It’s a new year and it’s time for a fresh start. If you’re planning to sell your home in 2017, here are a few mistakes you should avoid to maximize your results and minimize your headache. Selling a home can be difficult. Side step these common mistakes to increase your chances for a smoother, faster, and more gainful transaction.

[See: 10 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast.]

Skipping the necessary preparation. Once the decision has been made to sell, it’s understandable that many sellers want to get their homes on the market as quickly as possible. However, taking the time to get your home ready for sale is one of the most important steps in the selling process.

Skipping or skimping on this step is one of the biggest mistakes a home seller can make. You only get one chance to make a first impression and a great first impression can translate to actual dollar value – especially in a competitive market.

Take the time to paint, make repairs, declutter, tidy landscaping and stage the home, if needed. An experienced real estate professional can help you to determine what work needs to be done and how it could affect the value of your home in the local market.

Clean up and declutter. Potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves in your home – too much clutter, personal items or disorder can be distracting and turn buyers off.

Repair and upgrade. Even small cosmetic issues can be a red flag for potential buyers. Chipping paint, water stains, cracks or stained carpets can be signs of neglect or larger problems with the property. Your home should look well cared for and maintained.

Stage. Staging can range from simply refreshing and rearranging current furnishings, to editing and adding accessories, to complete professional staging.

Take great photos. Proper preparation also translates to a well-executed marketing plan. Your home should show at its best in person as well as in the property photos and collateral materials. As more and more buyers are turning to the internet to begin their home search, we rely on excellent photography to make a great first impression. Ditch those iPhone or point-and-shoot images. Professionally shot and staged property photos are an absolutely essential sales tool.

[See: 8 Ways to Stage Your Home in the Winter.]

Pricing too high for the market. Pricing is the most important decision, and the one that will have the largest impact on your sales outcome. The biggest mistake sellers make is overpricing their property for the market.

Overpricing typically leads to more days on market, which can negatively affect your final sale price. Whether you’re in a hurry to sell or not, time is a critical factor in selling your home. In general, the longer a property sits on the market, the less urgency buyers will feel, the more leverage they will feel they have and the less likely you will be to attract the attention for multiple offers.

Pricing can be a sensitive topic of discussion, and it’s a good idea to work with an experienced professional who knows the market as well as your specific neighborhood. As a seller, it can be difficult to see your own home with unbiased eyes. Emotional attachments and financial obligations can cause sellers to reach for more value than the market will bear.

Review comparable deals in the area, take a realistic look at your home and discuss the positives and negatives of different pricing strategies with your agent to determine what will work best for you.

Even with thoughtful pricing, it’s still possible to miss the mark. Sellers who are able to keep their emotions and expectations in check will be better able to reassess a situation and find a successful outcome.

Being present for showings and open houses. As much as you may want to be completely hands-on in the sale of your home, it’s almost never a good idea to linger during showings or open houses. When the seller is present, it can create an awkward situation for potential buyers.

Buyers may feel they’re intruding on your home, which can make it even more difficult for them to imagine themselves living there. They may feel rushed or inhibited by the seller’s presence and may not take the extra time they need to go through the home at their own pace. In addition, buyers may not feel comfortable expressing their true feelings about a property which can lead to frustration and inaccurate feedback.

[See: 10 Unorthodox Ways Your Real Estate Agent May Market Your Home.]

Not working with an experienced professional. Working with an experienced real estate professional can make all the difference in your home selling experience. A good agent can provide you with support, advice and resources to help you avoid many of these common pitfalls.

From preparation and pricing to marketing and showing your property, a good agent can alleviate much of the stress, time and legwork necessary to get your home sold. Real estate transactions can get complicated and once a buyer makes an offer on your home or you enter escrow, a seasoned professional who is skilled in negotiation and familiar with the process can be invaluable.

When you’re interviewing and hiring an agent to sell your home, it’s important to ask questions. Not all agents are created equal, so choosing the best person to represent you is key. Working with an underqualified agent, or even someone who just doesn’t mesh with your personality and goals, can be just as detrimental as going it on your own.

Consider experience, past and current deals, market knowledge and marketing know-how. Equally important is to hire someone you respect, trust and feel you can work well with.

Avoid these common home selling mistakes and set yourself up for a positive and prosperous 2017.

Tags: real estate, housing market, housing, home prices, existing home sales, pending home sales, home improvements


Sally Forster Jones is recognized as one of the top real estate brokers in Southern California. Forster Jones is an expert in the luxury real estate market in Los Angeles and internationally. Her extensive knowledge ranges from residential sales, luxury and architecturally significant properties to new developments and commercial transactions.

She is currently Executive Director of Luxury Estates with Compass in Beverly Hills, California. Her team, SFJ Group, is comprised of agents and a full-service staff ranging across experienced marketing, listing, transaction, and operation experts.

Recommended Articles

Signs You Have a Good Real Estate Agent

Deanna Haas | May 22, 2019

How can sellers know when they’ve found the perfect listing agent? Here are some telltale signs.

6 Ways To Try Out A Neighborhood

Steven Gottlieb | May 21, 2019

How to determine whether a neighborhood is right for you before you close on a home.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell Your Home?

Dima Williams | May 20, 2019

From the real estate commission to taxes, a slate of costs accompanies the sale of a property.

The Most Desirable Places to Live

Devon Thorsby | May 17, 2019

Check out where U.S. residents would live if they could.

How to Finish a Basement

Devon Thorsby | May 15, 2019

Before you dive into a massive construction project, know the cost and process involved when finishing a basement.

10 Affordable Spring Renovation Projects

Andrea Woroch | May 14, 2019

Transform your space without overspending on a home renovation.

Deal Breakers to Spot Before Moving

Wendy Arriz | May 14, 2019

Before deciding on your next home, consider the sights, smells and sounds around a house or neighborhood that can become a problem later on.

Apps for Finding Your Next Apartment

Devon Thorsby | May 10, 2019

These apartment for rent apps can help you find a place, submit an application and even pay your rent.

Selling Your Home in Spring and Summer

Devon Thorsby | May 8, 2019

Prepare to put your home on the market during the hottest selling seasons.

How to Decide Where to Live

Lisa Larson | May 8, 2019

For college graduates deciding where to move next, keep these key details in mind.

How Much Down Payment Do You Really Need These Days?

Teresa Mears | May 3, 2019

Conventional wisdom says 20%, but you can buy your first home with much less down.

The Best Places to Live for Allergies

Devon Thorsby | May 1, 2019

Consider these spots for your next hometown if you're fed up with seasonal allergies.

Popular Home Updates Worth the Money

Devon Thorsby | April 26, 2019

With a few tweaks to your home, you can save money and get more back when it comes time to sell.

Considerations When Renting Out a Room

Geoff Williams | April 26, 2019

Before renting a spare room, discuss pets and parking to ensure a prospective tenant is a good fit.

The Best Places to Live for the Weather

Devon Thorsby | April 24, 2019

Where would you move to enjoy blue skies and sunshine year-round?

What to Consider Before Signing a Lease

Geoff Williams | April 23, 2019

Before you commit to signing a lease, consider these expert-backed tips.

Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Devon Thorsby | April 19, 2019

These metro areas offer the best education, access to health services and crime rates.

Why Spring Is the Perfect Time to Sell

Devon Thorsby | April 17, 2019

Spring is here and interest rates are low – it's a great time to make the most of eager buyers.

Home Selling: Real Estate Team vs. Agent

Dima Williams | April 17, 2019

Solo agents are an industry standard, but teams offer a novel alternative. Here's what sets the two arrangements apart.  

The Priciest Repairs for Homebuyers

Lisa Larson | April 16, 2019

Avoid the repairs that will cost you the most before you move in with a sharp eye and the right inspections.