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Four of the Biggest Pitfalls to Avoid When Trying to Sell a House

Will Stein

As a child, Will Stein was moved to a new home and enrolled in a new school every year, as his parents looked to escape debt and inch their way to pro...

As a child, Will Stein was moved to a new home and enrolled in a new school every year, as his parents looked to escape debt and inch their way to pro...

Oct 7 4 minutes read

When you are selling your home, you will discover that it can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging. With a complex and emotional transaction on your hands, it's easy to make a lot of mistakes, but with a little know-how, many of these pitfalls can be avoided altogether.

Becoming emotionally involved:

Once you decide to sell your home, it can be helpful to start thinking of yourself as a businessperson and a home seller, rather than as the home's owner. By looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you'll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property that you've undoubtedly created many memories in. If you can remember that you are selling not just a piece of property but also an image, a dream and a lifestyle, you'll be more likely to put in the extra effort of staging and perhaps some minor remodeling to get top dollar for your home. These changes in appearance will not only help the value proposition, but they'll also help you create that emotional distance because the home will look less familiar.

Selling your home without hiring an agent:

A good agent will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home that will increase your odds of a quick sale. An agent can also help take some of the emotion out of the process by interacting directly with potential buyers. They will have more experience negotiating home sales than you do, potentially helping you get more money than you could on your own. If any problems come up during the process, an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly.

Setting an unrealistic price:

In the world of home sellers, setting the right asking price is key. Contrary to popular belief, overpriced homes do not sell. Don't worry too much about setting a price that's on the low side because, in theory, this will generate multiple offers and bid the price up to the home's true market value. In fact, under valuing your home can be a strategy to generate extra interest in your listing. Most people want to list their homes at a price that will attract buyers while still leaving some breathing room for negotiations. This will allow the buyer to feel like he or she is getting a good value and allow you to get the amount of money you need from the sale.

Leaving your home unprepared for a sale:

Sellers who refuse to de-clutter and/or stage their homes are doing a disservice to not only themselves but the potential home buyer as well by not showing the homes full potential. Failing to do these things will not only reduce your sale price but may also prevent you from getting a sale at all. If you haven't attended to minor issues, a potential buyer may wonder whether the house has larger, costlier issues that haven't been addressed. De-cluttering, cleaning thoroughly, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls will also help you make a good impression on buyers.

Even if you do all of these things when selling your home, it's best to prepare mentally and financially for less-than-ideal scenarios. However, if you avoid the costly mistakes listed here, it will go a long way toward helping you put your best foot forward and achieving that seamless, lucrative sale every home seller hopes for.

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