6 Mistakes Home Sellers Make

Family with "sold" house sign

Post from MilitaryByOwner

With variables like the housing market, buyers, and emotions, the home selling game changes every time you do it. Unfortunately, we don't have control over the market, potential buyers, or the home selling time frame as a military family. However, we do have control over our emotions and what we can do in preparation to sell our homes.

And by learning from others' mistakes, you can avoid some obvious missteps and reduce the chances of making your own.

1. Pricing incorrectly.

Overpricing your home is a huge mistake. It's okay to ask big on smaller items you sell on Facebook marketplace, Letgo, and other similar apps. Fewer buyers use the price filter for household items and seem to have no problem making a low-ball offer. But, with larger financial investments like buying a home, buyers set a budget and look for homes within the appropriate bracket. If yours is priced too high, then potential buyers might never see it.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, underpricing will likely excite house hunters but leave you out of pocket on your home sale. When pricing your home, consider the current market, how much you paid for the property, location, and condition of the home. You can also consult a professional who can offer a more educated estimate of your home's value.

2. Neglecting repairs.

Do a thorough walk-through of your home. Most buyers, especially PCS'ing military families, aren't looking for a big project in their next home purchase. They're likely searching for a move-in ready home that they can settle into quickly.

Addressing big problems in the home like torn flooring, fresh paint, holes in the wall, broken handles, and dead landscaping is a must. However, the more work you do around the home like replacing outdated appliances, fixtures, or renovating a bathroom or the kitchen will increase appeal and help you find a buyer faster. However, keep in mind how much you're spending and make sure that you can still come out on top financially. Beware of over-improvement! (For more on this, take a look at our list, "6 Over-Improvement Risks to Avoid When Renovating Your Home.")

3. Failing to stage.

One of the most important things to think about when listing your home, whether it's for sale or for rent, is staging. Staging your home has proven to reduce the amount of time your property sits on the market and increase the price at which it sells.

Before you put your home on the market, declutter, depersonalize, clean, and neutralize. Leaving unnecessary items lying around can make it difficult for potential buyers to envision their lives in the space. When buyers view your home online and take that first step through your door, they need to be able to visualize their own belongings. Unfortunately, leaving extra furniture and personalized decor in place can make that nearly impossible.

4. Using poor images for your home listing.

If there's anything as important as properly staging your home, it's including quality photos in your home listing. Why? Because the majority of home buyers house hunt online. And those buyers aren't fixating on your description, they're looking at photos of your home. Only after they decide your home looks appealing do they read the detailed description you included.

Hire a real estate photographer or start with these tips to help you capture your home at its best: use lots of natural light, a horizontal orientation, make sure the space is decluttered, point the camera at a corner, and use a wide angle lens!

5. Getting personal.

Selling a home is emotional. There are a couple of things that can trigger emotions to run high when we getting ready to sell:

  • We tend to form emotional attachments to the places we call home. We settle in and make memories. With all the places we call home as military families, saying goodbye can be hard.
  • It's a huge financial decision. Finances are one of the biggest stressors we face, and when we're worried about money--especially in a situation we can't entirely control, like selling a home--our emotions tend to run high.

Getting personal can cause you to overprice your home, scare away potential buyers, and become easily offended at low offers. But it's important to remember when buyers make a low-ball offer that it's not personal. They're simply trying to get the most for their money—just like you!

6. Not accommodating potential buyers.

If you aren't reachable, willing to bend over backward to show your home, or friendly, you're going to have a difficult time finding buyers who want to work with you. It's important to answer your phone, return calls/emails/texts in a timely manner, and flex your schedule.

You can't think of potential buyers as bothersome. You're in the sales business now!

You're going to learn something new each time you sell a home. You're going to make mistakes and avoid others (hopefully the ones listed above!). And while each home sale is different, we hope that each one is equally successful. If you've decided to sell your home before your upcoming PCS, MilitaryByOwner is here to help with countless home selling resources and advertisement packages to get your home out in front of house hunters.

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