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What NOT to Do When Selling Your House

What NOT to Do When Selling Your House
4 min. read

Image: karamysh / Shutterstock.com

Selling a home is a very complex transaction. Along the way, there are many things that the would-be seller might be tempted to do, so it’s well worth knowing the potential dangers in advance. 

All too often, sellers overlook simple factors that can end up costing them thousands of dollars or may even prevent their house from selling at all. If you want to avoid the worst home selling mistakes and go into the process with your eyes open, check out our quick guide on what not to do when selling your house.

Price Poorly

Setting the right price is a bit of a balancing act but is among the most important things a seller needs to get right. Price too low and you’re missing out on thousands of dollars. Price too high and your home can be sitting on the market for months. Numerous factors combine to determine the value of your home, including location, recent market trends, comparable sales and size.

A good agent will be able to help you set the right listing price, and it’s well worth heeding their advice rather than being tempted to go higher. They will typically know how to play the market to your advantage, so even if your home is listed quite low, chances are you’re set to see a few bids that can be negotiated upwards.

Skimp on Marketing & Advertising

No matter how great your home is, it’s unlikely to sell in this day and age if it’s not very visible. Good marketing and advertising are essential and go far beyond a few photos and a sign in the yard. Buyers mostly start their house hunting online, so you need to ensure that your house is listed on as many online portals as possible.

On top of that, your listing has got to stand out from the crowd. Great photos really make a difference, but a video or virtual tour can do even more to get your listing noticed in the digital age.

Rush the Process

It takes time to sell a home, and if you try to rush things, you’re likely to make potentially costly mistakes. Work with an agent to devise a sales plan, complete with timeline, in order to gain control over the process and understand how long each step is likely to take.

Fail to Prep for Sale

You will need to give your home a deep clean, and repair all those minor faults, and especially your home’s big problems; fill in any holes in the walls, fix squeaky doors and replace broken handles, tiles, etc. A lick of fresh paint is also a good idea — be sure to opt for a neutral palette and get rid of any bold colours. Declutter and remove any personal effects, allowing potential buyers to envision how their life can be in your home.

Go Overboard on Renovations

While it’s hugely important to prep your home for sale, you need to know where to draw the line. Many sellers fall into the mistake of carrying out large, expensive renovations before putting their house up for sale, in the hope of increasing the value and getting an instant return on investment. Fancy kitchen and bathroom remodels are the most common, but they seldom pay off.

Remember that many buyers will want to put their own stamp on a home and may even be turned off by brand-new renovations. If you do go down the remodelling route, avoid luxury, high-end options, and stick instead to mid-range designs. This is far more affordable and is much more likely to generate a return on your investment.

Get Emotionally Involved

When selling your home, it’s vital that you learn to detach. Treat it as an asset to sell, remove all the things that put your stamp on it and leave it a blank canvas for the next owners. Walk away when people are viewing your home and leave them to it; the last thing a buyer wants is for the current owner to be hanging around while they view the home.

Remember also that buyers aren’t trying to cause offence with lowball offers, so don’t sulk if they do come in. They’re simply looking to get the most house for the least cash. Instead, counter offer and let the negotiations begin.

In general, it’s difficult to sell your house, since it’s something you rarely do, and the rules are always changing — you can’t exactly hone your skills. The advice of a good real estate agent is invaluable and can help you negotiate the potential pitfalls, ensuring your sale goes smoothly and you get the best price possible.

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