By Michele Lerner—Realtor.com
If you’ve lived happily in your home for years, it can be difficult to detach yourself from cherished memories and look at your house as a commodity you’re attempting to sell.
But no matter how much you love your home, you’ll need to spruce it up before it hits the market.
For a smooth transaction that garners the most possible profit from your sale, avoid these eight common, and costly, home seller mistakes.
- Skipping a home inspection. Depending on the age of your home, scheduling a pre-listing home inspection could save you a lot of time and aggravation. You can address issues on your own time and budget before negotiating with a buyer to fix problems.
- Skimping on your sales prep. While you may be tempted to “test the waters” and put your home on the market without painting it or making minor repairs, your home is likely to languish on the market and get a reputation for having a major problem. A thorough, professional-level cleaning should be your bare minimum seller prep. Your eventual sales price is likely to be lower if you don’t sell within the first few weeks after you list your home.
- Choosing the wrong REALTOR®. Instead of picking a REALTOR® who’s a friend of a friend, a relative or perhaps someone who’s great at working with buyers, take the time to pick a REALTOR® with an excellent reputation for listing homes. Your payoff will be much larger if you list your home with a REALTOR® with local market knowledge and sales expertise.
- Neglecting to ramp up your curb appeal. If you polish and primp inside your home but neglect to pull weeds or paint your front door, you run the risk of potential buyers leaving without ever entering your home.
- Withholding information from buyers. If you hope that the buyers or their inspector won’t find out about the leak under your bathroom sink or the fact that your basement gets flooded every winter, you run the risk of a nasty negotiating period—or worse, a lawsuit after the settlement.
- Overpricing your home. If you’ve hired the right REALTOR®, someone who can give you a strong market analysis and help you determine a reasonable price for your home, then you can avoid overpricing your home. If you don’t listen to a REALTOR® and base your listing price on an inflated view of your home’s value, you’re likely to end up selling after multiple price drops for less than you would have if you priced it right the first time.
- Being unprepared for your next step. Whether you should buy your next home or sell your current home first is only one part of the preparation you need to make to move. You need a back-up plan in case your transaction on either end takes longer or shorter than you think, and you need to understand your mortgage payoff and theclosing costs you must pay.
- Letting your pets and kids spoil a sale. Part of your emotional detachment from your home is recognizing that while you love Fluffy and your darling twins, buyers want to visualize themselves and their own family in your home. Bribe your kids if you have to, but make sure the house is neat and as neutral-looking and smelling as possible. Take the kids and your pets out (or lock up your pets) when prospective buyers are visiting: You never know if someone who is terrified of dogs or cats will be turned off from making an offer because of your adorable pet.
Selling a home can be challenging, but with the help of a reliable REALTOR®, you can avoid making mistakes and reap the rewards of your sale.