Planning on selling your home? Avoid these common seller mistakes


Photo by 401(K) 2013

When you look to sell your home, it is vital that you take advantage of all the good advice you can find.  Equally as important, however, is to avoid common pitfalls that befall property owners. Because selling real estate is (usually) an uncommon occurrence for most people, it is important that you do it right. There are many websites that have advice on how to avoid common mistakes in selling your property, however the folks at to put together a very useful seven part list which is quite useful:

1. Bad timing: according to the article, the first mistaken that homeowners make is putting their home up for sale at the wrong time, in particular, when it isn’t ready to sell.  Consequently, the price of the home is impacted because of its condition.  Remember, “presentation is everything — so get the work done before marketing the property.”

2.  Over-improving a home:  be sure to avoid the common mistake of over-doing the improvements that you endeavor to create on your property.  “This happens with additions, bump outs, and upgrades that make the home stick out from among its competitors so much that it’s an anomaly, instead of a nice addition to the community.”

3.  Basing listing price of a goal of net proceeds:  This is a common mistake not only because real estate transactions can be subjective, but because the seller misreads the market and thinks that the “asking price” is the same as the “sales price.”  The latter is determined by the free market whereas the former is merely a starting point.

4.  Hiring a broker for personal reasons: The only person that a seller should hire to list his or her home is someone who is professional capable in the real estate business (in particular, selling homes).  Often, a seller will select a real estate broker based on a personal connection.  This can be a big mistake not only if the person lacks the requisite profesional temperment to attract a buyer and close the transaction, but it makes it painfully uncomfortable if (or when) the seller needs to change brokers.

5.  Becoming emotional about the sale of your home: “Once you decide to sell your house, it’s no longer a home, but a commodity. It needs to be prepared as a commodity, marketed as a commodity, and priced as a commodity. It doesn’t matter what you “want,” only what the market can bear on pricing. People are going to come in to kick the tires, so to speak, and you can’t get emotional about how they may or may not appreciate the nuances of your home of seven years.”

6.  Hiding your home’s flaws:  It is a big (BIG) mistake to conceal material defects in the property.  This is especially true if you willful misrepresent the condition of the home to a prospective buyer.   While the law does afford certain protections or sheilds to the seller, it does not protect him or her from liability should fraud occur.  In the case where a property has defects, it is best to either correct or disclose them.

7.  Failing to prepare for the sale: Given that the market can swing up and down (sometimes suddenly) it is a mistake to plan for a sale to occur months and months down the calendar.  Though in the recent past homes moved painfully slow when listed for sale, those days seem to be giving way to a new reality where quality homes in desirable neighborhoods (and school districts) move quickly.  It is vital that a homeowner be ready for a quick sale (just as he or she should be ready should the sale take time).