Selling A House

What are the 20 biggest mistakes when selling a house?

Selling your home can be an exciting time, but it can also be extremely overwhelming and even disheartening, especially if you have had no viewings or viewers criticise your home. It’s also easy for home sellers to make mistakes, especially if you have little or no experience of selling. Selling your house can be a […]

Selling your home can be an exciting time, but it can also be extremely overwhelming and even disheartening, especially if you have had no viewings or viewers criticise your home. It’s also easy for home sellers to make mistakes, especially if you have little or no experience of selling.

Selling your house can be a complex and often emotional process, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can avoid common pitfalls that could cost you time and money. In this blog, we’ll uncover the 20 biggest mistakes when selling a house and offer tips on how to avoid them.

Not Being Ready to Sell

Mistake 1: Rushing into a sale without proper preparation can lead to hasty decisions. Ensure your property is market-ready, both in terms of condition and documentation. For example, make sure you have seen to those little jobs you were meaning to get round to and if you have had any building work such as extensions, make sure you have all your documentation in order as it will save you time in the long run. More than anything, make sure you have researched the costs involved in moving and be sure you can afford to move.

Top tip: Do some research online and compare the potential running costs of your new home before making the decision to move.

Choosing the Wrong Estate Agent

Mistake 2: Not all estate agents are the same. Research and choose an agent with a solid track record and local expertise. A good agent will look after your interests and won’t just quote the highest price to win the business. 

Top tip: Ask each agent who comes to value your property who they have on their books who would be interested in your property to gage how easily they envisage making a sale.

Not Using an Estate Agent

Mistake 3: While you may think you can go it alone, an experienced estate agent can navigate the complexities of the real estate market and help you achieve the best outcome, especially if things go wrong or if there are delays.

Top tip: If you are not using an agent, ensure you have appointed a conveyancer who communicates well as you will be relying on them for updates during the process.

Not Pricing Right

Mistake 4: Setting the wrong price can deter potential buyers. Just because you think your property is worth a certain amount doesn’t always mean buyers will be prepared to pay it. Price is relative to the condition of the property as well as market conditions, so make sure you do lots of research of the market and ask local estate agents for their opinion to determine the right listing price.

Top tip: Always do your own research online to see what has sold recently in your area and find comparable properties within one-quarter of a mile and in similar condition, where possible.

Expecting to Receive the Asking Price

Mistake 5: Rarely does a house sell for the exact asking price. According to Rightmove, seventy percent of interest comes in the first few weeks of a property being on the market. The key here is to expect negotiations, be prepared to negotiate and consider offers that are close to your asking price and don’t hold out for a specific price just because it is the highest one you think you might receive. If you have longer to sell perhaps you can hold out longer, but it is always worth considering reasonable offers, especially if you have seen a house you want to put an offer in on. 

Top tip: To know if your property has been on the market for too long, have a look at Rightmove to see what properties have sold locally in recent weeks. Add an extension called Propertylog to your Chrome browser to see how long other properties have been on the market.

Ignoring Maintenance

Mistake 6: Ignoring maintenance can reduce your property’s appeal to potential buyers. Make sure you sort out minor repairs and maintenance tasks before listing your house. By doing so, you will increase the appeal of your home and the chance of higher offers.

Top tip: Write a list of jobs that need to be done and prioritise the order in which they need to be done. Some jobs are less visible so can be done after the listing pictures are taken.

Too Many Renovations

Mistake 7: Expensive renovations may not result in a higher sale price. Instead of spending the earth, focus on the most cost-effective improvements that will enhance your property and add value.

Top tip: If you want to upgrade your home for sale, consider cost-effective solutions such as changing handles, not cupboards and revamping existing furniture.

Hiding Repairs

Mistake 8: Hiding issues from potential buyers can lead to mistrust and can even result in a sale falling through. It is better to be transparent about known repairs or issues and negotiate with the buyer about possible resolutions.

Top tip: In some cases, buyers may be flexible about the resolution of an issue, from a reduction in price to having the issue resolved before completion, so always be prepared to make suggestions for a fair outcome.

Using Bad Photos

Mistake 9: High-quality, professional photos are essential for online listings. Poor images can deter potential buyers.

Top tip: Before appointing an agent, ask if they take their own photos or hire a professional company and have a look online at other properties listed with the agent. If selling yourself, make sure you get good-quality photos taken.

Not Staging the Property

Mistake 10: Staging your home to create a welcoming atmosphere can significantly impact buyers’ perceptions and increase the chances of a sale. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. The idea is to create ambience and make a potential buyer see themselves living in your home.

Top tip: Cushions, throws, candles and plants are all inexpensive ways of staging your property with relatively little expense.

Not Tidying Up

Mistake 11: Clutter and a lack of cleanliness can turn off buyers. Nobody wants to see someone else’s washing over the radiator. Ensure your home is clean, decluttered, and well-presented for viewing.

Top tip: Keep toys and pet beds out of sight and make your home smell amazing on viewings by lighting a candle.

Showing Buyers Around Yourself

Mistake 12: While you know your home best, having the owner present during viewings can make buyers feel uncomfortable. Let your agent handle showings unless you are unhappy with how your agent is doing viewings. However, if, for example, you have lots of viewings and get no feedback from your agent, it may be the case that you want to take some viewings yourself.

Top tip: If you are showing buyers around yourself, be sure to ask what they want to see first and answer any questions they have. Remember, it is about creating a vision of a lifestyle in your home for them.

Saying No to Viewings

Mistake 13: Restricting viewings can limit your pool of potential buyers. Be flexible with viewing requests whenever possible and remember that many viewers will work during the day so may require evening or weekend viewings. 

Top tip: Speak to your agent about the possibility of doing a viewing day so you can get several viewings done at once.

Not Getting Early Feedback

Mistake 14: Constructive feedback from early viewings can help you make necessary adjustments to improve your property’s appeal and get that buyer.

Top tip: If your agent does not provide you with any constructive feedback, ask them why they think the property isn’t selling and what you can change to increase appeal.

Selling to Anyone

Mistake 15: It may be tempting if you have no other offers to sell to someone who doesn’t have a mortgage in place, but beware that this may cost you time and money further down the line if they are unable to qualify for a mortgage. Where possible, it is always best to receive proof that the buyer is eligible to purchase the property in advance.

Top tip: Don’t be afraid to ask the estate agent questions about each viewer so you know what position each potential buyer is in.

Not Following up

Mistake 16: While you may be comfortable letting the conveyancer do their thing, there are lots of delays that can take place during the selling process, and many of them can be resolved easily and quickly, but due to breakdowns in communication are not. Keep the communication flowing to avoid unnecessary delays. 

Top tip: Always follow up with both your conveyancer and the estate agents to make sure that the sale is progressing on both ends and minor issues can be sorted out quickly.

Not Expecting Home Selling Costs

Mistake 17: Selling comes with costs such as agent fees, legal fees, and marketing expenses. Some of these selling costs will be payable before completion, so ensure you budget for these upfront.

Top tip: When getting quotes for services, ask if there will be any costs paid upfront so you will have an idea of what to budget for in advance.

Becoming Too Emotional

Mistake 18: Getting too emotionally involved can often cloud judgment. Try to detach emotionally from your property to make objective decisions.

Top tip: Remember, when selling your home, you should think about it like a business transaction that should work for both parties.

Selling in Winter or in the wrong season

Mistake 19: Timing is crucial. Selling in winter can be challenging due to weather and holidays. Consider the best time for your local market. Remember, in Winter people tend to want to stay at home and Spring makes people want to act and make changes, including moving home. Also, traditionally, seasonal times such as summer holidays and Christmas sees a dip in the level of activity in the market. 

Top tip: If selling in winter, ensure listing photos are taken on a sunny day to make your property look as bright and inviting as possible.

Taking a Casual Approach

Mistake 20: As much as it should be an exciting time, selling your home is a serious process, and to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible, it is wise to approach it with a proactive and responsive attitude. 

Top tip: If you feel the process is taking longer than it should be, speak to your conveyancer or the estate agents to ensure there are no issues you can help to resolve.

In conclusion, selling your house successfully requires careful planning, market awareness, and an understanding of potential pitfalls. By avoiding these common mistakes and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can confidently navigate the selling process and increase your chances of a smooth and profitable sale.


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