Picture of Spanish-style home front with palm trees and for sale sign in lower left

10 Mistakes when selling your home

Selling your home is a big deal and a lot to manage both logistically and emotionally! Here are a few things to avoid if you want to save your energy, money, and sanity. Don't forget: I'm here to guide you the whole way.

  1. Not clearing up title issues - if there are liens on your home, active boundary disputes, ownership issues, etc., these can easily derail your sale if they’re not taken care of proactively. Talk to me (your agent) early on and connect with the title company/an attorney to help.
  2. Not disclosing problems with the house - You are legally obligated to disclose any “material defects” you’re aware of to prospective buyers. While you may be afraid that buyers' awareness of an issue will scare them away, I can promise that it’s much messier when they buy not knowing about a big problem you were aware of. Unless you like lawsuits?
  3. Leaving deferred maintenance items undone - You probably hate the idea of pouring money into your home just for someone else to enjoy it…but most of today’s buyers really want a move-in ready home. Something as small as a non-functional furnace or leaking bathtub can really turn off a potential buyer—or make them wonder what else might be wrong with the house.
  4. Having heavy scents in your home - Most people get used to the smells in their house, but any heavy smells (Glade plug-ins, strong candles, kitty litter, wet dog) can be a big turn-off to buyers when they walk in. It’s best to start unplug and clean out at least 2 weeks before listing to make sure scents dissipate!
  5. Not taking advantage of small spruce-up opportunities - It’s totally worth springing for a “juge” on landscaping, house cleaning, light/lightbulb changing, etc. (and I'll always advise you on the best bang for your buck). Little things can make a big difference in first impression. We’re going for neutral, bright, clean, well-maintained!
  6. Not leaving the house for at least the first 5 days it’s on the market - The ideal, of course, is for a home to be vacant and staged if it's in the Seattle market. If that’s not possible, at least consider leaving the house to stay at an AirBnb or with a friend for the first ~5 days on market. It’s very disruptive for you to have to constantly clean and vacate your home whenever a showing is scheduled. On the flip side, homes show best when they feel very “aspirationally” lived-in, and when it’s easy for brokers to set touring times.
  7. Not taking advantage of good staging - It’s one of the hardest expenses for home sellers to swallow, but in our area, staging your house ($2,000-8,000) can have a big impact on selling time and buyer interest. Staging designers are great at optimizing space and creating a clean but warm aesthetic. I’ve seen buyers’ eyes light up differently in a staged versus un-staged home so many times. You’ll make your money back 100%.
  8. Overpricing - It’s tempting to assume the Zestimate is king, or that you can surely get the exact price your neighbor’s house fetched last year. But proper pricing means working with your broker (me) to delve deep into the CURRENT, hyper-local market that is relevant to your home. You can’t set the price based on what you want to net or what you think others should pay for it and expect a swift sale; you have to be grounded and realistic!
  9. Taking a low offer or lack of interest in the home personally - It’s so hard to be objective when listing a home you’ve loved and put energy/work into. You want other people to see how great it is and fall in love with it—or be willing to pay a ton. The reality is that everyone is different, and buyers may be comparing your home to a similar but slightly better/newer house on the market. You just can’t control how they feel, and taking a low offer personally will only leave you frustrated and disappointed. Instead, try to keep your long-term goals in mind and remember: You only need one buyer to get it sold!
  10. Not setting reasonable expectations overall - This is a tough one! I spend a lot of energy setting solid expectations with my sellers, understanding the realities of their home through buyers’ eyes, the current market, any logistical obstacles, etc. It’s also important to remember that it’s NORMAL to have bumps in the road during the selling process. With our eye on the prize, we can work together to stay grounded in the path forward and respond to challenges with grace.

Every home is different, every market is different, and every situation is different. But with these rules in mind, you can have confidence that you're approaching your home sale with wisdom!

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