes to avoid when selling your home.
1. Pricing your home too high
Overpricing your home can result in buyers not being able to find your home or buyers being turned off by the thought of negotiating. Relying on a trusted real estate agent’s knowledge is the best way to determine an appropriate listing price. They should have a good grasp of the market and your achievable selling price and will take into account comparable homes in your neighborhood and surrounding area and what those homes sold for. It’s better to sell your house for a slightly lower price than risk having it sit it on the market for months on end.
2. Neglecting necessary repairs
Loose door handles, torn window screens, leaky faucets, nicks in the wall—all of these may seem minor, but they convey to potential buyers that you’re not on the ball when it comes to taking care of the house. Worse, it will raise suspicions that larger problems aren’t being addressed. Minor expenses for small repairs can result in a major boost in the selling price and will go a long way toward fostering trust between you and potential buyers.
3. Leaving evidence of water damage and mold
Savvy buyers will be inspecting your ceilings and basement for any hint of water damage or mold as they could be a sign of a much bigger and more expensive problem, such as a leaky roof. Ideally, these defects should be remedied before selling, or they must legally be disclosed to the buyer.
4. Leaving too much clutter
Clutter makes rooms look small and feel claustrophobic. They can also hide the features of your home and distract potential buyers from envisioning the possibilities. For instance, storage space is a major selling point with buyers, but it’s hard for them to see how much there is when your closets and pantries are packed full. Since you’ll eventually be doing so anyway, take the opportunity to begin sorting through furniture and household items that you aren’t intending to take to your new space. Starting this process early will help you both reduce clutter now and save yourself some time later.
5. Personalizing your home too much
Buyers want to envision themselves in your home, not feel like they’re intruding on someone else’s life. So take down the photo of your friends on a ski trip along with the annual family holiday photo that’s taped to the fridge, and remove knickknacks and any artwork that isn’t suitable for a general audience. Think hotel chic when styling rooms—a neutral palette, functional layout, and intentional furniture placement.
6. Ignoring curb appeal
A crumbling porch or unkempt lawn will not make a good first impression to visitors. This is a good time to put that green thumb to use and spend some time weeding the garden and mowing the lawn. You could also consider an outdoor light fixture or two to light up your entryway. And if your front door is peeling, spend twenty dollars on a can of paint to freshen it up.
7. Not addressing off-putting odors
You don’t want buyers getting a whiff of wet dog, mildew, or just overly strong cooking aromas. Your house should smell clean and fresh to make it inviting to any potential buyer. Good real estate agents have their own little tricks for making a home feel cozy including putting sugar cookies in a hot oven or burning a cinnamon-scented candle.
8. Posting marketing photos that aren’t flattering
This cannot be stressed enough: if you aren’t skilled with a camera or don’t have the right kind of lens, hire a professional photographer to take photos of your home. People are visual creatures, and appealing photos of a space are the key to getting them to an in-person showing. Low-quality photos convey to the buyer that you aren’t paying attention to the details. Wide-angle lenses are best for capturing the whole room even when the space is confined, and they make rooms look bigger by exaggerating depth.
9. Making buyers uncomfortable
It’s highly advised that you make alternative plans when you have an open house. Prospective buyers want to visualize themselves in your home, and you being there will hinder that process. In addition, buyers need to feel free to ask real estate agents any pressing questions that could potentially be awkward for the owner to overhear. Camp out at a coffee shop instead, or use that time to run errands.
10. Trying to sell it yourself
There’s a reason real estate agents exist—they have more knowledge and experience than the average person in selling and marketing a house. Though it may be tempting to save that commission fee, the tools and network you will be missing out by going it alone and it may end up costing you more. Reach out to a real estate agent for the best tips and guidance on selling your home successfully.