Selling your home can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before. At times, it may feel like an invasion of privacy because strangers will come into your home and poke around. They will criticise a place that has probably become more than just four walls and a roof to you, and to top it all off, they will offer you less money than you think your home is worth.
- Keep your emotions in check and stay focused on the business aspect of selling your home.
- Hiring an agent may cost more in commission, but it can take a lot of the guesswork out of selling.
- Prepare for the sale, don’t skimp on the visuals in your listing, and disclose any issues with the property.
It’s easy to get emotional about selling your home, especially your first one. You spent a great deal of time and effort to find the right one, saved up for your down payment and furniture, and created many memories. People generally have trouble keeping their emotions in check when it comes time to say goodbye.
Think it’s impossible? It’s not. When you decide to sell your home, start thinking of yourself as a businessperson and salesperson rather than just the homeowner. In fact, forget altogether that you’re the homeowner. By looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you’ll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property.
Not Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Although real estate agents command a hefty commission—usually 3% to 5% of the sale price of your home—it’s probably not a great idea to try to sell your home on your own, especially if you haven’t done it before. It can be tempting, especially if you’ve seen all those “for sale by owner” signs on people’s front lawns or on the Internet. So does it pay to hire an agent?
A good agent generally has your best interests at heart. They will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home, increasing your odds of a quick sale. An agent can also help tone down the emotion of the process by interacting with potential buyers and eliminating tire kickers who only want to look at your property but have no intention of making an offer.
Your agent will also have more experience negotiating home sales, helping you get more money than you could on your own. If any problems crop up during the process, an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly. This means there won’t be any delays or unforeseen legal ramifications in the deal.
After reading all this, should you really hire an agent? Only you can decide.
Setting an Unrealistic Price
Whether you’re working with an agent or going it alone, setting the right asking price is key. Remember the comparative market analysis you or your agent did when you bought your home to determine a fair offering price? Buyers will do this for your home, too, so as a seller you should be one step ahead of them.
You may think your home is worth more, but remember to set a realistic price based on comparable homes in the area.
Expecting the Asking Price
Any smart buyer will negotiate, and if you want to complete the sale, you may have to play ball. Most people want to list their homes at a price that will attract buyers while still leaving some breathing room for negotiations—the opposite of the underpricing strategy described above. This may work, allowing the buyer to feel like they are getting good value while allowing you to get the amount of money you need from the sale.
Of course, whether you end up with more or less than your asking price will likely depend not just on your pricing strategy but also on whether you’re in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market and how well you have staged and modernised your home.
Selling During Winter Months
Believe it or not, there really is a right time to sell during the year. Winter, especially around the holidays, is typically a slow time of year for home sales. People are busy with social engagements, and the cold weather across much of the country makes it more appealing just to stay home. Because fewer buyers are likely to be looking, it may take longer to sell your home, and you may not get as much money. However, you can take some consolation in knowing that while there may not be as many active buyers, there also won’t be as many competing sellers, which can sometimes work to your advantage.
You may be better off waiting. Barring any mitigating circumstances that may force you to sell during the winter or holidays, consider listing when the weather begins to warm up. People are usually ready and willing to purchase a home when it’s warmer.
Hiding Major Problems
Think you can get away with hiding major problems with your property? Any problem will be uncovered during the buyer’s inspection. You have three options for dealing with any issues. Either fix the problem ahead of time, price the property below market value to account for it, or list the property at a normal price and offer the buyer a credit to fix the problem.
Remember: if you don’t fix the problem in advance, you may eliminate a fair number of buyers who want a turnkey home. Having your home inspected before listing is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises after the home is under contract. Further, many states have disclosure rules.Some require sellers to disclose known problems about their homes if buyers ask directly, while others decree that sellers must voluntarily disclose certain issues.
Not Preparing for the Sale
Sellers who do not clean and stage their homes throw money down the drain. Don’t worry if you can’t afford to hire a professional. There are many things you can do on your own. Failing to do these things can reduce your sales price and may also prevent you from getting a sale at all. If you haven’t attended to minor issues, such as a broken doorknob or dripping faucet, a potential buyer may wonder whether the house has larger, costlier issues that haven’t been addressed either.
Have a friend or an agent (someone with a fresh pair of eyes) point out areas of your home that need work. Because of your familiarity with the home, you may be immune to its trouble spots. Decluttering, cleaning thoroughly, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and getting rid of any odours will also help you make a good impression on buyers.
Should I Stage My House?
Staging a home can lead to quicker sales and higher home prices. However, not everyone needs to hire a professional staging service. Just taking a few steps like cleaning and decluttering can have a significant impact on a home’s sale and will need to be done before moving regardless of the sale.
Should You Sell Your Home for Cash?
Selling a home for cash is a quick way to avoid the hassle and stress of staging a house, showing it, making repairs, and juggling competing offers. However, most cash buyers won’t buy a home for more than 75% of the home’s value, minus any anticipated fixing-up expenses.
Selling a home for cash is easier, but at a significant financial cost that should be considered.
Learning how to sell a house is crucial. Make sure you prepare mentally and financially for less-than-ideal scenarios, even if you don’t make any of these mistakes. The house may sit on the market for far longer than you expect, especially in a declining market. If you can’t find a buyer in time, you may end up trying to pay two mortgages, having to rent your home out until you can find a buyer, or, in dire situations, in foreclosure. However, if you avoid the costly mistakes listed here, you’ll be a long way toward putting your best foot forward and achieving that seamless, lucrative sale for which every home seller hopes.