When it comes to selling your home, it’s easy to believe it will be a simple process. You get it valued, decide on your asking price, and a flood of people come through the door, all wanting to move in as soon as possible and willing to pay over the odds. After all, you have been living in this beautiful house for years, and can’t imagine why anyone would turn down such a great place to live, right? Sadly, selling a home almost never happens the way we think it might. And there are a lot of pitfalls in the process that many fall for. In fact, research suggests that home sellers make up to three massive – and expensive – mistakes, and end up costing themselves a small fortune. So, take a look at the following common problems that can arise when selling a property, and be wary when the time comes to move on from your current home. Not only could they save you tens of thousands of pounds, but they will also help you iron out many of the kinks in the selling process. Let’s take a closer look.
Overpricing and underpricing the property
When it comes to making a valuation of your home, it’s easy to get things wrong. But failure to get the sweet spot is a huge mistake that could cost you serious money. There are a few things you should consider when pricing up the value of your home. First of all, you have to bear in mind that the local market dictates the value to some extent. You won’t sell a 4-bedroom house for a million bucks if the local going rate for similar properties is $500,000. Secondly, make sure you get a range of quotes from local realtors – some will bump up the valuation to try and attract your business, but ultimately, overvaluing your home will result in disappointment – and a long, long wait to sell. And finally, be careful not to undervalue your home, even if you want a quick sale. Do so, and you are quite literally handing over money to the buyers, which you will regret later in life.
Assuming you don’t need a professional
There are an enormous amount of ways to sell your home these days – far more than when people could only use a real estate agent. But you have to balance out the realtor’s experience and decide if it is worth paying the fees they charge, or alternatively, going it alone and end up selling your home for less than its real value. As Joe Manausa Real Estate points out, there are a lot of advantages of using a realtor. Not only do they have intimate knowledge of your local housing market, but they also have access to a lot of resources that can help you get more viewings and sell your home quicker. Sure, it is possible to take the DIY route when selling up – but only if you have plenty of experience, and the time on your hands to invest in creating listings, taking photos, and creating search-engine friendly content about your home that will help you attract potential buyers.
Selling ‘as is.’
When you decide to sell your home, never just put it on the market without attending to repairs, fixes, and damage. It will cost you more in valuation for a prospective buyer to find out there is a huge amount of work that needs doing, and you are more likely to achieve your asking price if everything is in good shape. Your best bet by far is to hire a home inspector or surveyor, to ensure that everything is in order, from the structural details through to the quality of plumbing and wiring. Also, be prepared to go through the house tooth and nail. Look for areas of disrepair – flaking paint, mold in your bathroom, and squeaky floorboards, for example – and fix them up. It’s these little things that eagle eyed buyers will be looking for, and can often put them off making an offer for your home. Ultimately, these small issues are seen as signs that you don’t really care about your property, and the viewer will have concerns that there may be other, more significant problems with the property. Don’t give them an easy excuse to try and start negotiating on price and make sure your home looks its best, and all the main issues have been addressed.
Showing a cluttered home
Similarly, it’s important to make sure your home is clean, tidy, and free from clutter. At the end of the day, people want to imagine living in your house, but if they can’t actually see it due to books, magazines, and paperwork piled up everywhere, it’s not going to end well. When there is a lot of clutter, the first thing people will think is that there are storage issues with your home – which is a major concern to the vast majority of individuals. So, declutter everything – even if it involves moving large swathes of your stuff into temporary storage. Go through your cupboard space too, and remove any evidence of overstuffing – it costs you very little in time and money and can often have a tremendous impact on the appearance of your home. However, under no circumstances should you show your home when it is empty. Most people are far more comfortable buying a home with signs of life, and nothing could be further from that than a miserable looking, empty house. As we discussed earlier, buyers want to imagine living in your home, and your possessions – from the bed to the living room couch – will help them picture what it is like far easier than it would be if they are confronted with bare rooms, walls, and floorboards.
Hiding important information from a prospective buyer might be tempting. After all, if you can save money by not having to fix and repair any damage, what have you got to lose? Unfortunately, it could cost you more than you might think. Many sellers end up paying huge amounts of money because they failed to disclose some of the major issues with the house. Plus, many prospective buyers hire their own home surveyors these days anyway, so the chances of selling up with problems remaining under wraps is unlikely at best. You should also bear in mind that your contract of sale is likely to include protections for the buyer, meaning you will end up paying for everything – probably at a higher rate – later on down the line anyway.
As with everything in life, timing is everything when it comes to selling up and moving on. There’s a lot to think about, from the current state of play in the local market through to the time of year you sell to minimize your exposure to taxes. Sometimes, it might be better for you to hold your hand of cards – if the current market is slow, for example. Equally, it’s important to be able to move fast to capitalize on recent increases in your local market. Selling a home is something of a gamble at the best of times, but if you can keep up to date with local house prices and are prepared to sell up at any time, you can often catch the crest of the wave when it comes to the market. With the tax issue, it’s all about the time of year you sell – and it could save you tens of thousands of dollars by playing a savvy game. If you don’t have a family accountant, we would suggest getting one, as they will be able to determine the most cost-efficient time to sell your home and make sure you play your hand accordingly.
We all get emotionally attached to our homes. After all, they become part of who we are, we get to know their little quirks and spend many happy days, months, and years ensconced within them. But as soon as you decide to sell up and move on, it’s best to cut those emotional ties. Your home is now a house – a business deal that is up for discussion. It’s a two-way conversation, too, so don’t assume that you will be able to demand a win-win situation for yourself. You won’t, and buying and selling a home is no place for your ego getting in the way. Ultimately, your home is only worth what someone else is willing to pay – not what you think. So, remove your ego and emotions from the transaction, listen to what the other party has to say, and use your brain – not your heart – to get the deal over the line.
Not confirming closing fees
Finally, make sure you have a thorough understanding of your agent’s fees. Failure to request a full list of expenses and fees before the day of closing the sale will leave you in an awkward – and disappointing – situation. Many home sellers end up spending thousands more than they need to, purely because they don’t understand their agent’s payment structure. If you leave it too long to discuss these terms, you will be left with no other choice to pay as it will be too far down the line to pull out.
We hope these tips help you avoid making one of the many home selling mistakes that could cost you a fortune – good luck!