9 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Professionals OREA# 201211562


9 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home


9 mistakes to avoid when selling your home 

1) Pricing your home too high.


Overpricing is the single biggest error a seller can make. When a home is overpriced, the signal you send to the market is negative. Some sellers mistakenly think this is an effective negotiating strategy: their thinking is buyers will make offers and this leaves room for sellers to negotiate. Buyers just don’t do that.


Today’s buyers are extraordinarily well educated. They have access online to detailed historical sales information about homes in your area. They may have already visited several homes, and know what price similar homes are currently listed for and have sold for. Sellers are dealing with much more informed buyers today.

Buyers and their agents gain insight from a seller’s list price. If it is priced too high, they may think that the seller is not realistic, is being unreasonable, hard to deal with...or doesn’t really want to sell.


Buyer interest and traffic is highest during the first 6 - 8 weeks. Pricing too high at the beginning risks missing out on this crucial early period. If a seller mis-prices the house and it sits for an extended period of time, the number of days on market can work against you. Buyers may wonder why the house hasn’t sold. Yes, you can lower the price later, but you’ve wasted your time and effort, and this often results in sellers netting less money in the end.

2) Putting bad photos of your house online.


9 Mistakes to avoid when selling your homePoorly shot photos are almost worse than having no photos. It’s a turn-off when a buyer sees dark or fuzzy photos. Or show a cluttered house, with clothes in an overstuffed closet, or toiletries strewn about the bathroom. Buyers search homes online before visiting them, and, making a great first impression is key.


Quality, professional photos - that’s the expectation today. Buyers want lots of good photos to assist in narrowing their choices. A home with poor photography (or no photos) will likely not be visited by a majority of buyers. High quality photos and video are one of the most powerful marketing tools for a house because they attract and create more interest. More interest leads to more buyers, more excitement, more demand...which creates the best offer for a seller.

3) Not staging a home.


Every home, from studio condos to mansions, can benefit from staging, and sellers often underestimate this powerful a selling tool. Staging directs a buyer’s eye to focal points in a room, enhancing a home’s most desirable features, and will make your home’s photos and videos much more appealing. And pictures are your first opportunity to make a good impression with buyers!


Spacious rooms can be hard to appreciate when filled with a seller’s knickknacks and personal effects. You want a buyer to be able to walk in and easily envision their new life in the home.

At the other end of the spectrum, an empty home presents a different challenge because it’s difficult to gauge the space and how it lives. Empty homes often seem smaller than homes staged with right-sized furniture. Properties with an open-concept spaces, or unique layout, benefit the most from staging because they give buyers a vision of how to use the space. Most buyers won’t see past the clutter - fresh paint, staging, and styling are essential to selling a home fast and for the highest possible price.


9 Mistakes to avoid when selling your home


4) Not decluttering a home before listing for sale.


One of the biggest mistake a seller makes is not decluttering their home prior to listing. Removing clutter is the simplest, and least expensive, way to boost your home's market value.  Buyer’s need to be able to picture their own belongings in the home, and when it’s too cluttered, it's hard for them to do that. Think blank canvas when selling. Clear off kitchen counters, bookshelves, coffee tables, and thin out closets. Put away family photos, artwork on the refrigerator, and organise the garage. You want buyers to superimpose their future life circumstances on the home, not look at yours.


It’s important to remember that how you live in a home and how you sell a home are two very different things!  Unless you are only listing your home with an aggressive, low price and selling 'as is,' investing time and effort to make a good first impression is well worth it.

5) Failing to make strategic updates and repairs.


9 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your HomeYou want any improvements you do to appeal to the widest number of buyers and be cost effective. Consult with a qualified broker before starting to be sure you’re investing money wisely. Buyers rate bathrooms and kitchen as the most important rooms in a home, so particular attention needs to be placed on them. Flooring is also an important buyer consideration. Areas such as roof, attic, and crawl space/basement are often cited for repairs in home inspections. Deciding which repairs fit your budget, and bring the best return on investment, is something to start before putting your home on the market.


Pay attention to the front landscaping, the front door and the driveway to create a positive first impression. Buyers consistently rate smells as one of the biggest turn-offs, especially pet odors. Pet damage such as scratches on doors and torn screens needs to be corrected. Eliminate any water stains: even if the repairs were made years ago, visible stains can cause buyers unfounded concern. Be sure all finish hardware is functional and in good repair. Same with the doors and locks. All light fixtures should have good bulbs and function correctly.

6) Letting emotion affect the sale.


Selling a home can be an emotional event. When you decide to sell a home, it’s now a product for sale in the market, just like any other product. Do your best to emotionally detach yourself. If an offer comes in less than their desired amount, don’t allow your feelings to get hurt. Place your focus on the end result. Getting hung up on the little details risks missing the big picture. Large sales have been known to fail over something as minor as a 300.00 toilet. Carrying costs for more time on market, mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintenance can cost much more in the end.



7) Not accepting that people have different tastes.


9 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your HomeDon’t take it personally! A Seller’s inability to take a step back regarding their home is understandable, but it can be damaging when selling a home. Sellers often think that their subjective tastes will be shared and appreciated by the wider market, however that’s not always true.


Keeping taste-specific decor and furniture in a home for sale can work against a seller. A home could have been beautifully renovated, but if the buyer doesn’t like the decor or furnishings, it can negatively cloud their perception of the home and reduce the pool of potential buyers. The best strategy is to keep keep furniture and decor neutral, which allows the buyer to focus on the home. Sellers need to make sure their home presents as beautifully as is possible and appeals to what buyers want.



8) Not paying attention to the changing market activity.


The real estate market is constantly changing. This is true for both national and local markets. Not paying attention to the current market conditions is a mistake that can cost sellers time and money when selling. Markets will experience increases, drops, and other trend changes that affect the sale of your home and how buyers will react to your property. Hiring a broker who keeps you updated on local market trends puts you in the best position for a successful sale.



9) Trying to sell the house yourself.


Attempting to go FSBO (For Sale By Owner), to avoid some of the selling fees, usually costs homeowners more in the end. An experienced broker knows how to prepare and promote a home effectively, which will result in a higher selling price. And their strong negotiation skills will minimize a seller’s concessions to the buyer. A Realtor’s job is to represent the best interest of the seller and negotiate on their behalf before, during and after the sale. While selling a home may appear easy, there are multiple moving parts that can go off track, and for most people it’s important to have a knowledgeable guide who understands the process beginning to end and can solve problems that arise.  


Thanks for Reading 9 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home



Feel free to reach me directly... 

503-680-9390 / john@johnvanhogen.com




John Van Hogen - Principal Broker Oregon / Broker Washington  

Oregon - 9755 SW Barnes Rd #560 Portland OR 97225

Washington - 2211 E Mill Plain Blvd #302 Vancouver WA 98661 

Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Each Office Independently Owned & Operated - 503.546.9955



Comments (1)

Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

John, those are some BRIGHT stairs, but think a couple of my past buyers may have liked them!   Pricing is a big one! 

Jun 11, 2019 01:16 PM
John Van Hogen

Yes Joan, bright they are!  

Jun 12, 2019 09:39 AM