6 Home Selling Tips — Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Emily Farber
Emily Farber
Published on February 17, 2020

If you’re planning to sell your house, grab a copy of my home seller’s guide here. It’s free and full of helpful advice.

Tips and Tricks

These home selling tips will guide you guide you in the
right direction by pointing out mistakes to void while selling your home.

  1. Prepare the House Properly. Of all the home selling tips is an important one that should not be ignored. The condition of your home needs to impress the buyers from the outside in. When a buyer pulls up to your house, is the curb appeal on point? Are the trees and bushes trimmed? Is the grass tidy? Are the flowers charming? Approaching the house, is the address visible? Could the numbers be updated to a trendy new style? Is the entryway clean and welcoming? Is the front door sharp? Does it need fresh paint? Inside the house, does it smell fresh and odor free? Smells are a big turn off for buyers. You may be immune to smelling your own home’s smells…ask an honest friend is he or she can smell your pet, cooking, etc. Is the house clean, clean, clean? Is the house clutter free? You have to pack, so start early. Empty out those closets to the bare minimum. Remove your personal items like photographs. Buyers need to visualize your house as THEIR house, and that’s really hard to do when it still looks like your house. Take care of any minor repairs you’ve been ignoring, such as painting tired walls, patching that hole the doorknob put in the drywall, replacing a broken light fixture, recaulking the tubs and sinks, etc. You have ONE chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one. Always be “show ready.” The day you leave your home a mess is the day you’ll get surprise showing requests when you don’t have time to run home and tidy up.
  2. Price the House Appropriately. Over-pricing a house is a huge no-no and is a big turn off to many buyers. If you do over-price your house you may be totally missing your ideal buyer. If the house is priced too high, those buyers may not know it is available because it’s not going to show up on their home search, which is almost always constrained by price. Many other buyers won’t look at a house they believe to be over-priced, and if you’re lucky enough to get them through your door for a showing, they’ll just think to themselves, “I’ll wait for the price to drop.” Guess what happens then? They forget about your house because there’s always new listings popping off to distract them and pull them away. You house becomes old news and you become “those unrealistic sellers.” YOU may think about your house and getting it sold every day, all the time, but the buyers ARE NOT thinking about your house if your property is over-priced. If I was ranking home selling tips, pricing appropriately would be at the top of the list.
  3. Availability. Don’t be restrictive on showing requests. Whenever it is humanly possible approve the showing. Don’t make certain times and certain days off limit. I know it’s hard, but buyers have a short attention span and will move on to other options if you make it hard for them to look at your house. Denying a showing request creates a poor impression, and you should be all about creating a great first impression. While we’re on the topic of showings, DON’T be present during the showing. Don’t stay. Please. If you have to go sit in your car that’s parked down the street, do that. Being present during a showing makes buyers very uncomfortable and it becomes next to impossible for them to envision the home as their own. Plus, you open yourself up to saying something you shouldn’t that could negatively impact your negotiation power down the road.
  4. Be willing to negotiate. Your home is only worth what buyers are willing to pay. It’s not worth what the neighbor’s house sold for. It’s not worth “what you need” to get out of it. It’s not necessarily worth a sum of what you put into it plus sweat equity. The market will speak, and you need to listen if you want to sell it. Often, the first offer will be your best offer. The reason for that is a buyer who is willing to jump right away is often a buyer who has been looking and waiting for the right house to come along, and when your house comes up for sale that “primed and waiting buyer” is going to be very serious about making you an offer that sticks.
  5. Be realistic about making repairs. While you may feel that your home is “fine” because you’ve been living in it, to a buyer, your home is a huge risk that they’re paying an enormous sum of money to assume. Being unwilling to complete reasonable repair requests opens you up for the buyer to back out and leave you back at square one having lost valuable time on the market.
  6. Hire a skilled Realtor®. You need a Realtor® who is going to effectively market your home to the largest pool of available buyers. A Realtor® sells an image, a dream…not just four walls and a roof.  High quality, professional photos are going to be the first impression, essentially the first showing of your house. If an agent tries to market a home with cell phone photos or ugly do-it-yourself DSLR photos, see him or her to the door and call someone else. In addition to professional photographs, you’re going to want carefully crafted marketing materials and a social media campaign. Your agent will also help you negotiate, manage the stages of the transaction, and perhaps most importantly, keep you from tripping over your emotions. A neutral third party keeps things steady when the buyers and sellers are operating from a point of emotion, not logic.

Following these home selling tips and avoiding these common seller mistakes should help you come up with the winning formula to create market buzz, get buys through your door and get your home sold for top dollar!

Keep the main focal points of the house as tidy as possible so surprise showings don’t throw you for a loop!
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