Seven Slip-Ups Home Sellers Should Circumvent No Matter What

Have you heard of the saying, “A good beginning, makes a good ending?” Well, that is beyond true to grasp this concept in the home selling process. 

It goes without saying that a seller is looking to get as much profit from their home sale as they can.  But if in doing so shortcuts are made the seller can actually end up doing more harm than good and not have the sale they were looking for. 

So, what are some of those common blunders a home seller often makes?

Number 1: Using the cheapest finishes possible.

Nothing says phoned in like cheap finishes and it immediately draws attention to the buyer saying, ‘bad remodeling job’ here.  If your seller cannot afford to use a qualified craftsman or higher grade materials, it’s best just to leave it as is. 

Both buyers and their agents can see when an attempt to gloss over a problem has been made, especially if they are up-close and personal and using inexpensive laminate or fake granite still says re-do to the buyer and does not do what was intended by the seller, to garner more money in the sale.

Number 2: Not replacing outdated major structures/systems

A Seller might think it is fine to sell a home ‘as-is’ with original air-conditioning, water heater, and roof because most assume that is up to the buyer to handle once purchased.  But a seller should expect to remedy these insufficiencies when either there are no offers made or offers made that reflect the cost taken out of the bottom line of what a future buyer sees it will cost to replace said items. If the roof has less that 5 years useful life, a new buyer will not be likely to bind insurance which means they can’t obtain a mortgage to purchase the property. 

What is potentially even worse is a home inspection highlighting these issues and the deal falls apart out of concern of the home being a money-pit and the buyer walks away.  The home-seller will have to deal with these issues as the likelihood of them being brought up again are high. Typical results are a significantly lowered price in order to sell.

Number 3:  Trying to sell a home with projected deal breakers 

Is the house built prior to 1970 and has original wiring or plumbing?  This worries buyers because they can see future problems (or even already occurring problems just not spoken).  These issues can be an expensive fix and make it hard for a buyer to obtain proper insurance and even if they can get it, it is more costly. 

This also goes for structures that have been built without obtaining the proper permits. When a seller does not obtain the proper permitting for adding square footage, the buyer’s appraiser will catch this issue and deduct from the appraised value. The appraiser will then deduct the cost to remove the extra square footage the seller was hoping to account an increased value. If there is an unpermitted addition, reach out to the governing municipality and try to get it permitted retroactively.  

Number 4:  Being hesitant to say no, or negotiate offers

Home-sellers who either cast-off or will not discuss an offer more times than not turn around and sell the home for much less down the line.  If neither party is willing to budge sometimes just a few thousand can break a sale…this is when a seller feels like they are ‘giving the home away’ and a buyer is at their highest and best…But when this happens who wins in this scenario?  A potential home buyer can go and find other options but a home-seller has now essentially bought back their home for the difference of cost in the failed discussion…now they will also have to add in the ongoing cost until the home actually is sold. So, was it worth it?

Number 5: Overvalue

This can actually be the worst as overpricing a home can discourage potential home buyers from even looking at the house and making an offer for it.  Buyer’s have a ton of resources to educate themselves on values and can spot an overpriced home easily. The old way of thinking, ‘they can always make an offer’ does not always produce the desired end result and buyers (and agents alike) just simply avoid the home altogether if it doesn’t make sense at first glance.  

Usually, it takes months for a seller to realize and accept this and by then they have lost serious time and during that stalemate, a ton of inventory that is priced accordingly has become available making buyers pay attention to them, rather than an unrealistic priced home…now the issue become days on market. When a buyer sees a home that’s been on the market for a while, three things happen.

  1. The buyer thinks the seller is more motivated so they are likely to offer less
  2. The buyer feels they are not competing with anyone else
  3. The buyer starts thinking, what’s wrong with this house?

To determine the proper asking price, it is VERY important to hire an agent with a data-driven approach that has extensive market experience.

Number 6: Do-It-Yourself Repairs

We totally understand why it is appealing to not want to have to deal with contractors, or maybe have a chance to replace something at a lower cost than if you hired someone to do it.  But if the craftsmanship is not professional grade, it’s not going to appeal to a future buyer. Assume that those areas will be questioned by the trifecta; Agents, buyers, and home inspectors.  Even if you have the knowledge to do the work, this does not always translate to buyers and they may see the need to have a professional come in and fix the work. Bottom line; hire the appropriate profession if you’re unable to do a quality job because it can actually end up costing a seller more in the end.

Number 7:  Moving without Movers

On the note of the pitfalls of a do-it-yourself, a good word of advice is to hire professional help when moving.  Issues can creep up; injuries could occur or a delay in picking up the moving van, or the truck you rented had a problem, or the move takes longer than expected, leaving no time to clean the home thoroughly. I’ve seen scenarios where it’s inching close to midnight on closing day with still no end in sight for the seller. A house or garage left with clutter when the walkthrough happens with the buyer causes the buyer to have anxiety and could cause closing delays. This leads to the seller having to call in the cleanup-Calvary at the last minute…which can be very expensive…so much for trying to save a few dollars.  

Sometimes, knowledge is the best educator for these kinds of lessons.  Ask an experienced home seller how they would handle these situations again, and their answers will most likely be changed from how they answered them before. 

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