You’ve listed your home and then faced problem after problem? Not the perfect home sale experience you anticipated! If you avoid the following 40 home sale mistakes, you can reduce your stress and problems during the process and ensure your home sells for a good price.

  1. Real Estate Agent Accepted Your Valuation of Your Home: Your real estate agent shouldn’t just accept your estimate of your home’s value. As an expert in home prices and your area, he or she should offer realistic pricing advice. You’re paying commission for his or her expertise. When the agent accepts your price, it’s “buying a listing.” If your price is inflated for the market, it can result in a price reduction down the road and potentially a lower final selling price.
  2. Wrong Pricing: This is the #1 mistake made when selling. With the help of your experienced real estate agent, you should choose a price appropriate to the size, condition, and location of your home. The right price should attract buyers.
  3. Accepted Home Valuation From Personal Circle Not Experts: Your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers aren’t experienced in selling and valuing homes. Trust the advice of an experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent.
  4. Accepted Zillow/Real Estate Website Home Valuation: Zillow’s home pricing algorithms can’t replace the knowledge of a real estate agent familiar and experienced with the homes in your area. They may help determine the pricing but don’t take a Zillow price as your definite sell price.
  5. Lack of Home Selling Process Knowledge: Your real estate agent should educate you about the home selling process so there aren’t any surprises or unexpected aspects. You should be ready for all the steps and understand what’s happening.
  6. Unprepared to Sell: You should make sure you’re actually ready to sell. You should have repaired, organized, and cleaned your home so that it is ready for staging.
  7. Home Repair Shortcuts: Repair your home in a quality way. Low-quality repairs and renovations may make potential home buyers question your selling price and request a reduction.
  8. Don’t Meet Deadlines/Timeframes: You need to complete certain tasks by specific dates. Deadlines and timeframes are important in order to meet contract requirements. It’s possible for home sales to fall through because of missed deadlines.
  9. Lack of Understanding of Importance of Deadlines/Timeframes: It’s your real estate agent’s responsibility to educate you about the timeline and the essential deadlines. Your agent should know the importance and urgency of contractual deadlines and keep you informed. Make sure you prioritize non-contractual deadlines as well. If you promise your agent information or to get something done, make sure you follow through.
  10. Avoided Inconveniences: Selling your home will be inconvenient at times. It’s not possible to structure the process to avoid any inconvenience as buyers will be visiting your home at unexpected times and days, your home must always be ‘show ready,’ and you need to be ready to answer questions and to deal with contracts. If you accept that there will be some temporary inconvenience, you’ll be done with the process more quickly.
  11. Poor Presentation and Marketing: Presentation and marketing involves work from both you and your real estate agent. Make sure you’ve prepared your home for showings. Your agent should take quality, professional photos, and then market it across the internet. If all of this doesn’t come together, it can take longer to sell your home or you might have to accept a lower price.
  12. Unstaged Home: Your home should be staged, either by you with your real estate agent’s guidance or by a professional stager. There should be a clear, visible use and focal point to your rooms and the furniture layout should flow together. A buyer should enter and find the home appealing.
  13. Potential Buyers Didn’t See Your Home: 90% of home buyers research for their perfect home online. Make sure that you choose a real estate agent with experience advertising homes successfully online so that your home is on buyers’ radar.
  14. Real Estate Agent Poor Communicator: If you select a real estate agent and then he or she stops responding to your calls and emails or keeping you informed, you should choose a new agent. Check your Real Estate Listing Agreement and fire your agent if he or she is not living up to communication responsibilities.
  15. Issues Communicating with Your Real Estate Agent: Selling your home is a time sensitive process. If you don’t return your agent’s calls and emails in a timely manner, you could jeopardize buyer viewings or the sale.
  16. At Home During Showings: When you’re home during a buyer showing, you can be questioned by the buyers and their real estate agents. Don’t get caught in an awkward situation. Try to leave your home during showings.
  17. Lack of Transparency with Your Real Estate Agent: Don’t keep secrets from your real estate agent hoping your house’s problems and issues will never be discovered. It’s better to be upfront with your agent.
  18. Real Estate Agent Not a Skilled Negotiator: It’s essential that your real estate agent have experience and skill negotiating home sales. You want to make sure you get the profit and concessions you want out of the deal as the buyers also try to get a great deal. Make sure your agent can effectively represent your interests.
  19. Real Estate Agent Not Skilled with Real Estate Contracts: It’s important you choose a real estate agent with experience and a strong understanding of the terms, conditions, and timelines of real estate purchase contracts. However, only a Real Estate Attorney can provide legal advice.
  20. Agreeable Not Advising Real Estate Agent: A real estate agent who just agrees with you and supports your decisions isn’t useful. You want someone who will fight for your interests but who also provides real estate advice and guidance at the same time.
  21. Won Your Home Sale: Selling your home shouldn’t be about crushing others. It’s better to play nice and consider compromise to get a good deal.
  22. Cluttered and Unorganized Home: Clutter detracts from the appearance of your house. It can make the rooms seem smaller and the amount of storage insufficient. You want to have clear counters in the kitchen and bathrooms while you are away from home, organized, not over-stuffed closets, and any excessive decorations stored away.
  23. Dirty and Messy Home: It’s important to keep your home clean, neat, and smelling fresh during the home selling process. Buyers should know that you take good care of your home and value it when they visit. A cared for home brings in higher selling prices. In addition, remember to leave yourself a little extra time to clear away your breakfast dishes before leaving for work. A messy home signals you don’t care about your home.
  24. Dim and Dark Home: Light and brightness makes a home look better. Make sure your light bulbs work, lights are on, and blinds are up.
  25. Very Personal Home: Your home probably reflects you with photos and knickknacks. However, buyers have a hard time envisioning themselves in your home if they are distracted by you and your family’s life. Put away the extremely personal elements such as photos and collections.
  26. Personal Statement Color Schemes: Neutralize bold, bright colors in your home to create a palate in which potential buyers can envision themselves adding their own personal flair.
  27. Lousy Photography: High quality photographs interest buyers and entice them into learning more about your home. Make sure that your real estate agent takes great photos that are well-lit, show a clean and organized home, and reflect all of your home’s amenities.
  28. Didn’t Know About the Lousy Photography: Don’t assume your real estate agent takes good photos of your home. Instead, ask to see the photography and marketing materials so you know how your home is being presented online.a
  29. Unwilling to Take Advice or Compromise: While selling your home, you can’t take a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude. You need to be willing to discuss and come to agreements. This may require giving a little to get a little.
  30. Un-vetted Potential Home Buyers: Make sure that your real estate agent reviews the potential buyer’s financial qualifications and ensures credit, income, and assets have been reviewed and are sufficient.
  31. Lack of Trust with Real Estate Agent: You need to choose a real estate agent you can trust, and then have faith and trust in him or her in order to successfully sell your home.
  32. No Moving Plan: With knowledge of the deadlines and timeline and the steps of the process, you should have a plan for preparing your home for each step, from readying it for showings to packing and moving by the closing date.
  33. No Family Moving Discussion: Your family and especially your children are directly affected by your move. Make sure you discuss the move with them and involve them in the process to reduce any emotional outbursts on their part.
  34. Negativity: “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” -Zig Ziglar
  35. Selling Your Home is a Whim: You need to be aware of what selling your home really means, it shouldn’t be a thought of a fleeting moment. You must plan and understand the home selling process.
  36. Emotional Attachment & Emotional Decisions: Selling your home is an emotionally charged decision and process as your home is the basis of many memories. However, you need to separate from your emotions during the process so they don’t color your decisions. It’s important to be guided by tried and tested home selling methods and not allow yourself to go in the wrong direction, ending in not selling or accepting a lower price.
  37. Uninspired Real Estate Agent: You want a real estate agent who loves his or her job and enjoys creating a great home selling process, avoiding common mistakes, and crafting a great deal for you. Make sure to interview your agent and know what you’re getting when you hire him.
  38. Technophobe Real Estate Agent: In the fast-changing, digital landscape, it’s important that you choose a real estate agent who is technically savvy and has a strong social media presence. Google your agent to be sure he has experience online, especially with internet marketing of the homes he sells.
  39. Real Estate Agent who can’t digitally market a home: Your real estate agent should have experience with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and knowledge about the internet marketing opportunities in order to be a skilled internet marketer. He should be continually educating himself on new processes and techniques to keep his homes on top of the market and in front of buyers. Don’t miss out on the 90% of buyers searching for homes online!
  40. Un-vetted Real Estate Agent: So many of these mistakes can be avoided if you pick the right real estate agent. Don’t be arbitrary when selecting, but use this list, interview agents and ask the right questions to pick a trusted, experienced agent who will work hard to deliver a successful sale.

This may seem like an extensive list but it is important to think about these items and prepare for them. You don’t want these mistakes to sabotage your perfect sale. Print this, pin it on Pinterest, email it, or share it with friends, just make sure that you review these mistakes and don’t fall into their traps. With this advice and an experienced, trustworthy real estate agent, you should be prepared for a smooth, successful home sale at a great price!

Call Adrienne or Frank at the Szabo & Manley Group today at 202-417-2058 with questions about selling your home in Washington, DC.