Common Mistakes People Make Selling Their First Home/Property

of 1

The task of selling a house is intimidating. Considering the pressure you’ll face, it’s easy to get flustered and start overlooking the obvious. First time home sellers often hold certain preconceptions that can lead to frustration and further stress. Here are a few things you might find yourself thinking or saying and the ways to avoid the hassles they’ll undoubtedly cause.

“It’s My Home”

Not anymore, it isn’t. You may still be living there, and it’s certainly the setting of many cherished memories—coming home with your spouse for the first time after your wedding, your son’s first steps and words, and the time he decided to make Jell-o in the bathtub—but you need to begin extricating yourself, mentally and emotionally, from these sorts of attachments. Remember, buyers don’t have the sentimental attachment that you do; they’re going to be doing the same things that you did when you were searching for a home, and often critically. Bear in mind that this is a business transaction, not a social occasion, and selling your home will be that much simpler.

“I Can Sell It Myself”

Unless you’re a real estate agent, this is a terrible idea. Chances are, you’re not a real estate agent—you’re a teacher or a personal trainer or a computer programmer or a rodeo clown. As such, you do not have the professional knowledge and experience to deal with all of the intricacies and exigencies of selling a house. But a real estate agent does—it’s their job, after all. After a time or two, you may get a feel for selling, and then you will be able to navigate the sale yourself. Until that time comes, though, you should hire a professional.

“My House is Worth Way More than That”

No, it probably isn’t. (Also, you’re probably breaking the first rule again and letting your emotional attachment drive.)  When pricing your home, you need to look at recent sales of comparable properties and set your price based on those. This is how the real estate industry does it, and it’s the best way to set a reasonable asking price for your house—even if you don’t like what the numbers tell you. The price of a house depends strongly on the strength of the market. With the exception of housing bubbles (and we all know how awesome those work out), overpriced homes won’t sell, they’ll just sit. Lowballing will drive interest and build the price naturally through competition amongst buyers.

“People Will Fall in Love When They See It”

Sure, but you need to get them in the door first. The best way to do that is with pictures. Humans’ optic nerves are actually part of the central nervous system (unlike other senses, which belong to the peripheral nervous system). This means that your eyeballs are wired directly into your brain. As such, human beings respond very strongly to visual stimulus, to the point that it often overpowers reason and logic. You can write a glowing description of your home, but few people will read it if something more visually stimulating doesn’t captivate them first. In short: take a boatload of high-quality pictures and make them very, very prominent.

“It’s More Enticing if It Looks Lived In”

This is absolutely true, but it can’t look too lived in. Your buyers will want to get a realistic sense of the space inside the house, and that’s impossible if everything is crammed and cluttered. Beyond just making the place look neat and tidy, you need to really minimize the amount of stuff in view. This means tidying up each time someone comes to look at the house. On the flip side, don’t show your house completely empty. You want to give a sense of space, but the desolate look will do just as much as clutter to drive away potential buyers. Leaving a few pieces of furniture behind is a great way to lighten your moving load, or you can pick up some cheap but presentable pieces from a thrift store. You can also hire a professional who will dress and stage your house for potential sales.

“No One Will Notice”

Yeah, they will. It doesn’t matter if it’s a leaky air conditioning duct or a poorly patched hole in the wall or a crack in the foundation—someone will notice, whether it’s a scrupulous home buyer or a meticulous inspector. If there is anything wrong with your home, there will be a person who spots it. You have one of two options: fix it or lower the asking price by a comparable amount. In the end, the truth will out and repairs must ensue, so being realistic about the issue will save you time and gray hair. Let there be no doubt—selling a home is a stressful and sometimes turbulent experience. Minding the common mistakes of selling will help ease the process and ensure that your new memories in your new home aren’t tainted by bitter memories of parting with your first.