Selling Your Own Home: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

It’s not really that common to see home listings that are for sale by owner (FSBO) because very few homeowners opt to sell their property without the representation of a qualified professional, which is to say, a real estate agent. Of course, there is some appeal to the prospect of going it alone. You will be able to avoid some of the fees incurred by using a selling agent, meaning that you have the potential to earn more on the sale of your home. But you will miss out on the valuable guidance that this trained and experienced professional can provide. That said, you can certainly choose to go it alone. You’ll simply have to do some research to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row so that your sale occurs within the scope of law and that you don’t get taken in the process. Along those lines, here are just a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when you opt to sell your own home.

  1. Listing too soon. There are several things you’ll need to do to prepare for listing your home. In addition to getting it ship shape and looking clean and new, you have to prepare for the fact that it will be difficult to live there during the sale process. You’ll probably have to lose some of your furniture and home goods, for one thing, in order to create the clutter-free, model interior that will entice prospective buyers. Pets will have to go elsewhere, as well. And you’ll have to make the home available for showings and likely remove your family when the home is being viewed. You’ll also have to keep the house impeccably clean and ready to show at a moment’s notice. This can be stressful overall, but it definitely requires some amount of preparation, so you really shouldn’t list until you’re certain you’re ready for it.

  2. Listing at the wrong time. Even if you feel you’re ready to put your home on the market, the market may not be right for selling your property. You obviously want to wait for a seller’s market so that you have the best chance of getting the price you want. If you want to list your house right now, regardless of the season or the state of the economy or the real estate marketplace, you have to be prepared for the fact that it may not get any nibbles, or that offers will come in far below what you anticipate.

  3. Neglecting to have an inspection. Most lenders require a home inspection before they will approve an application for a prospective buyer, and they’ll pay for it. So you might not see the need to shell out several hundred dollars for the same service. But there are a couple of good reasons to do so. First and foremost, you need to know going into the process if there are issues that could tank your sale, or even make it illegal to sell your property (such as code violations, health hazards, and so on). These can be fixed before you list your home to make the sale process smoother. In addition, however, home inspectors hired by banks may be inclined to file reports that favor the interests of their clients. It’s not a bad idea to have your own report beforehand in case you want to refute the findings of the lender’s home inspector.

  4. Foregoing staging. Staging is an important part of selling your home. When done right, it takes you out of the equation and creates an environment in which buyers can see themselves and their stuff rather than yours. You can hire someone to do this for you or you can simply deep clean, replace carpeting and paint with a neutral palette, and then set up a modicum of furniture and accessories to show the potential of the space.

  5. Pricing inappropriately. Just because you have a number in your head doesn’t mean it’s suitable for your home, your area, or the current market. If you want to sell your property, you need to make every effort to price it competitively. This means considering the size and type of home you’re selling (whether it’s a million-dollar mansion or a prefab fromĀ manufactured selling solutions, for example), the size or amenities as compared to other homes in the area, and the amount that neighborhood homes have sold for over the last several months, as well as what is currently for sale and at what price in the surrounding area. Listing at the right price can mean a quick sale or even a bidding war.