5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Selling Your Home | Brian Merrick

There are few situations that are as stressful as trying to sell the home you live in – especially if you need to sell it in order to advance with the purchase of your next home. There are so many challenges in selling your home – and many, many pitfalls to avoid. It is easy to make a mistake that can derail the entire home-selling process. On the other hand, successfully selling your home feels not only victorious, but fulfilling. You are advancing the lives not only of yourself and your family, but of those purchasing your home to build their life and family in turn.

In order to make the process of selling your home as smooth and successful as possible, you should work to avoid these five home-selling mistakes:


1. Don’t be Too Emotional

One common mistake that sellers make is to make emotional decisions.  You will have, obviously, a strong emotional attachment to the home you are selling. Think of the memories you’ve made there. Maybe it’s the first home you bought with your spouse, or the home where you brought home your babies as you started your family. Maybe it’s the house you bought on your own when you got your dream job. The house has hosted celebrations, holidays, and been your safe harbor through even your toughest of times. Obviously, you care deeply about what happens to your home.

Unfortunately, prospective buyers won’t have these emotional ties to the home. Furthermore, you cannot increase the price of the home to reflect the emotional investment you’ve made in it. Be wary not to turn down an offer because you feel that your home is worth more. Likewise, don’t turn away a prospective buyer if you don’t think they’re good enough for the house.

If you want to sell your home and move on to a new one, you need to look at the proceedings with the cool detachment of a business exchange. In the end, no matter how much you love your home, that’s exactly what the sale of the house will be. If you feel that you are unable to do this, a good idea would be to hire a real estate agent to help you.

2. Setting Unrealistic Goals (or Prices)

Home buying is a long and nuanced process. If you have unrealistic goals, or list your home at an unrealistic price, you will only make things more difficult and drawn-out than they need to be.

This obviously does not mean that you shouldn’t expect the most out of the sale of your home. Research the market, run comparable recent sales, and go over the timeline of events with your realtor. Do you absolutely need a certain minimum price or sell-by date? That’s fine – but plan for these contingencies by giving yourself enough time and investing in your home with updates, cleaning, and preparation.

If you set an unrealistic timeline or a price that is far too high for the worth of your home or neighborhood, you run the risk of not being able to sell your home at all. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Pursue your dreams and plan for success.


3. Not Preparing Your Home for Sale

Part of planning for success when selling your home includes preparing your home for sale. Prospective buyers will be coming to your home, walking through it, judging whether it will suit their needs. Therefore you need to make your home as welcoming, attractive, and neutral as possible. You can accomplish this by fixing, cleaning, and decorating appropriately.

Fixing – To begin, fix any obvious or glaring problems with your house. Many buyers will not want to risk homes that are shown with obviously flaws – if they can see these problems, what must be lurking in the places they can’t see? Take a few moments to visit a local hardware store to obtain paint and patching materials to make sure the walls are in good shape, the cabinets are all tightened and in working order, and the plumbing works. There’s nothing more unappealing than seeing a house whose toilets won’t flush! Alternatively, consider hiring a handyman to make small and necessary repairs.

Cleaning – Make sure you clean your home. Dirt and grime can be immediate turn-offs for prospective buyers. Take a weekend – or two, to clean your home. Clean the bathrooms and the kitchen, dust and declutter. And then, once the house is spotless, it’s even more critical to keep it that way. You want your home to feel welcoming and promising to all those visitors who may want to purchase it.

Decorating– Finally, make sure the decor is neutral. If you decorate using your specific tastes, it is possible you could turn off potential buyers with different tastes. Decorate in soft neutral colors, take down personal family photographs if possible, and make an effort to keep the home inviting and calming. This will make prospective buyers feel welcomed while leaving the space as a bit of a blank slate in which your buyers can imagine decorating themselves!


4. Not Negotiating

Even though you set a reasonable price, don’t feel that you’re not allowed to negotiate – or have your realtor negotiate on your behalf. Once you know that someone wants to buy your home, make sure you protect yourself by getting the best possible circumstances and the best possible price. You and your buyer have a symbiotic relationship: each has something the other needs! Make sure that both your and their needs are met. Hiring a real estate agent can help prevent the buyers’ taking advantage of you by offering too little or demanding too much work or improvement from you in return.


5. Try to go it Alone

Hiring a real estate agent is the smartest thing you can do for yourself in selling your home. A real estate agent is a trained, licensed professional who will work with your best interests in heart. They adhere to a code of ethics and have the experience needed to make sure that your home sells quickly and for a good price.

A few tasks that you can expect a realtor to handle for you include:

  • negotiating on your behalf
  • taking care of the legal and financial paperwork
  • reviewing all documents from the buyers for potential pitfalls

While you will have to pay a small fee for their services, know that they won’t get paid unless your home sells, which makes them the most motivated player on your team. Hiring a real estate agent will essentially make the other pitfalls and mistakes discussed null and void!

If you are planning on selling your home, make sure you take care to protect yourself. You love your home, but you’re ready to move on – make sure that you get the best deal and the quickest possible sale in tandem. Your future – and your dreams – await.


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