10 Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid
- Overdoing home improvements. Certain home improvements are often no-brainers. For
example, a fresh coat of touch-up paint and pressure-washing are low-cost ways to
quickly spruce up a home. But when it comes to home improvements, don’t overdo it.
Many home improvements can result in a minimal increase in home value relative to the
- Not properly scrutinizing the details of a buyer’s offer. It’s important that home
sellers and their agents carefully review each offer-to-purchase received. Important
details such as escrow deposits, contingencies and closing timelines can vary
significantly from one offer to the next. Such details need to be examined carefully, so
that any changes can be negotiated before the seller signs on the bottom line.
- Paying too much in real estate commissions. Despite the increase in real estate values
in recent years, many consumers are still paying the same percentage that they were ten
or twenty years ago: that is, 5-6%. If you’re going to sell your home, we recommend that
you consider paying less than this. Every thousand dollars saved through lower
commissions is a thousand dollars earned.
- Improper pricing. Virtually all homeowners realize that their home needs to be priced
right in order to sell. However, it’s easy for a person who is emotionally attached to a
home to have unrealistic expectations of its value and to overprice. This can lead to a
home sitting on the market longer than necessary and growing stale. Yet under-pricing a
home can be a more costly mistake because it can mean leaving money on the table.
Since experienced real estate agents understand the home pricing process and have access
to comparable sales data, they represent a key resource to help in pricing your home.
- Not disclosing information to buyers. On the typical sale of a residential home, the
seller agrees to disclose certain information to buyers - including any significant
problems with the property. Sometimes sellers agree to disclose such information and
then do not follow through and divulge all known problems with the home. Such willful
omission can lead to legal problems for the seller down the road.
- A cluttered or dirty interior. If they want their home to look its best, most people need
to remove some clutter. If you don’t have the space in your home to store extraneous
items, you may want to consider renting a temporary storage bin. But don’t remove
everything. You don’t want your home to look barren - you want it to look charming, yet
- Bad odors. Make sure your home smells good. Bad smells can be a show-stopper for
- Not providing proper access to a home. If buyers and their real estate agents don’t
have proper access to your home, they won’t see it and won’t make an offer. It’s
important for sellers to be flexible in allowing home showings to be scheduled.
- Getting too involved in home showings. When buyers and their agents are looking at a
home, they want to feel comfortable to check things out and discuss features without the
homeowner lingering nearby. It’s usually best if the homeowner leaves the home during a
showing, or at least remains inconspicuous. And if you have pets, it’s a good idea to not
have them in the house during a showing.
- Damp basements. Damp basements cause bad smells and can be a red flag for homebuyers and inspectors. A damp basement can be an indication of a more serious problem such as a cracked foundation wall. But it can also be caused by less serious problems such as improper drainage. If you have a damp basement, you should have it properly diagnosed and remedied before listing your home.