Don’t Do These 35 Things If You Want to Sell Your House
When the housing supply is tight, you don’t want to make any mistakes selling your home. But you definitely don’t want to do these things.
Don’t Spend Big Money on Improvements
Don’t Disregard Curb Appeal
Don’t Ask for More Than Your Home is Worth
Don’t Leave Clutter in Your Closet
Don’t Forget, Odors Linger
Don’t Forget the Details
Don’t Decorate with Your Political Affiliations, Degrees, Family Portraits, or Bear Rugs
Don’t Add Urinals
Don’t Add a Sunroom
Don’t Get Too Trendy
Don’t Avoid the ’99’ Strategy When Selling a Home
In real estate, the “99” strategy is nearly always employed. For instance, if a seller prices their home at $499K instead of $500K, the $1K they lose will cover some of the buyer’s closing costs, but in the buyer’s mind, they are paying $500K. In most cases, though, knocking off $1K to bring the price below a rounded figure doesn’t make that much difference to a buyer or seller.
Nonetheless, there’s a fair amount of psychology (and strategy) that goes into determining a home’s asking price.
If you’re a seller, you and your real estate agent should identify (and agree on) the approximate value of the property. Let’s say you determine your home is worth around $500K, based on comparables of similar properties sold in your neighborhood and other market considerations.
The next step is to understand the price range for the list price. In this case, somewhere between $480K and $520K, depending on market conditions, competing properties, time of year or inventory. The price range typically goes a bit higher with more expensive properties; a home worth about $1 million might have a range of $950K to $1.05 million.
Once you know your home’s value and have a price range in mind, it’s time nail down the final “list” price.
Don’t Avoid Appealing to the ‘Herd Mentality’
Given the high stakes of real estate, a buyer doesn’t want to be the only one interested in a house. By pricing your property on the lower end of the value range, you could stimulate interest among more than one buyer and create a herd mentality. Also, if you’re under the gun to sell quickly, this would be a good option.
Don’t Forget to Price it to be Found in Real Estate Searches
Most buyers tell their agent they want a three-bedroom home in a certain neighborhood under $500K (or some other dollar amount). Their real estate agent may then set up an automated buyer search in their local database for properties under $500K. But if a home is listed at $510K, that buyer will miss it. So, if your list price is higher out of the gates, you may miss a segment of buyers.
While this scenario happens frequently, many savvy agents will set up search parameters for their buyers to include properties listed a little bit more above their price ceiling. Knowing how flexible home prices can be, buyers should be made aware of properties that could be a good match for them, even if those homes are above (but within reasonable range of) what they want to pay. Often times the buyer can offer under the list price, or the property will get reduced.
Don’t Get ‘Creative’ with Your Asking Price When Selling a Home
Sometimes, sellers want to get creative with their asking price. A seller whose home was valued between $750K and $800K wants to ask $787,777. Say what?
Such an oddly specific figure calls attention to itself for no good reason, like a house painted purple. Buyers will often wonder why the seller chose that figure. From there, they get curious about who the seller is, and so on.
It’s best to keep the seller far in the background, if not entirely invisible. That’s why we have sellers remove all their personal stuff (such as photos, diplomas, and such) from their homes and decorate in neutral colors.
The goal is to showcase the property, not the seller, and to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Getting quirky with your asking price counteracts this tried-and-true strategy.
Don’t Forget a Pricing Contingency Plan Before You Put Your Home on the Market
Sometimes, sellers have high expectations about their property’s appeal and they want to ask top dollar for it, even if their agent doesn’t believe they’ll get it. Or perhaps another agent they talked to planted a high price tag in their mind.
Don’t Forget the Comparables When Selling a Home
According to Zillow, the asking price of a home should be within 10 percent of the average sold price in your neighborhood. Look for home sales in the past three months. Appraisers only look at comparable homes sold in the last three months.
Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock
Don’t Forget to Compare Square Footage
Appraisers look at square footage for determining a home’s value. So it’s important to take a look at similar homes that fall within 10 percent of the square footage of your home.
Don’t Be Unprepared for Closing Costs
Additional costs during closing can include things such as inspections, loan origination fees, and title insurance, so keep those in mind when putting together your down payment. The additional costs right at closing means it might make sense to put less money down in order to pay for the added expenses. Often closing costs are paid by the seller, but in competitive markets, it’s becoming more common for the costs to be split with or paid by the buyer.
While you’re spending all of this hard-earned money, be sure to budget your move to cut down on expenses.
Don’t Forget to Speak Up
It’s important to say something if you don’t agree with the final report of value because a lender might choose not to fund a mortgage if there’s a big difference between the agreed selling price and the appraised value. Try to find out about the appraiser and their knowledge of your neighborhood before they come out to your home. If you’re not comfortable, ask for another appraiser.
Find out why hiring a home inspector pays off.
Don’t Ignore the Inspection Report
The inspection report can be a critical negotiation tool in buying a home. Whatever issues the inspection report turns up can move the price down potentially.
Don’t Forget to Have Safety Equipment Installed and Working
Make sure your smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and other safety devices are working properly. Also, be sure to have an up-to-date fire extinguisher.
Check out other safety tips for the home and to make sure a smoke alarm functions as it should.
Don’t Forget to Inform Appraiser of Improvements
Have your documents on the ready to show any home improvements you have made including additions, HVAC units, exterior work, roof and other remodeling.
Don’t Hover Over an Appraiser
Appraisers are likely greeted by eager home sellers all the time. But back off and let them work. You can make their work pleasant but don’t go overboard and trail them through every room. It’s likely to set off alarms.
Don’t Gloss Over the Appraisal
Appraisers aren’t infallible so it’s important to review their work to verify the facts are correct. Square footage totals can vary from appraiser to appraiser.
Don’t Take Your Own Photos
Your Instagram account might be lit but chances are the interior of your house won’t be if you try taking staging photos on your own. Taking interior photos of dimly lit areas is difficult and even in well-lit rooms shadows can wreak havoc. Take the time to think about hiring a real estate photographer or check to see what your broker does. A typical real estate photographer charges between $100 to $300 for photos only. It could make a difference in the shelf life of your home on the market.
Get out of the dark and freshen up your house with these amazing decor ideas.
Don’t Be Negative
Yes, selling a home is a tremendous hassle fraught with stress but remember you are selling a home. Put your best face forward, hone your salesmanship and learn how to price a home by knowing what appraisers are looking at.
Don’t Force Brands on Buyers
Similar to avoiding leaving personal items around the house, don’t go around touting appliance brands. Brand loyalty is a real thing and your loyalty might get questioned by a potential buyer who prefers a different brand.
If you want to get new appliances see why you should get a front-load washer and dryer versus a top-load combo and how to save buckets of money when buying a washer/dryer combo.
Don’t Get Offended by a Low Offer
It’s all part of the game and you’re supposed to meet in the middle at the end, right? A low offer shouldn’t mean you walk completely away from the table.
Don’t Refuse to Make Repairs During Negotiation
In a competitive market a refusal to make repairs can turn away a buyer in a hurry. That being said, it is a negotiation and a seller shouldn’t agree to make every repair request from a buyer. Check out 100 home repairs you can do yourself to save a ton of dough. They’re easier than you think.
Don’t Forget to be Properly Insured
With increased foot traffic coming through your home make sure all your insurance coverage is up to date. Someone unfamiliar with your home could trip and fall, your dog could have a problem with someone and a pool could be a potential hazard. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
You’ll be amazed at these cheap ways to save on insurance costs.
Don’t Agree to a Purchase Contract with an Unqualified Buyer
Some home buyers will overlook getting pre-approval before house hunting so it’s important to know if an interested buyer has gotten pre-approval from a lender before negotiating a sale.
Find out the things people regret the most after buying a home.
Don’t Forget to Protect Against Low Appraisal
Prevent any potential hiccups of a home sale by doing some legwork ahead of time. Specifically, consider getting an appraisal prior to listing the home. It’ll protect against the potential of a low appraisal during the sale of the home.
See what goes into an appraisal so you know what to look for with an appraisal.
Don’t Forget to Turn up the Light
Just like with taking photos, there should be plenty of light pouring into the house during showings. Open blinds and curtains, make sure shrubs are trimmed to allow more light into the house. Natural light is an asset for your home and a feature that will make it feel warm, inviting and cozy.
Natural light will make a room feel bigger, too, check out how to do it.
Don’t Put Off Researching Brokers
Do the research when it comes to finding a broker. Talk to neighbors and friends who recently sold to get a gauge of who’s good. Take a look at how they list homes and pay attention to the details. Do you want to buy from them when looking at their site?
V J Matthew/Shutterstock
Don’t Assume You Have to Sell in Spring
There might be some advantages to selling later in the year. The inventory will typically drop in the fall and buyers will crave the sight of new listings.