4 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home

Young bearded father placing For sale sign into ground near house while putting house up for sale.
shironosov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The past couple of years have been a hot seller’s market, but many recent home sellers (90%) say they have regrets about how they handled the process, according to a recent Clever Real Estate survey. These regrets run the gamut from the timing of their sale to who they worked with to sell their home.

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Here’s a look at some of the most common sources of seller’s remorse, and what you can do to avoid them if you’re planning on putting your home on the market.

Not Making Repairs Before Listing

The most common regret among recent sellers was not making repairs before putting their homes up for sale, with 25% saying they regret this decision.

“Making repairs is important because homes in good condition increase in value and attract more buyers,” said Jaime Seale, data writer at Clever Real Estate. “To avoid this regret, look for easy fixes and upgrades that will increase your home’s appeal. Simple repairs like touching up paint or replacing outdated cabinet hardware can make a major difference to buyers.”

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Not Finding a New Place To Live Before Selling

Sellers looking to capitalize on the hot market may have sold before finding a new place to live. Doing so was also a top regret among recent sellers, with 25% saying they regret this decision.

While it’s ideal to buy a new home before selling a new one, this can be difficult to time correctly.

“If sellers can’t coordinate the timing of their transactions or afford two mortgages, the best option is probably a leaseback agreement in which they pay the purchaser rent to remain in the home for a set period of time,” Seale said. “This requires flexibility on the part of the buyer, but about 25% of recent homebuyers allowed sellers to stay in the home after closing, according to our data. This is a huge perk for sellers, who won’t have to pay for multiple moves and will have more time to find a home.”

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Agent-Related Regrets

The person you work with to sell your home can have a big impact on how you feel about the process. Twenty-one percent of recent sellers said they should have chosen a different agent, and an additional 20% said they felt the realtor fees were too high.

“If you’re concerned about the price, there are low-commission real estate agents who provide many of the traditional services for a reduced rate,” Seale said. “Others will simply list your home for a flat fee. Talk to multiple agents to find the one who’s right for you.”

Although finding the right agent can take some time, it’s usually better than attempting to go through the process alone.

“It’s worth noting that 21% of sellers who did not use an agent wish they had hired one,” Seale said.

Regrets About Timing

Many sellers had regrets about the timing of their listings, with 24% saying they wish they had waited longer to list and 20% saying they waited too long to list.

“Many sellers find that real estate agents are worth the price and can help protect them from mistakes that will lead to regret,” Seale said. “Agents have insider information about the local market. They can help sellers determine the right time to put their home on the market and give them a realistic sale timeline so they can better plan their move. That’s an invaluable resource when 44% of sellers struggled with when to list their home.”

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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