Selling a home can be difficult. Keeping your place ready to show strangers at a moment’s notice is incredibly inconvenient. Plus, there’s a lot of administrative work to do to get buyers in the door.
Whether you’re a first-time home seller or have decades of real estate experience, avoiding these 8 common mistakes will improve your results and minimize the hassles of selling your home.
1. Not using a real estate professional.
Real estate law and purchase transactions can be complicated and time-consuming. Working with a seasoned, full-time real estate professional be invaluable. A good agent can alleviate a lot of stress by completing a wide range of tasks, including paperwork, marketing, phone calls with vendors, appointments with buyers, and negotiating contracts.
Interview several agents to find someone who’s been successful in your area, can clearly articulate a marketing plan, and makes you feel comfortable and confident in the ability to sell your home in a reasonable amount of time.
2. Not making needed repairs.
Since most offers to buy your home will be contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection, it’s wise to make needed repairs before putting it on the market. Even small issues — such as a leaky faucet, chipping paint, mildew on an exterior door or old water stains — can turn into roadblocks that slow down or kill a potential sale.
Consider spending a few hundred dollars on your own inspection and find out what small or large problems should be addressed sooner rather than later. This can help you get a higher selling price and close a deal faster.
3. Forgetting about curb-appeal.
Consider the first impression a buyer will have as he or she drives up to your listing and approaches your front door for the first time. Curb appeal draws buyers in, helps maintain their interest and sets your home apart from the competition.
Keep your landscaping and lawn well-manicured 24/7. Your driveway, exterior porches, windows and exterior walls must be clean. Unless you’re willing to discount a home’s price well below market value, prospective homebuyers generally won’t want to buy a house that doesn’t appear well-kept or needs a lot of work.
4. Keeping too much clutter.
Before your home goes on the market, use staging techniques to make it as attractive as possible. This might include refreshing worn out entrance mats, wilted house plants and outdated furnishings. You might rearrange or remove furniture to make spaces feel more open and inviting.
Try to create a soothing space that allows buyers to visualize their own lifestyle in the home, not yours. Minimize clutter, such as family photos, quirky art and collectibles in every room and on every surface so it doesn’t distract or turn off potential buyers. Clean up, simplify, and depersonalize your home as if it were a model home, because that’s what it needs to be while it’s on the market.
5. Not cleaning up storage areas.
Storage space is a sought-after feature, so expect buyers to look in your closets, storage rooms and garages. If they’re jam-packed with boxes and clutter, these areas will look less appealing and smaller than they really are.
Tidy up and get rid of unwanted items by donating them, having a yard sale, trashing them or using an off-site storage unit.
6. Using bad photos.
Most homebuyers start looking for a property online or in local home magazines — so the images of your home make a powerful first impression. Make sure they accentuate your home’s best features, amenities and selling points.
Consider hiring a home stager or decorator to help you make your home look its best for pictures and showings. After you’ve made necessary upgrades, improved curb appeal and depersonalized the interior spaces, it’s time to use a professional photographer to take high-quality photos in the best light.
7. Pricing too high.
Putting a competitive listing price on your home is one of the most important tips to sell it in a reasonable amount of time. While you might be tempted to start high to see what happens, overpricing can be a bad strategy.
Lean on your real estate professional or hire a licensed appraiser to help you set the best price. After a home sits on the market for an extended period, it gets stale and may not get the attention it deserves.
8. Sticking around during showings.
As inconvenient as it can be to leave your home every time a buyer wants to see it, don’t linger during showings and open houses. Buyers may feel awkward or intrusive and may rush through.
Give your potential buyers plenty of space to tour at their own pace and imagine living in your home and neighborhood.