Last Updated March 29, 2023
Today’s real estate market is hot, especially here in Florida. As a result, there are many homeowners who are considering selling their house in Florida. But are you ready to sell your house? You might feel like you are – but there is a chance you could be overlooking some important things. The fact of the matter is, certain home selling mistakes could cost you thousands of dollars!
What are some of the biggest mistakes when selling a house? In order to help you prepare to sell your home and avoid some of these mistakes that homeowners make, we have compiled here what we feel are the top 16 mistakes when it comes to selling your house. Read on to learn more about how you can avoid making these mistakes and get the most for your home sale.
1. Not Understanding the Total Cost of Selling
Let’s face it: selling a house will usually put money in your pocket (if you aren’t upside down) – but it will also cost you a little bit as well. We’re talking about costs, commissions, and concessions that will take a little bit of cash from the sale. Many of these costs are unavoidable, and other optional costs are worth it to save yourself the headache, such as working with a real estate agent to tackle the marketing, negotiating, bringing buyers to you, etc.
But there are other fees that go along with the sale of your home too. When you add it all up, the average cost of selling a house is 10% of its value.
That number includes various costs such as taxes and recording fees as well as staging, cleaning, and other demands that come before the sale takes place. It may seem like a bit much, but many of these costs are simply unavoidable. Don’t make the mistake of selling a home without understanding its real cost.
2. Making Unnecessary and Costly Renovations
The old saying ” you need to spend money to make money” can also apply to real estate, especially when you are selling your home. But, you don’t need to go broke when you do so. Paying excess for renovations you don’t need (which don’t bring value to the home) is one of the home selling mistakes that you should be aware of.
This is actually a big mistake, because some homeowners jump into an expensive renovation thinking it will bring them more money from a sale. But the fact is, only certain things add value to a home. And it’s possible you could be spending money on something that will actually not increase your home value – and that’s essentially just wasted money!
If you do plan to make some repairs to the home that are necessary, don’t delay! If you need to fix something before selling the house, you should do it as soon as possible. This prevents excessive damage that could potentially increase repair costs later.
Remember: you should only make necessary renovations. If the roof is about to fall on your head, call the repair guy and get it fixed. On the other hand, if there’s a small scratch on the wall, there’s no need to repaint the entire house.
Be smart about renovations. Think about the costs and rewards before you do anything, and you’ll thank yourself later.
3. Setting an Unrealistic Price
Speaking of making money, there’s one silly way to not earn a single cent: pricing yourself out of the market.
Here’s the problem with coming up with a price to sell your house: the seller wants to get as much money as possible; the buyer wants to spend as little money as possible.
Most home property owners believe that their houses are valued more than they really are, leading to setting an unreasonably high price for the market. This is not an isolated case, in fact, it’s quite common. It’s understandable especially if the homeowner has sentimental value for the home, or if they have made a lot of personal improvements over time to the house.
But again, sometimes those personal improvements don’t actually add value.
The other factor is that the market can change, and sometimes it changes fast. One of the very best ways to get a true assessment of your home’s worth is to pull up comps for similar homes in your neighborhood and see what they are currently selling for. A CMA or Competitive Market Analysis can provide you with this data and help you get a clearer picture on what a fair price in today’s market would be for your home.
** Find out what your home is worth now — Get your FREE Home Value Report Here! **
4. Getting Emotional About It
The minute you list your house for sale, it ceases to be your home. Instead, it becomes just a property in your name. And you have to treat it as such unless you want to make the home selling process painful on your end.
Why is that? Well, the reason is simple: emotional connection.
Not cutting emotional ties with the house is one of the home selling mistakes that homeowners fail to acknowledge. If you find yourself being emotional about the process, you should take a step back and reflect on whether you want to sell or not. Sometimes, would-be sellers would think twice about selling because of the emotional attachment with the house. Storing away family pictures, making small renovations, and moving out while the house is listed will help you detach yourself from the property and ease the process.
5. Solely Considering the Highest Offer
As you already know, sellers want to get as much revenue off the sale as possible. Similarly, buyers want to spend as little funds as they can. But, what if a buyer is outbidding everyone else by a wide margin?
Well, sometimes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
When someone offers an unbelievably high price for the house that you are selling, they might be desperate to buy the house for whatever reason, and they tend to make wild offers that are impossible to back up. For example, during the recent Florida real estate market craze people were offering far above asking price. While it might have seemed like a dream come true to buyers, the reality is that some of these deals didn’t go through because of bank appraisals falling short, among other things.
The lesson here is to don’t burn any bridges, no matter how good that top offer looks. You need to keep your options open. And sometimes the highest offer is not always the best offer.
6. Selling to an Unqualified Buyer
You might believe you have an ideal buyer right in front of you – but beware of someone who is holding nothing but empty promises. That’s what an unqualified buyer truly is.
While you can never be 100% sure that a deal will go through, it’s best to do what you can to minimize the chances of selling to an unqualified buyer. One of the first things you can do as a seller is to only accept offers that come along with a pre-approval letter from a lender that the buyer is qualified for financing. A pre-approval letter doesn’t mean it’s a done deal, but at least it means the buyer has passed the first initial step with a bank.
If an offer comes to you with cash, then many sellers will require some type of “proof of funds” that shows the buyer really does have the cash to buy the property.
7. Ignoring (or Hiding) Major Repairs
Hiding major repairs from a potential buyer is never a good idea.
First of all, it’s a matter of ethics. You shouldn’t sell a house, or anything else for that matter, under false pretenses. Second, you may not get away with it and it could come back to bite you later on in the deal.
Most buyers will ask for a home inspection before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy your house. Before you know it, the pipe issues you thought you could hide will be out in the open.
The smart and ethical move here is either to make repairs yourself before listing your home or be transparent and disclose the issues up front. If you do the latter, the price will go down – but you may not have to spend a dime doing those repairs yourself. Transparency may make your selling price lower, but at least your integrity as a seller is intact.
8. Not Preparing Your Home to Sell
You need to set the stage before the action takes place. To do that, you need to clean, prepare, and organize the house so anyone who comes to take a look will be wowed and be ready to put in an offer!
Here are the four things you need to address when preparing to sell your house:
- Too much clutter: Let potential buyers come and check out the place easily – not have them go through an obstacle course. Try to keep the things on display to a minimum, and create an open house event that is free-flowing and easy on the eyes.
- Dirt: You should clean every time someone comes to check out your property. It might seem like a lot of work, but it should be worth it.
- Strange colors or flashy decor: When it comes to preparing your home to sell, avoid anything off-putting or distracting. The house should be the main attraction when you’re trying to make a sale. Crazy colors and strange decor can really turn people off right away!
- Not staging (inside & outside): Show the buyer where (and how) they can live if they decide to buy. To do that, you need to stage the house right. You can sometimes do this with your own furniture, or perhaps hiring a company to stage the house with furniture in a tasteful and trendy way.
Not staging your house properly (either on your own or with a professional) is another major mistake when selling your house. You may think that this is just an added task or expense on your end, but home staging can actually make or break a sale. Think about it: a first impression always lasts. Furthermore, you need to help the potential buyers visualize what they can do with the space.
9. Using Bad Photos
This is a huge pet peeve for us — because we can’t tell you how many horrible photos we’ve seen online for homes that are for sale. It’s mind-boggling really! At least 97% of buyers seek the internet to find their future homes. Living in a time of social media and Instagram, we all know photos matter a lot.
Thanks to digital transition, real estate agents have made the selling process easier by posting properties for sale online. That’s where buyers can look for their property purchase. You need to make a wonderful impression, and it’s impossible to do that if you have bad photos.
No matter how beautiful your house is, it’s not going to catch anyone’s attention online if the photos you have do not have the appeal.
You don’t need to be a pro to take good photos, all you need is a clean home, good lighting and proper angles. If you’re not confident about knowing the proper angles, you can always hire a professional photographer.
And if you work with a great real estate agent, they should be able to provide you with professional photos of your home.
10. Trying to Sell On Your Own / Not Working With a Real Estate Agent
So far, we have talked about choosing the right price, preparing your home, negotiating, marketing with good photos, etc.. and a few other important aspects.
Everything we have talked about is what an experienced real estate agent would easily know and handle with their expertise. Each real estate market is a world of its own. Real estate agents know more than anyone else exactly what it will take to sell your home and get you the most out of it.
You might think you can sell your house by yourself and save that commission. Or, perhaps, you want to hire a friend who will work for a discounted rate. If that’s the case, then think again. You might be committing one of the biggest home-selling mistakes there is.
Your agent will be the difference between selling right, selling wrong, and not selling at all. It’s that one person that will help you with legal documents, issues that could come up during the sale, and the aftermath. It’s also really helpful to have a person in the middle during the negotiation process!
Lastly, the National Association of Realtors reported that in 2020 the average For Sale By Owner home (no real estate agent) typically sold for $217,900 compared to $295,000 for agent-assisted home sales. That’s a $70,000 dollar difference!
In the end, when you add up the savings of time, headache, and add in the expertise and increased sale price that a real estate agent can bring, the commission rate is a bargain deal if you really think about it!
11. Setting Limited Showings and Inflexible Schedules
Letting strangers inside your house is not an easy thing to do. That’s why the faster that you can sell it, the better it is for you to move on and look forward.
One thing that will make you sell faster is allowing people to come in at all times.
Now, let’s not get crazy. You shouldn’t schedule an open house at three in the morning. But, you should be more than willing to show the house during weekdays and, more importantly, during weekends when most people are available.
Don’t limit your open house events to a number of dates on the calendar. The more hours you show the house, the faster it’ll sell.
We can tell you from personal experience that not being able to get in to view a home is frustrating, as both buyers ourselves and working in the industry too. We’ve wanted to view homes and the agents couldn’t get a hold of the owner. Or there is a renter and the owner can’t get a hold of them! We’ve also experienced crazy-limited times to view a house, which didn’t work with our schedules.
Limited viewing times really can cost a seller when it comes to selling their home. Keep this in mind that you need to try and be as accommodating as possible.
12. Being Home During a Showing
Oh my — just don’t do it!!! It’s awkward for potential buyers to look around when the owner is present during an open house.
No matter how charismatic you are, people will visit your house to figure out if they like it and, more importantly, if they see themselves living there. And, that’s hard to do if the current owner is sitting right in the kitchen, and having coffee like it’s just a normal day.
It’s no surprise that lurking inside the house during an open house event is included in our list of home selling mistakes. Do this and you may end up not selling the house at all.
Most experts recommend owners move out of the house until they can sell it.
But moving out isn’t mandatory, or feasible for some people. So at a minimum, whenever someone is coming to see the house, you can just go out for that coffee – there’s no need to live in a hotel for months.
13. Getting Offended with Low Offers
You need to adopt a business attitude when you list your house. Remember, buyers are usually going to want to pay as little as possible. Keep this in mind when offers come your way.
It is possible that you will have some low offers come your way. Perhaps these offers will make you question how much they want your home, or perhaps they just don’t value your home the way that you do. However, it also could be that it’s all that they could offer and are hoping they will get lucky.
The truth is, the negotiation aspect is a huge part of selling or buying a house. Unfortunately, buyers can put themselves out of the picture by bidding too low – the same way you can price your home too high and be out of the market.
So, don’t take it personally if a low offer comes your way. Think of it as a starting point for a negotiation. A good real estate agent knows this and can help you during the negotiation process. The goal is to arrive at a deal that’s good for both parties.
If no deal can be struck, then don’t stress about it. Just move on to the next. Especially if a buyer is being unreasonable, there is no need to accept a low offer if you (and your real estate agent) know you can get a better offer.
14. Negotiating Poor Deals
Negotiating is so important, we just have to repeat it here. Negotiating is the key aspect of making a real estate sale.
When a buyer makes you an offer, it’s time to sit down and talk numbers. Even if that offer was too low, there is always room for negotiation. You should always try to negotiate. Not negotiating is a critical mistake for home sellers.
You can negotiate on many things, not just the price. Things such as escrow amounts, inspection periods, closing dates, furniture, repairs, etc. can all be negotiated as a part of the deal. These types of negotiations are especially valuable if it is a competitive market.
15. Not Attempting to Make the Deal Work (repairs, concessions, etc.)
Settling on the price is only half the job. Once both parties have agreed on a number, you still have to make the transaction happen – and that can be tougher than you can expect.
From house inspections to costs and fees, there’s a lot of room for disagreement when selling a house. The important thing is that you try to make the deal go through.
You’re going to have to win some and lose some when it’s time to seal the deal. It’s either that or you go back to square one.
For example, perhaps your buyer’s inspection found some issues with the home. Maybe these are not critical to the home’s safety or function, but they will cost the buyer money. The buyer could ask for a credit or ask for the repairs to be made. While it’s true that a seller could refuse, saying that these are not critical to the home. However, there is something to be said for wanting to work together and make the deal work. Otherwise, you risk having the deal fall through and then having to start all over again finding a buyer.
Sometimes just finding a way to make it work is faster and better in the long run just so you can move on.
16. Not Considering Your Post-Home Living & Financial Situation
Another major consideration is making sure you have somewhere to move after you sell your home. It’s possible that you might have already bought a home and need to sell your current one, or maybe you are moving to a new city and know that you will rent for a while. Everyone’s situation is different. But it’s critical that you know what your plan will be and how much money you will need to move on.
Remember, selling a home has costs associated with it. So you need to be sure that whatever you come out of the deal with will be enough to help you in your next stage of your life – whether you are renting or buying.
This is especially a consideration during a hot real estate market, like what we have been experiencing here in Florida. The great thing about being able to sell your home at a premium is that you can make some good money off of it. The downside is that if you are planning to buy another home, you will likely need to pay a premium on that one too!
Make sure you have crunched the numbers to ensure you are making enough off of your house to make it worth it. The goal is for you to be better off and happier after you sell your home as you move on to new things!
Considering Selling Your House in Florida?
If you are thinking about selling a home in Florida, be sure that you don’t make any of these major home selling mistakes! And if you want to chat with someone about listing a home, don’t hesitate to reach out us to see how our team can help!