It’s time to sell your home. Maybe you’re excited for a change or a move to a bigger home. On the other hand, perhaps you don’t want to move, but circumstances such as work or a lifestyle change have dictated that you do. Either way, you’re looking at a stressful road ahead for the next several weeks. What can you do to make listing your home less painful?
Start by avoiding these nine mistakes, and you’ll be on the path to a successful sale.
- Timing is everything, yet often you may not have the luxury of deciding when to place your home on the market. Though spring and early fall have the reputation as being the most favorable listing months, don’t assume that your home is a lost cause if you have to list it in February. Often, buyers are less distracted in the less busy months, and—with fewer homes typically on the market—yours will have less competition.
- Emotions run high when it’s time to sell your home. Don’t let them run away with reason and common sense. You may find it helpful to start by packing up more personal items such as family photos and memorabilia. This will not only make your home feel less tied to you, but will also help enable potential buyers to imagine themselves living there. And remember not take feedback from others personally; just because you love the layout of the kitchen or the color you painted the bedroom doesn’t mean that everyone will. It’s okay.
- Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the costs involved in selling a home or worse yet, ignore your broader financial situation. You may think it’s a great time to sell because the market is strong, homes are selling quickly in your neighborhood, and/or you envision making a large profit on the sale. Even if any or all of these conditions exist, you must also consider how much a new home will cost, the amount of moving expenses, the cost of a realtor’s commission (if you use one, which we highly recommend), the payoff owed on your existing mortgage, and the possibility having to pay capital gains tax.
- One of the stronger arguments in favor of working with professional realtors is their ability to set a strategic yet realistic price for your home. Though it’s tempting to aim high, listing your home for an unrealistically-high price can result in having it sit on the market for months, causing buyers to wonder what’s wrong with it. A skilled realtor familiar with your market knows the sweet spot for pricing your home; trust them.
- In this day of Zillow and Redfin searches, most buyers narrow their searches and compile a Short List before ever stepping foot into a house. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking that you can snap a few pics on your phone for the listing and call it good. Your realtor should have professional photos taken to show your property to best advantage. Still need convincing? Take a look at some online listings yourself and you’ll quickly spot the difference.
- We’ve established that selling a home is inconvenient and aggravating, at best. Accepting that your life will be turned upside-down in the short-term will save your sanity in the long-term. Don’t drag your feet when your realtor wants to book showings or an open house—remember you want to get as many eligible buyers into your home as possible, even if it’s during your 2-year-old’s naptime. And for heaven’s sake, don’t hang around for client showings! Potential buyers won’t feel as comfortable touring your home if they know the homeowner is there.
- In all likelihood you already have a homeowner’s insurance policy, but before listing you’ll want to make certain that it’s up-to-date and that you’re insured against visitors who may have an accident on your property (and try to sue you for damages). Better yet, prevent potential accidents by taking such measures as removing possible trip hazards, keeping pets locked up or off the property, and locking the gate around the pool.
- Often, when you’ve lived in a home for many years, its idiosyncrasies and flaws tend to become commonplace and you no longer notice them. Don’t make the mistake of not looking at your home with fresh eyes before putting it on the market. Something that you’ve become accustomed to, such as a dripping faucet or squeaky door, may actually be a repair that needs attention. Buyers will notice details like these in your home and think that bigger maintenance issues have been neglected, as well.
- You’ve put in the effort and gone through the inconveniences associated with showing your home; now your work has paid off and you have offers in hand! It’s enticing to take the highest offer off the top and sign on the dotted line. Before you do, however, you should know that the highest offer isn’t always the one that’s in your best interest. Look for conditions such as contingencies (conditions that much be satisfied for the sale to close, such as the sale of an existing home or an inspection contingency). Is the offer a cash deal, or is it contingent upon the buyer qualifying for a loan? What inclusions, if any, is the buyer asking to go with the sale of the home? Does the buyer’s proposed closing timeline meet your expectations and needs? Your realtor will help compare the offers to determine which is in your best interest.
If building a new home is in your future, you should know that Sheffield Homes has been building custom and semi-custom homes in the greater Denver metro area for more than 40 years. We bring experience, expertise, and integrity to the table and would love to work with you to design your forever home. Call us at 303-420-0056.