Selling your current home can be stressful, and it’s even more challenging when you make mistakes along the way. While preparing your home ready to sell, here are some pitfalls to avoid to make the process smoother.
Not Looking at your home with a critical eye
The goal when preparing your home for sale is to get it into great shape. You want anyone coming through the door to immediately see your home’s great features and not get sidetracked by its flaws. However, it can be hard to get your home to this state when you’re emotionally attached to it. You may believe that everything is perfect just the way it is, but a prospective buyer, who has no emotional connection to your home, won’t see it that way.
While it can be difficult, the first thing to do when you decide to put your home up for sale is to begin to look at it critically and always ask yourself, “What would a prospective buyer think of this?”
Not spending any money to prepare your home to sell
As the seller, you are, of course, hoping to sell your home for a good price, but you should also expect to spend some money along the way. For one, standard practice in the US is for the seller to pay the real estate agents’ commissions – both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. You should also expect to spend some money getting your house into shape for sale. More on this below.
Ignoring major problems in need of repair
If you know something in your home needs major repair or replacement, such as an old roof, crumbling foundation, or dying water heater, don’t ignore it. A prospective buyer will get a home inspection after going under contract and quickly find out what the problem is and how much it will cost to fix, so if you know about existing issues it’s easier to address them up front.
You do have a choice here. You can choose to disclose it and tell buyers that you are selling the property “as is,” meaning they will have to take on the repair themselves. In this case, expect to reduce the asking price to reflect the cost of the repair.
Or you can go ahead and put the money in yourself and fix it now. Not only does a brand new roof/foundation/water heater look attractive to buyers, it gives them one less reason to say no to buying your house. Plus, you get to enjoy the benefits of the repair(s) for as long as you remain in the house.
Not staging the house
The goal of home staging is to create a beautiful and inviting space that prospective buyers can imagine themselves, their family, and their furniture in. It may entail painting, rearranging furniture, accessorizing, decluttering, putting things away in temporary storage, and so on.
Staging may seem like an unnecessary and expensive step for some sellers, but staging both reduces the amount of time to sale and increases the amount a home eventually sells for, according to research, and is therefore well worth it.
Forgetting the outside
Curb appeal matters. As lovely as your home is on the inside, you may never get anyone to take a look if the outside is unattractive. This is another place where you may need to spend money to make it more appealing by landscaping, fixing walls and windows, repaving walkways and driveways, and maybe even repainting the entire house.
Skipping professional photos
Nearly everyone these days has an excellent camera right on their phone. Yet snapping some photos of your home and putting them up online is generally not a smart idea. This is a situation where you want a pro.
Professional real estate photographers have the right kind of lenses and know how to use lighting and angles to make your home as appealing as possible for potential buyers. Their relatively small fee will more than make up for itself by increasing demand to see your home in person.
Not working with a real estate agent
Finally, one of the biggest pitfalls to avoid when getting your home ready to list is not working with a real estate agent. As soon as you’re thinking of selling, contact an agent to help you along the way. They can connect you to painters, electricians, stagers, photographers, and other professionals to help you get your home into sellable shape. They can give advice on which repairs to do now, how to best present the interior and exterior of your home, and what the market looks like. Then, when it’s time, they can help you set the right price, handle negotiations, and deal with contracts. A good real estate agent will be your partner throughout the process and make it easier.
Selling or Buying in the Charleston, SC Area?
I’m Kenton Selvey, a Realtor in Charleston, SC and I’d love to help you sell your home or find your dream home. Call me at 843-806-7222 or mail me here and let me know how I can help. I look forward to hearing from you.