8 First-Time Home Seller Mistakes


Plenty of home sellers consider their places to be coveted properties that others would be lucky to own. But, that way of thinking can often lead to trouble when it comes to actually landing an offer and closing a sale.  First-time sellers, in particular, exhibit some self-sabotaging behaviors that can prevent them from getting the deal done. The following are the most common mistakes they make and how to avoid them.

1. Thinking they can go it alone.  Selling a home is not for the faint of heart, nor is it an easy DIY project. First-time home sellers quickly realize marketing and showing their property is a full-time job. Unless they’re experts in real estate contracts, inspections, and other documentation, they can end up making costly errors. Fortunately, this is an easy one to fix: Hire a licensed agent.

2. Wanting to price it too high.  Homeowners may think they’re living in the perfect home, but pricing it too high will render it a white elephant. It’s great to be optimistic that you’ll make a nice profit, but it’s important to be realistic and price a home accurately. Remember, time is money. Seeking top dollar can cost you if your home remains on the market far longer than you’d planned.

3. Being unwilling to negotiate.  Just because an offer comes in lower than a seller might have hoped, that’s no reason to take it personally and refuse to negotiate. Think of an offer as a starting point that leads to a compromise that works for both parties.  Pro-tip:  If you shoot for a win-win scenario, you're more likely to have a smooth transaction.

4. Not doing a thorough cleaning.  From the moment sellers decide to put their places on the market, they should begin cleaning and decluttering to make the home look as attractive and well-kept as possible. Staging is important, but experts agree, nothing makes a home shine quite like a thorough cleaning.  (Don't forget to clean inside appliances and cabinets.)

5. Making it difficult for agents to show it.  Sure, last-minute showings can be inconvenient, but if sellers really want to make a deal, they have to be willing to let an agent and prospective buyers inside. Thinking a two-hour open house once a week is going to be enough is some serious wishful thinking.  Coming up with a showing schedule ahead of time can reduce the chances of last minute showings too. 

7. Being unwilling to make changes.  Things like kitchen and bathroom updates can make a home look more attractive and move more quickly as it means less work a buyer will need to tackle after moving in. Still, some sellers dig in their heels and decide to adopt a “take it or leave it” attitude. Sadly, many buyers will choose to leave it.  Rule of thumb, if it's an "easy" fix, take care of the issue before you list your home.

8. Not considering the next move.  Homes can sell more quickly — or more slowly — than anyone, including even a Realtor®, can anticipate. So it’s important to have a back-up plan either way.  Have a plan for your next home in place before showings even start.

Want more advice?  Contact me today to get your FREE copy of my guide, How To Prepare Your Home For Sale.