At the end of the day, selling your home is a means to an end. Whether you're downsizing, relocating for work, or simply need a space that meets your current financial and lifestyle needs, you're relying on your home sale to help facilitate the purchase of a new home. The question is: Will you lose money when you sell your home?
Selling your home is easier said than done, especially if this is your first time navigating a real estate transaction. Unfortunately, this opens up many opportunities for mistakes to be made — even by homeowners who have already successfully sold a home. The following are the common mistakes that could cause you to leave money on the table:
Listing at the wrong time. With or without an agent to help you, there are certain times when selling your home may be more difficult than others. The winter, for instance, may yield fewer buyers. Attempting to sell in a poor market could also present you with obstacles.
Not hiring a knowledgeable and motivated real estate agent. The difference between a dynamic real estate agent and a run of the mill agent can mean the difference between tens of thousands of dollars. Their experience and knowledge will help you navigate every part of the process so that you have the best chance of securing a reasonable offer for your home.
Not trusting your agent. If you're hiring an agent, you must trust their opinion and expertise. Although you may have a differing opinion, it's important to respect and place your confidence in their suggestions. Their goal is your goal — successfully selling your home.
Not investing in professional photography for the listing. Before buyers visit your home, they'll almost certainly view it online. Without professional photography, you're not giving the best first impression possible. Invest in professional photography so that buyers fall in love with your home before they even set foot on your doorstep.
Becoming too emotionally invested in your home. Your home is part of your life, part of your family. While it's understandable that you'll go through a variety of emotions during the listing and negotiation, you must remember that this is a business traction that requires professionalism. Don't allow your emotions or ego to influence the process.
Choosing not to stage the home. Some homes are best sold empty, but most homes will perform better when they are professionally staged. Staging the home removes clutter and eyesores, replacing them with furnishings that help the buyer envision life in the space.
Failing to clean, renovate, or repair the home. Before you stage the home, you must make sure that it's professionally cleaned, any renovations are finished, and that all repairs are professionally completed. Any unfinished elements will detract from the aesthetic and may make the buyer assume that there are other problems hidden in the home.
Trying to hide serious issues. Never lie, fail to disclose, or try to cover up issues in the home. This is illegal and unethical. By being open and honest with your agent and buyer, you safeguard yourself legally and financially.
Being too firm on price. Pricing your home can be tricky. You don't want to price it too high nor too low. You also don't want to set an unrealistic value on the home that does not align with current market trends. Trust your agent's judgment on the listing price and during negotiations.
Playing hardball with buyers. When you receive an offer, be open to contingencies, counteroffers, or other negotiations they may ask you to consider. The goal is to find a reasonable middle ground that both you and the buyer can respectfully agree on.
Selling your home is a detailed process but a thorough understanding of these transactions will help you ensure that you don't make mistakes that cause you to lose money on your sale.