5 Unforgivable Sins When Selling Your Property
Alright, these are not really unforgivable sins, but committing any of these mistakes will have a significantly negative effect on the success of selling your home – whether in its selling price, the time taken to sell, or on your own energy and anxiety levels. Make it easier on yourself in this stressful time by taking our advice on how to avoid these common yet easily preventable errors.
Selling your home at the wrong time
The real estate market is no exception to the homily that everything changes. Fluctuations in the market may be predictable, as in fewer people buy homes in winter or when the interest rate is high, or unpredictable, as when there is less available capital or many people locally put their homes up for sale at the same time. These factors are usually out of your control but if you are aware of them, you can select the best time to put your property on the market. Ideally, you would put up your “For Sale” sign in the spring or summer and hope for a low interest rate and only a few homes (if any) in your neighbourhood for sale in competition to yours. Awareness and patience are needed here.
Over-pricing your home
Placing the appropriate price on your home will attract the most potential buyers and help to seal a deal. Deciding on that number is not just a matter of looking at the value of your home and choosing a number close to that; other factors come into play as well. The selling price of comparable homes in your neighbourhood, how many other properties are for sale, how well maintained your home is, its exact location, the time of year, how quickly you have to sell, how long your property has been on the market and yet other factors all affect the price you should be asking.
This is where the knowledge and experience of your real estate agent is an essential asset. If you are in a seller’s market with few homes for sale, your agent may even suggest that you under-price your home to encourage a bidding war. You can get a quick estimate of your home’s market value as well as the opportunity to consult with local real estate agents using Wowa’s Property Valuation Tool.
To be clear, selling your own home is acceptable if you’re a real estate agent, but even then your emotional attachment to your home may get in the way of your objectivity. For the rest of us, hiring a real estate agent is an efficient way to obtain the knowledge, skills and contacts needed for a smooth and successful sale. But not just any real estate agent; you want an established agent with experience and a proven track record in selling your type of property in your area. Such an agent acts as your guide through the process, showing your home to its best advantage, avoiding obstacles and solving problems when necessary.
Leaving your stuff around
If you look around your home right now, it tells the story of your life there. Photos, pet hair, toys underfoot, maybe a saggy couch in the basement and mismatched towels in the bathroom. This is honest, but potential buyers want to see the story of their lives in your home. Better yet, the story of their ideal life in the space. And this is where staging comes in.
In staging, you remove everything from your home that does not show it in its best light or for its intended use. Once again, your real estate agent can help here. If similar properties in your neighbourhood are bought by young families, then your furniture and décor should reflect how a young family would live in the space. If an older couple might move in instead, put the toys away and bring out the craft supplies and the golf clubs.
Staging has such a huge effect on people’s perceptions of your home and then on its selling price that there are companies that will come and stage your home for you. They may even suggest that you repaint your walls a neutral colour if you have had a love of bright colours or even temporarily bring in new furniture and accessories. Packaging your home so potential buyers can see themselves, and not you, living there is what this is all about.
Not doing any repairs
Buyers understand that there will always be wear-and-tear on a home but they do not want to buy one that looks as if the current owners have not maintained it well. It is not enough to clean and declutter your home prior to showing it to potential buyers; make sure that you have made any small repairs needed. Check around for nicks out of paintwork and woodwork; cracked tiles in the bathroom and kitchen; loose floorboards and holes in carpets – anything that even hints at neglect and “not caring.” Your home does not have to be perfect but it does have to look well-loved.
You don’t have to have money on hand to make repairs and renovations – you can take advantage of your home equity and borrow cheaply from your home. You can find out how much you could potentially qualify for using Wowa’s HELOC calculator. Most of the time, the added value to the property price would be far more than the amount you spend, giving you more profit at the end too!
There are many factors that go into a successful sale, but these are five mistakes that any seller can avoid in order to make their selling process as smooth as possible.
Have a piece of advice or a story about the last time you sold your home? Leave a comment below!