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Selling Your House: 14 Mistakes To Avoid

Mistakes To Avoid When Selling A House

Selling your house can be a roller coaster ride of physical and emotional stress. But it’s no excuse to commit mistakes that’ll come in the way of the sale or put you at a loss.

Selling your most valuable property should bring you joy from knowing you sold at a worthy price. 

In this detailed article, you’ll learn about the mistakes you should avoid when selling a house and how to fix them.


Table of Contents

Mistake 1: Attaching Emotions To The House

Home Seller Making Mistake Of Attaching Emotions

For every homeowner, selling the home where you’ve lived unforgettable memories and probably started a family can be difficult. 

But you should keep those emotions from getting in the way of a successful sale. In fact, it evokes other mistakes that I’ll discuss later in this article, like pricing too high or staying back during showings. 

How To Deal With This Seller Mistake

Cold as it may sound, business is business when you’re selling your home. You can’t let your emotions lead when you’re setting price of your property or accepting offers. Buyers also want maximum value for their money, or else your house may spun cobwebs while sitting on the market — if you overhype it’s worth.

One way to set a competitive price is to request a comparative market analysis from your realtor. The CMA will compare your home to similar houses that were recently sold in your neighborhood. In exchange for the report, your agent may ask for a contract to sell your house.

Another way to deal with emotions when selling your house is to zero your mind as businessman. And treat potential buyers like the new owners.

Alternatively, you can request a free CMA report online, if you only need to know the estimate or are selling to a cash buyer. The drawback is the report is usually less accurate than one from an agent with personal judgment.


Mistake 2: Taking Unprofessional Photos

Showing Good and Poor Listing Photos

As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why the quality of photos you upload in your listing will play a huge role the caliber of buyers who send in offers.

Countless listings stay unfairly long on the MLS because of shady photos the seller took with their smartphone or cheap camera.

How To Deal With This Mistake When Selling Your House

Get a professional photographer with experience in the real estate industry to take photos of your property.

And it’s not just for show too. Reports show that homes with kickass listing photos sell 32 percent faster than with low-quality ones. It’s even more assured if your home is in the 200,000 to 1 million range. You can see a profit of more than 11,000 from this obvious investment.


Mistake 3: No Insurance

Don't Risk Selling Your House Without Insurance Coverage

It’s easy to make this mistake, especially if the house is vacant during the period of sale. Most homeowners insurance policies will not cover your home if you’re not living in it, which lives you exposed. Automatically, countless homeowners stop paying for insurance when they’re close to selling, but this can prove to be a costly mistake.

A freak storm or viewer damaging something on the property could set you back thousands of dollars instead of a couple of hundred bucks if you had insurance. While the chances are slim, it’s unwise to your property — worth thousands or millions — to chance.

How To Avoid This Mistake When Selling Your House

Get A Vacant Home Insurance

Your home becomes vacant if you’re away for more than 30 days. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, buy a vacant home insurance package (VHI).

Here are some damages a VHI package covers: 

  • Fire. 
  • Natural disasters.
  • Leaky pipes. 
  • Arson.
  • Vandalism.

As you can imagine, they can be catastrophic if you’re not at home to handle the situation. Imagine a small pipe leak completely flooding your house — destroying furniture and appliances. 

That’s right. It’s won’t be a joyful scene. 

However, to qualify for a VHI your home must appear like someone’s living in it. 

At the end of the day, you may not have a reason to make any of these claims. But prevention is better than repair.

Still Shop Around For Quotes

Start by asking your current insurance provider how they handle this sort of coverage. They may offer additional coverage to your existing policy or a separate policy. Compare their offer with quotes from 2-3 insurance companies.

But don’t focus blindly on monthly costs when you’re comparing. Other factors like coverage limit and premium can also make a huge difference.

Hold Out Till You Close The Deal

Most VHI packages cost more than double the price of regular homeowner’s insurance. So, unless leaving your house vacant before closing is inevitable, consider staying till the deal is done.


Mistake 4: Hiding Damages And Defects

Hiding damages on your home is distasteful and may cost you more than the problem you’re concealing. Plus, it’s a criminal act.

If a buyers figures out that you covered warped flooring with a rug or painted over water-stained walls, a buyer can sue you. Even  even you’ve closed the sale. 

How To Deal With This Home Selling Mistake 

Disclose All Material Defects

Make a list of all the defects you’re aware of in the house including minor and major issues. Anything from sliding doors with faulty rollers, ant infestation, to a leaky roof.

Buyers will appreciate your honesty and know early on if they can live with these issues. It will save both your time if they were discovered during the buyer’s inspection instead.

Again, never mask the defects. Sooner or later, the buyer will discover the cover-up and you’ll not only pay for repairs but also the stress of facing a legal panel.

Sell Your House To House Buying Companies

Cash for houses companies like Cash for Michigan Houses will buy your house regardless of its defects. You’ll fill out a form to supply information about your house and they’ll reach out to you within a day.

If all goes well, some companies send a representative to assess your house’s condition. Finally, they close the sale in as fast as a week and you’re paid in cash.


Mistake 5: Not Staging The House

It’s funny how many sellers fail to stage their house despite all the numbers in its favor. Only 28 percent of agents stage a seller’s home. Meanwhile, the NAR shows that homeowners can gain 5-15% return on investment (ROI) when they hire professional home stagers. Staging is a professional preparation of your house to attract the highest number of potential buyers. Real estate experts and agents agree it helps sell faster and for a higher price.

The company stages the house with furniture to help buyers picture themselves living in the house, even if it’s a vacant house.

You should employ every upselling tactic to sell a property as valuable as your house.

How To Deal With This Home-Selling Mistake

Hire A Staging Company

You can find staging companies online or through referrals from your agent or a loved one. The average staging service costs about $400, but prices vary by region and size of the property.


Mistake 6. Setting A Price From Fantasy Land

Landlord Hoping to Sell His House At An Unrealistic Price

A major issue with emotional sellers is setting a price too high. And it makes the make your house sit for too long on the market.

How To Deal With This Home-Selling Mistake

Get A Comparative Market Analysis

Get a comparative analysis from your real estate agent. The report will compare prices of similar houses that have sold recently in your area to give your fair market value. With these statistics, you can set a competitive price for your house.

Start A Bidding War

Sometimes, setting an asking price below the FMV could start a bidding war. Eventually, buyers will make offers above the asking price and closer to your intended price — without haggling.


Mistake 7: Selling At The Wrong Time

Believe it or not, there are right and wrong times to sell your house. And if you choose to sell at any time, your house may stay on the MLS for many months or only attract lowball offers. In theory, this will be putting up your house for sale during winter.

How To Deal With This Seller Mistake

Don’t Sell During Winter Months

A real estate broker at Codwell Banker Reality says December and August see the fewest sales. So you might want to steer clear of those months.

Sure, markets vary from time to time and place to place. But it’s been proven that the above-stated periods yield positive results.

Fall is also a bad season as results have shown a decline in average premium by up to 50% starting from September. One reason that happens is that families with kids would’ve found a home to accommodate their school-aged kids.

If you’re not worried about when you close the deal, then you can list the house anytime that suits you. But remember, you have to act like a salesman, not an emotion-ridden homeowner.

Pick Housing Landmark Dates

Zillow did some research and came up with some of the best times of the year to sell a house. March is considered the best month to list for a quick sale and September (specifically after Labor Day) is the worst month. But if you’re all about maximizing profit, wait till July.

They also found Thursday is the best day of the week to sell a house, with a 1.5% to sell faster and over the asking price. Homes listed on the weekend, however, are more likely to sell below the asking price.

Finally, spring is the best season for home sales. Armed with tax refunds, ice-free roads, and kid’s about to go on summer break, buyers hit the markets with high hopes and in numbers. 

Check The Best Time To Sell In Your Locale

All the above landmark dates I’ve listed sound like a thing of zodiac signs, you might be right. While these trends are factual, they’re mostly national data not local.

Location, as you know it, is the pillar that holds the real estate market. And, fortunately, you can assess your local market trends with Zillow’s Owner Dashboard. It’s an artificial intelligence tool that suggests the best month to sell in your area using sales trends of houses sold in your area on Zillow’s database.

All you have to do is input your residential address and compare results. It’ll show you what your house can sell for now and at a later date (day, week, or month) for a quick sale or above-list price.


Mistake 8: Staying During Showings

Nobody wants an overlord *scoffs* homeowner following them around during an open house. In fact, it makes the buyer think you don’t trust your agent, and the agent, in turn, is unable to unleash his sales powers.

Essentially, they’ll be unable to speak freely and it might be the little detail you need to make a sale. Plus, you could make an innocent suggestion that’ll be a deal-breaker to a buyer. It’s no surprise — 90% of a buyer’s decision is based on emotions.

Again, throw out emotions and forget you’re a homeowner. So, when an agent sets visiting dates, you should be anywhere but in your house.

Being around during tours would inconvenience potential buyers. 

How To Deal With This When Selling Your House

Set specific hours and days of the week when you know you can find somewhere else to be. It could be a nice time to hang out with friends and family or write that business idea you’ve been pushing off at a coffee shop.

Create Virtual Tours

The pandemic shifted buyer behavior drastically, and 90% of homebuyers now look online for their dream home. If you’re in a seller’s market, your real estate agent can create a virtual tour to stop people trooping into your house.

Tech-savvy? Then you can save a couple of hundred bucks by creating an online tour by yourself.

Watch the comprehensive tutorial below to learn how it’s done:

Set Visitation Limits

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to bend over backwards to please buyers. Ask the realtor to limit the visiting days if you’re uncomfortable with an influx of people in your house. You can also limit appointments to only clients with a pre-approval letter or proof of fund.

Tell Your Agent Ahead Of Time

Sometimes leaving the house isn’t an option for work from home or disabled owners. And that’s fine. Just let your agent know you’ll be staying and they can inform the buyer’s agent ahead of time.

Staying during the showing isn’t exactly going to piss off every buyer, as long you stay out of their way. Let them feel like the new owners.


Mistake 9: Poor Curb Appeal

First impressions matter when you’re selling your house. The only difference here is that your appealing front yard will win you a profitable deal, not a date.

Studies show that a home with likeable curb appeal will sell for 7% more than a similar house with poor curb appeal. So, if you’re thinking of listing your house without sprucing up your yard, you should have a rethink. 

For instance, on a home worth $400,000, you could be leaving as much as $28,000 on the table. 

How To Deal With This When Selling Your House 

Do It Yourself

Unless your front yard looks like something out of a horror movie, you can beautify it yourself. Here are some small projects you can do to improve your curb appeal:

  • Add flower pots.
  • Mow overgrown lawn.
  • Fix broken pavements.
  • Install outside light.
  • Rake dead leaves and pick-up garbage.
  • Clean the gutters.

Hire Professional Handyman Service

Some repairs and maintenance tasks are best left to the professionals. Things like changing your front door or replacing rotten deck boards are worth hiring professionals.

Another way to improve curb appeal is by pressure washing the exterior of your building. It’s an affordable way to achieve a clean exterior instead of painting. 


Mistake 10: Not Paying Attention To Painting

Many sellers shrug off painting because it could be a costly investment. However, unless, you’re selling for cash, you’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table.

A paint job can increase the value of your house by as much as 500 percent if you pick the right color.

How To Handle This When Selling Your House 

Choose a paint color with a neutral tone such as white, beige, brown, grey, or taupe. It’s hard to say what color a buyer would love, that’s why neutral colors work best.

Even repainting doors could give you a juicy return on your investments. In a Zillow study, researchers found that dark-colored doors can add over $2,000 to your selling price and costs only between $100 to $400 to repaint. A charcoal or jet black front door can increase a home’s price by $6,271. 


Mistake 11: Neglecting Energy Efficiency

One way to increase the value of a property that most sellers ignore is improving their home’s energy efficiency. 

With such a mistake, you could be missing out on an extra $15,000 on your asking price.

How To Fix This Seller Mistake When Selling Your House

Sell Your Energy Saving Features To Buyers 

If you’ve enjoyed conservative energy on your property, let them know about it in your listing. 

If buyers realize that they’ll spend less on utilities over time, in the long run, they’ll be happy to pay more upfront. 

But you have to show and not just tell. Show them heating and water bills if it’s below the average for houses of a similar size.

Improve Your EPC Rating 

The easiest upgrade you can make to your EPC rating is to install energy light bulbs.

Another way is to change to an energy-efficient boiler or install insulated walls. Plus, you could add lagging jackets to your water pipes to keep them warm. All of these would reduce your heating bills considerably. 


Mistake 12: Not Inspecting The House Before Listing

Many buyers try to con homeowners into reducing their selling price by asking for shitty repairs at closing — after the buyer’s home inspection. 

That’s why it’s important not to discover and disclose any issues and cut this act outright from the start. This will give you a chance to command your asking price confidently.

How To Solve This Error When Selling Your House

Hire A Contractor

The go-to way is to hire a home inspector who’s capable of covering the whole house. A pro will help you identify plumbing, heating, wiring, roofing, drainage, or structural damage if there’s any.

Ask friends who’ve sold their house in the past to refer someone to you. 

Minor Problems Aren’t Necessarily Deal Breakers

Most sellers fear that they’ll discover many issues before listing and be unable to sell at a fair price. But that’s not entirely true. Many buyers will appreciate the honesty and make an offer after their inspection discovers minor issues.

More importantly, you would’ve priced your home putting the repairs into consideration. That way, a buyer can’t shave thousands of dollars off your asking price unexpectedly. 

For instance, if the house has some damaged sidings, you can deduct $5,000 from the FMV price to fix this issue. And maybe even recommend a good contractor who’ll fix it. Whether they use your contractor or accept the offer isn’t your business.


Mistake 13: Not Verifying Proof Of Funds

The last thing you want is to lose your home to scammers or waste time dealing with sellers that can’t afford the home. 

That’s why it’s important to verify your buyer’s ability to pay early on with Proof of Funds (POF) to prevent any unexpected turn of events.

How To Handle This When Selling Your House

Ask Before Or After They Send An Offer

Demand a POF if you’re dealing with an all-cash buyer or pre-approval letter from a financed buyer. It should include the date, name of the account holder, and account balance. Also, make sure the document has an official letterhead, and, like all other documents they submit, be physical.

Use A Solicitor

A real estate attorney will save you the trouble of verifying the buyer and closing the sale by yourself. Basically, the attorney ensures a hitch-free transfer of property to the new owners.


Mistake 14: Being Rigid With Negotiations

If your property is the likely target for a move-up buyer, give the buyer time to sell their own home.

Higher-priced properties have a smaller pool of potential buyers and thus stay on the market longer. However, more than 45 to 60 days on the market can be hard to overcome unless you have made significant price drops, depending on the specific market.

How To Deal With This Mistake When Selling Your House

Employ Proven Negotiation Tactics

Homeowners get the most on their house sales using common but effective negotiation tactics. I’d list them below:

  • Sending a slightly lower counter offer.
  • Agreeing to pay closing costs but increasing the asking price.
  • Counter with a slightly lower offer below the listing price. 
  • Reject outrightly and ask them to make a new offer.
  • Put a timer on your counteroffer.
  • Lower the asking price to start a bidding war.


Selling A House In Need Of Many Repairs?

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Once you accept the offer, the deal closes in a few days and you’ll have cash in your hands to move, travel the world, stay afloat, or pay down on your next home.

Also, you get 100% on our offer. No fees. No coammissions. No closing costs.

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