7 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a HouseLucky is the homeowner who has experience with selling a home. First-time sellers have a steep learning curve ahead of them and many obstacles on the road to a successful sale. Although common with first-time sellers, some of these obstacles aren't obvious.
1. Not Preparing the Home for Sale"Dress your house for success," is probably the best advice for home sellers. Just as you wouldn't attempt to get top dollar for a car without cleaning the interior and detailing the exterior, so it goes with the sale of your home.
Cleaning the house is the first step because, face it, nobody will buy a dirty house. But, here's incentive for you to put on the rubber gloves and drag out the cleaning supplies: Clean houses sell quicker and for more money.
According to a recent survey, commissioned by one of the big real estate companies, a $402 investment in cleaning and decluttering a home realizes a 403 percent return on investment. That is a whopping $2,024 in your pocket at the closing table.
As impatient as you are to move on to the next phase of your life, it is vitally important to get the cleaning, painting, repairs and staging done before the house goes on the market.
2. Not Pricing the Home RealisticallyThe first few weeks that your house is in the local Multiple Listing Service database are known as the "honeymoon period." This is the time when it will get the most traffic. All the traffic in the world, however, won't compensate for a too-high price.
Buyers aren't ignorant and neither are their real estate agents. They are well aware of current market values in the areas they are searching and will know that your home is overpriced. In the meantime, you've wasted the honeymoon period. By the time you lower the price, agents and buyers will think there is something wrong with the house.
3. Not Hiring a Real Estate AgentYes, you will pay a real estate fee when the home sells. The flip side to hiring an agent is going it alone. If this is your first time selling a home, that would be a huge mistake.
First, unless you are a lawyer, how will you know how to protect your interests during the process? How will you understand the contracts and which ones to use when? Then, consider the negotiating process. Without an agent to advise you or to negotiate for you, you may make costly mistakes.
Finally, a 2008 Stanford University study showed that "the use of a broker increases the probability of a sale during the first month on the market by nearly 25 percent." In other words, homes sold by owners remain on the market significantly longer than those sold by real estate agents.