Avoid These Mistakes When Selling Your Home
Selling your home can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging especially if you’ve never done it before. At times, it may feel like an invasion of privacy because strangers will come into your home and poke around your closets and cabinets. They will criticize a place that has probably become more than just four walls and a roof to you, and, to top it all off, they will offer you less money than you think your home is worth.
With no experience & a complex, emotional transaction on your hands, it’s easy for first-time home sellers to make lots of mistakes. But with a little know-how, you can avoid many of these pitfalls altogether. Read on to find out how you can get the highest possible price for your home within a reasonable timeframe—without losing your mind.
- Keep your emotions in check and stay focused on the business aspect of selling your home.
- Prepare for the sale, don’t skimp on the visuals in your listing, & disclose any issues with the property.
It’s easy to get emotional about selling your home, especially your first one. You spent a great deal of time & effort to find the right one, saved up your down payment & for your furniture, not to mention creating all the memories. Many people have trouble keeping their emotions in check when it comes time to say goodbye. Think it’s impossible? It’s actually not. Once you decide to sell your home, start thinking of yourself as a businessperson & salesperson rather than just the homeowner. In fact, forget that you’re the homeowner altogether. By looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you’ll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property. Also, try to remember how you felt when you were shopping for that home. Most buyers will also be in an emotional state. If you can remember that you are selling a piece of property as well as an image, the American Dream, & lifestyle, you’ll be more likely to put in the extra effort of staging & perhaps doing some minor remodeling to get top dollar for your home. These changes in appearance will help the sales price as well as help you create that emotional distance because the home will look less familiar.
Setting an Unrealistic Price:
Whether you are working with an agent or going it alone, setting the right asking price is key. Remember the comparable market analysis you or your agent did when you bought your home to determine a fair offering price? Buyers will do this for your home, too, so as a seller, you should be one step ahead of them. You may think your home is worth more but remember to set a realistic price based on comparable homes in the area. Absent a housing bubble, overpriced homes generally don’t 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, underpricing your home can be a strategy to generate extra interest in your listing and you can always refuse an offer that’s too low.
Expecting the Asking Price:
Any smart buyer will negotiate, and if you want to complete the sale, you may have to play ball. Most people want to list their homes at a price that will attract buyers while still leaving some breathing room for negotiations—the opposite of the underpricing strategy described above. This may work, allowing the buyer to feel like he or she is getting good value while allowing you to get the amount of money you need from the sale. Of course, whether you end up with more or less than your asking price will likely depend not just on your pricing strategy but also on whether you’re in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market and on how well you have staged and modernized your home.
Skimping on Listing Photos:
So many buyers look for homes online these days, and so many of those homes have photos that you’ll need good photos for good visuals of your home to set it apart. Good photos should be crisp and clear and should be taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light available. They should showcase your home’s best assets. Using a wide-angle lens allows potential buyers a better idea of what entire rooms look like. Hiring a professional real estate photographer to get top quality results instead of just letting your agent take snapshots on a phone. Sometimes adding a video tour or 360-degree view to further enhance your listing may be in order. You may even get more offers if you give them an introductory walk-through of your property.
Hiding Major Problems:
Think you can get away with hiding major problems with your property? Any problem will be uncovered during the buyer’s inspection. You have two options to deal with any issues. Either fix the problem ahead of time and price the property below market value to account for it. Alternatively, you can list the property at a normal price and offer the buyer a credit to fix the problem. Remember: If you do not fix the problem in advance, you may eliminate a fair number of buyers who want a turnkey home. Having your home inspected before listing is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises once the home is under contract. Further, many states have disclosure rules. Many require sellers to disclose known problems about their homes if buyers ask directly, while others decree that sellers must voluntarily disclose certain issues.
Preparing for the Sale:
Sellers who do not clean and stage their homes throw money down the drain. Don’t worry if you can’t afford to hire a professional. There are many things you can do on your own. Failing to do these things will reduce your sale price and may also prevent you from getting a sale at all. For example, if you haven’t attended to minor issues like a broken doorknob, a potential buyer may wonder whether the house has larger, costlier issues that haven’t been addressed either. Have a friend or agent, someone with a fresh pair of eyes, point out areas of your home that need work. Because of your familiarity with the home, you may be immune to its trouble spots. Decluttering, cleaning thoroughly, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and getting rid of any odors will also help you make a good impression on buyers.
Not Accommodating Buyers:
If someone wants to view your house, you need to accommodate them, even if it inconveniences you. And yes, you must clean and tidy the house before every single visit. A buyer will not know or care if your house was clean last week. It is a lot of work but stay focused on the prize.
Selling to Unqualified Buyers:
It’s more than reasonable to expect a buyer to bring a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender or proof of funds for cash purchases to show they have the money to buy the home. Signing a contract with a buyer is contingent on the sale of their own property, which may put you in a serious bind if you need to close by a certain date.
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