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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

By Thomas Mitchell

Selling your home right now can be tough. The market is saturated with foreclosed homes and increasingly stringent lending qualifications which thins out potential buyers, and can make a first time seller hesitant to even before listing. Here are five common mistakes people make when selling their house, along with some tips on how you can avoid them.

Pricing Too High

Pricing your home too high to start is a mistake made all too often by sellers. If your asking price is too high, your house could potentially sit on the market for months without getting a second look. If working with an agent, listen to their advice on appropriate pricing range. The agent you're working with should produce a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) report to accurately assess how much you should ask for your home. A realistic price range makes it more likely you'll sell in a reasonable amount of time.

Selling By Yourself

Another mistake you should avoid is selling your home by yourself. While it could be profitable to you to sell your home as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) and avoid paying a commission to a listing agent, you should first consider your level of knowledge of a real estate transaction, and how much time your schedule allows for arranging showings, setting up open houses, receiving and responding to offers, and negotiating. Under-and-over pricing are also common slip-ups committed when going it alone. Agents also possess Errors and Omission insurance to cover anything they may have misrepresented or left out. Unless you have the proper time and experience, there are a lot of risks you are taking by not using an agent.

Neglecting Needed Repairs

If your home needs crucial repairs, don't ignore them while trying to sell your home. If parts of your home are in an obvious state of disrepair, it makes you look bad and will get you lower offers, as potential buyers include the costs of those repairs in their offers. In some cases it may even scare away a potential buyer. Clean your house thoroughly, and make any needed repairs before you start trying to sell your house.

Difficultly in Access

Making your house difficult for buyers to see is another critical mistake to avoid. If it's cluttered and dirty, buyers aren't going to have the same impression as they would in a neat and tidy house. Potential buyers want to envision themselves living in your home, and if your stuff is clogging up all the space around the house they can't do that. Don't try to show off your personal belongings. Tidy up and keep it presentable. Flexibility is also crucial -- simply put, buyers must be able to get in to your home to view it. Whether working with a list agent or selling it on your home, make sure you maintain flexibility to allow prospective buyers to get in.

Lack of Marketing

The last mistake many sellers make is to not market their home enough. These days there are a plethora of options for connecting with potential buyers. Beyond just placing the home in your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), you can place For Sale signs, host an open house, let your agent show your home to groups of buyers (or brokers representing buyers), and advertise on non-MLS "bulletin board" sites such as craigslist. The more of these tools you use, the faster your results will come.

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