Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your House
In 2018, home buyers were still reluctant to make home purchases. That wasn’t just in Oklahoma but all over the country. A market that started out in great shape turned quickly soft as buyers slid hands into their pockets in hopes of a drop in the lasting high prices of homes.
“For home sellers, they need to recognize those days of frenzied market are over. They must price competitively to sell their home,” said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, in an interview with USA Today. “For buyers, there will be challenges when it comes to rising interest rates, but they don’t have to make hurried decisions anymore.”
Any seller who wants to sell their home, and sell it fast, needs to be mindful of the wary buyers and their reservations with making purchases into 2019 and beyond. When you’re faced with selling your home, “oops” isn’t a word you ever want to utter.
Selling your home is a time-consuming, emotionally draining, and stressful experience – especially if this is the first time you’re selling. Given the emotional nature of selling a home it’s not uncommon to have a few mistakes along the way.
But if you’re not careful, those mistakes can cost you a lot of money, force a potential buyer to back out, and even prevent your home from getting offers all together.
Here’s some of the most common mistakes you need to avoid as you navigate the journey of selling your home.
1. Asking too much for your home
A potential buyer has access to more information today than ever before. There’s no shortage of sites providing a wealth of data on your property and all the surrounding homes in the neighborhood. Buyers have access to school data, demographics, crime statistics, home values (current and historical), local conditions… there are even neighborhood sites where they can get a feel for the people in your community without ever setting foot in it.
Sites like NextDoor make it easy for buyers to develop kind of a social score for your neighborhood and your property.
A home priced more than it’s worth will quickly become stale with a lack of offers, even in a strong market with plenty of buyers. Unless you’re in the middle of a housing bubble, an overpriced home isn’t going to sell.
2. Ignoring the competition
When you price your home to sell you have a lot of numbers to crunch, including the prices of recently sold homes. That includes homes around yours as well as homes similar to yours in the area. These are known as “comps”.
If you’re not pricing your home to sell competitively, taking into account all the updates and amenities of similar properties, you’ll have a difficult time attracting the right qualified buyers.
3. Underestimating the cost of selling a home in Oklahoma
Selling a home might have you focused on how much you’ll make, but homeowners often neglect to take all the costs of selling into account:
- Agent commission (typically 5% to 7% of the sale price but could be higher)
- Repair credits to buyers
- Repair and renovation expenses before listing
- Final property taxes
- Mortgage payments until sale
- Closing costs, title insurance, escrow and transfer fees
It’s not uncommon for homes around Oklahoma City to sell below the asking price. Couple that with the unexpected costs such as those listed above, and you could be making far less than you thought when you finally manage to sell your home.
4. Limiting showings
Selling a home is exciting, and sellers often get eager for potential buyers to view the property. But the longer this goes on the more it can feel like a nuisance. Unfortunately, once you put your home on the market you need to leave the availability open for your agent to show your home.
That means you’ll likely be scrambling to leave at the drop of a hat, even in the middle of a dinner, when an agent has to show your property.
It’s common for sellers to get disillusioned and limit showings in order to limit the loss of their free time and privacy, but if you don’t open your doors to anytime showings then you dramatically limit the odds of getting offers for your home.
5. Selling off season
The market fluctuates between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market based on a lot of factors. The odds of selling your home fast also changes with the season. Winter can be one of the toughest times to sell a home because there are fewer buyers.
People are tied up with travel and social engagements around the holidays, and their money is likely also being leaned on for things like holidays and travel.
A recent study in 2018 found that 79% of Americans would consider an overseas trip during the winter, and 53% of them would not be seeking a change in weather.
You can’t expect your home to sell fast in the winter when selling through an agent with a traditional listing.
6. Trying to hide significant problems
Today’s buyer is a bit savvier and they’re far more likely to work with a reputable inspector, especially if the purchase is being financed by a lending institution or bank. Any problem with your home is more than likely going to be revealed during inspection and due diligence, and undisclosed problems can sour a deal enough to make a prospective buyer walk away.
Sometimes it’s not intentional – you’ve just become familiar with the home and what seems like a normal part may be an issue when inspected.
You’ll need to fix problems in advance, even (especially) if they’re costly. Minor problems may be looked over if you negotiate a repair credit with the buyer but that also reduces the sale price of your home.
7. Signing with an unqualified buyer
It’s fairly common for a home buyer to hold off on their home search until they’ve managed to get pre-approved by a lender. You don’t have to worry about this if you’re screening for buyers and only entertaining offers from those with a pre-approval letter.
Don’t make the mistake of signing a contract with a buyer when the purchase of the home is contingent on them selling their current house. That can drag the entire process out and isn’t ideal if you need to sell your home fast.
8. Hiring family/friends to represent your home
Got a friend or family member who moonlights as an agent? A lot of folks do. And while it might seem like just the person to help you sell your home, don’t hire family or friends to sell your home. Simply put, they’re biased.
They’re biased to you, and that makes it difficult for them to be brutally honest about what you need to do with your home and what’s keeping you from getting the sale price you want.
Even if they’re an expert in the real estate market that doesn’t mean they have your best interest at heart. They may think they know you so well that they can make decisions in negotiation that don’t always work out in your favor.
The line between what you want and what they think you want, or what they want for you, can start to blur incredibly fast.
Worst of all, some sellers wind up having to fire their agent and find a new one. Selling a house can get tense if things aren’t moving, and it’s hard to fire friends or family when they aren’t getting results.
9. Being too attached to your home
Even if you’ve only been in your home for a few years it was enough time to make some great memories. Your house can mean a lot to your and your family, and you don’t realize just how much you’re connected to it until you start the process of selling your home.
We’ve worked with a lot of homeowners over the years and we see it often; it’s surprisingly easy to get too attached to your home. So much so that an offer can rub you wrong or you could feel slighted by one or more reasons that a buyer is requesting a negotiation.
Don’t ruin an opportunity to sell your home by being too attached to your home.
10. No budget for marketing
Potential buyers in the market for a home look all over the place for the right home, often pouring over listings and canvassing areas with their heads on a swivel. According to the National Association of Realtors, home buyers found homes to purchase through a multitude of channels including:
- Internet: 50%
- Real estate agent: 28%
- Yard sign/open house sign: 7%
- Friend, relative or neighbor: 7%
- Home builder or their agent: 5%
- Directly from sellers/Knew the sellers: 2%
- Print newspaper advertisement: 1%
Aside from listing your home on a variety of websites and other channels you also want to invest in stellar marketing materials (professional photos, great print materials, print ad placements) that will get you noticed. The more you skimp on marketing to save a buck, the less likely you are to sell your home.
11. Not staging a home for sale
This is a major mistake when selling a home because there’s a sweet spot you have to find when setting up the interior and exterior of your home so that it looks appealing.
Staging your home for sale doesn’t necessarily mean keeping it immaculate and having rental furniture brought in to deck out every room.
But you do need to address the living space so that it’s easy for a potential buyer to see themselves living there. If you make the mistake of trying to sell an empty home, then you’ll leave buyers with the same feeling – empty. It’s hard to picture how they’ll occupy a space when it’s completely barren.
At the same time, if all your pictures, kids drawings, and personal belongings are still in the home then it doesn’t feel like it could be theirs. Instead, a buyer feels like they’re invading someone’s private personal space. They’re less likely to make an offer if they can’t feel at home in the space.
Choosing the wrong way to sell your home
There’s a lot of mistakes that can cost you big when you’re trying to sell your home. A smart, experienced real estate agent can often help you navigate this process, but they can’t hold your hand through it all and they can’t force you to make choices.
Even without the mistakes, the process of selling your home can be extremely stressful, emotionally draining, and time consuming. That gets even harder if you try to sell your home “for sale by owner” without any help.
If you want to avoid all the mistakes above, sell your home fast, and still get a fair cash offer for your property, then consider selling direct to W Properties. Check out how our simple three step process can help you sell your house fast.
You can always call or text us at (405) 673-4901.