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7 Common mistakes people make when selling a home

7 Common mistakes people make when selling a home


If you’re thinking of selling your house, I hope that my years of experience as a realtor can save you from making some of these mistakes, so that you can sell your home speedily and move on to where you need to be.


  1. Don’t sell your home while you have tenants, if you can help it

Unless you have dream tenants that keep your home as neat as a pin, it’s not advisable to list your home while you still have tenants living there. Unfortunately, the reality is that the tenants are not invested in getting your property sold and some may even be opposed to it. There have even been cases where tenants have refused to move out. However, even for those who don’t give you trouble about moving out, the house can be messy and cluttered which can be very off putting to potential buyers.


If you need the rental income and can’t afford to have the house or condo stand empty, chat to the tenants. Try to get them to cooperate with your needs for having prospective buyers view the home and be considerate to the tenants’ needs by giving at least 24 hours notice before a viewing..


  1. Not speaking to a listing agent before doing home renovations

As a seller you may be aware that renovating your home will increase the value of your property and help it sell. However, you could do renovations that don’t increase the value of the property, are not key when it comes to selling and turn out to be a waste of money. For example, lifting sections of the roof to add skylights in the main bedroom will not be as wise an investment as renovating an old bathroom or kitchen.



  1. Don’t paint your home before getting advice

You’ve probably always heard that a coat of paint is one of the cheapest ways to spruce up your home and make it more appealing to buyers. While this is entirely true, it’s important to browse through current magazines, chat to a listing agent or even an interior designer to get an idea of what colors are currently trending. 


You may feel that beige is a nice neutral tone and repaint your entire interior in the latest shade named ‘Gobi Dunes’ or ‘Dunmore Cream,’ but while that may have been in fashion in the 90s, that’s not necessarily the case today.


4. Don’t wait too long to put your house on the market

It’s a mistake to think that you can time the market. Sellers sometimes hang on to their property in the hope that prices will go up before selling – but timing the market correctly can be an impossible task.


There are some nuances in the housing market that you may have some control over. For instance, August is not a great time to put your house up for sale as people often travel at this time of year, while spring tends to be a good time to list your house. However, the very best time to sell is when you are ready and the time suits your personal circumstances.


To get a better understanding of the market, particularly in your area chat to a listing agent. If you are not in a hurry to sell, you can watch interest rates and also keep an eye on the inventory in your area. If there are fewer properties for sale in your area with the same amount of bedrooms, you have a better chance of getting top dollar. If there are three or four houses similar to yours on the market in your neighborhood, you may want to wait a while before listing.


5. Don’t over customize your house to your personal taste

If you’ve made home improvements or customized your home in a very personal way, this may not appeal to buyers. For instance, you may have painted a cartoon mural in your child’s room or perhaps you’ve turned the office into an art studio. 


It is your home to begin with and you would have tailored it to your taste, but when you are preparing to sell, it’s good to ask a listing agent for advice on how to make your home saleable by making it more impersonal and returning spaces into their intended function.



6. Not disclosing flaws and the past history of your home

Some people may try to hide past issues with their home such as leaks, damp or even structural damage when listing the house in the hope of getting a better price, or to avoid having to spend money on fixing the problem. This is not a good idea. These flaws are likely to be uncovered later after the buyer has done a proper inspection (in one case involving a home I worked on, the buyer brought in 15 inspectors).


A listing agent will help advise you on what to do so that there is a favorable outcome for both the seller and the buyer.


7. Don’t let your emotions overrule your head when negotiating with buyers

Although your home may hold many fond memories for you and you do want to get the best possible price when selling your nest, you need to try and remain impartial. 


Your listing agent will help you set a realistic selling price, based on a variety of factors. 

If your agent suggests that you list your home within a certain price range and you opt for listing at the higher end of that range, you may need to be negotiable when taking an offer from a prospective buyer.


If you let your emotions get in the way and refuse to negotiate or insist on listing at a price higher than the agent suggests, you might be disappointed and your home may take longer to sell. Even worse, you may find yourself in a position where you are under pressure to sell in a hurry and eventually you’ll have to drop your price, in order to make a sale, by more than what the agent suggested you list for in the first place.