First Time Home Seller Mistakes
First time home buyers are so inquisitive and thirsty for knowledge. They know what they don’t know and they look for assistance for their very first purchase. But I have found a different mentality with First time home sellers. They feel as if “they have been there done that” and know what to expect, when in reality, selling a home is a much different animal than buying a home. Here are some mistakes first time sellers should be aware of.
- Not interviewing multiple agents
They call back their buyer agent from the purchase or call the one referral given to them by a friend or family member and stop there. I guess I shouldn’t complain if I am on the other side of that call. I work very hard to prove my value so I’m not worried about the interview process. You are going to end up paying a commission to this agent so make sure you get what you pay for. See our article on agent interview questionnaire. If you do only interview the one agent, at least make sure you’ve asked some good questions, set some expectations and hold the agent to those.
- Attempting FSBO
After finding out the cost of hiring an agent and the seller closing costs some sellers decide they want to save on this cost and sell the home on their own. See our article on FSBO mistakes before proceeding. You get what your pay for. And FSBOs avg 16% below fair market value. And only 11% succeed at actually selling the home on their own.
- Not making a plan for the move
In an ideal world, you would gracefully sell your house and seamlessly move into your new one. But this world is not ideal and real estate is even further from perfect. With new regulations coming into place selling and buying on the same day is going to become virtually impossible. You will need a layover plan. If you’re current home sells on Monday and you cannot move into your new home until Friday, where will you stay, where will all your things stay? Do not wait until the last minute to make a plan for this, moving trucks will get booked, grandma will be utilizing your sisters guest room. Plan early.
- Not prioritizing the home sale
Some first time home sellers are so very excited to get started on their home sale and forget they have other plans that could conflict. Vacations, graduations, business trips, child births and so on. If you can avoid conflicting with these events it is best to be able to give your full attention to the whole transaction. We have worked with the trickiest of situations and things happen but plan… and PLAN EARLY.
- Not renting storage space for staging
Staging is always a suggestion, but for a few hundred dollars putting all your excess things in storage not only makes your house show better but you have now created a moving plan. You have a place to store most of your stuff in case you have to shack up at your mom’s house for 3 days between closings.
- Not getting preapproved before putting your home on the market
Now if you are working with The Pros Real Estate Team, this wouldn’t happen. We require you to get pre-approved before listing the house. But I have met some previously listed sellers who find out they cannot buy at this time. What a mess that would have created had that other agent actually sold their home. Get preapproved make sure the plan you have and the house you want match your budget. Just because you bought a home once before does not automatically qualify you for a mortgage today. It only takes a few minutes to discuss your goals with lender and make sure you have a plan.
- Not putting safety contingencies in the contract
If you are looking to buy another home and do not have longer term temporary housing you want to make sure the buyers have disclosure about your intentions. You will only be selling them the house if you also find one that is suitable to buy. If these contingencies are not in the contract you could be forced to move, forced to sign a lease and it could cost you in the long run. There are other examples such as taking items with you that might be assumed with the property such as wood stoves, freezers, sub-zero appliances etc… Speak with a professional and make sure they are asking you lots of questions about the home.
- Not prioritizing find the next residence
You have a suitable housing contingency (or maybe you chose not to) and you decided that your summer trip to the beach was more important than spending the weekend doing showing with your realtor to find the next home. You can only view property on specific days and times and those are limited. We take time from our work schedule to have our teeth polished, we should feel that the sale and purchase of a new home are equally important and give it the same attention and maybe a personal day or two. If you don’t put the effort in to find the next home you could be finding yourself homeless, or worse- back on the market!
- Planning fallacy
“The planning fallacy is the tendency of individuals to underestimate the duration that is needed to complete most tasks (e.g., Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; f or a review, see Buehler, Griffin, & Ross, 2002). For example, if individuals predict they will complete a task within three weeks, the activity might actually require a month. This tendency has been observed in many settings (e.g., Connolly & Dean, 1997).” Dates are of the utmost importance in real estate. Do not under estimate the time it will take you to pack up your home or do other tasks such as agreed upon after home inspection. Once you request an extension of time you negate the contractual obligation of your buyer and open a gate in which they can retrieve their deposit and walk away. So plan ahead, plan early, and leave extra time in case something takes longer than expected, it usually will.
- Not making showings a priority
Sellers come up with some of the most creative excuses to decline a showing: Dinner parties, birthday parties, they didn’t make the bed, they are sleeping, their family is in town and staying at their home.. I could go on and on. But showing the home is the most vital part of the getting it sold. We work hard and spend oodles of money marketing your home to get it in front of buyers so they will- COME SEE IT. Buyers don’t typically come out to see just your house. They are probably seeing several. If you decline a showing there is a great likelihood that buyer may buy one of the other homes that day and you will miss out on an offer. Again, plan ahead, set expectation, and put showing the home as your first priority. If family is coming to town see if they can stay with your cousin, having a birthday party- try Chucky Cheese’s, didn’t make the bed, who cares, it’s better to get the buyer in then to miss them all together. Most buyers understand you live here and an unmade bed won’t make a difference to them (so long as the house is in otherwise good staged showing condition- see staging article.)
Hopefully these tips help you PLAN for your first sale. If you have only called one agent so far, call The Pro’s Real Estate Team to do some comparison shopping. We would love to answer your call and questions.