4 Home Seller Mistakes to Avoid

  • A recent Zillow survey found 9 in 10 recent first-time home sellers feel they could have sold their homes for more money if they had done something different.
  • Experts say it is still a seller's market.
  • Tthese tips may help if you're thinking of putting your home on the market.

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to real estate.

But finding the perfect time to sell your home — especially if it's your first time — may be a challenge as the residential real estate market fluctuates.

A recent survey from Zillow finds 84% of first-time home sellers wish they had done something differently regarding the timing, pricing or marketing of the transaction.

Notably, 9 in 10 first-time sellers think they could have sold their home for more money if they had made different decisions.

The findings are based on a poll of first-time sellers who completed their transactions in the past two years. The November survey included more than 2,000 adults.

The real estate market has had notable shifts in the past couple of years, with mortgage rates climbing from 3% to more than 7%, noted Ted Jenkin, a certified financial planner and the CEO and founder of oXYGen Financial in Atlanta. He is a member of CNBC's Financial Advisor Council.

Recent mortgage rates have risen, with the average rates on 25-year fixed mortgages being in the 4.8% range.

Yet experts say it is still a seller's market.

"Even in a really strong seller's market, people still have regrets," said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow home trends expert. "They second-guess their decisions."

Here are four regrets from recent sellers that homeowners ought to be aware of before listing their homes this spring.

1. Not having a winning pricing strategy

To get the best deal on your home, you want to list it for the most competitive price.

"If you price it competitively, you're going to be able to sell it a lot quicker," Jenkin said.

Competitively priced listings that find a buyer go under contract in 31 days, Zillow data finds. Meanwhile, other homes may linger on the market for a median of 73 days.

"That speaks to the power of pricing," Pendleton said.

To find out what your home may be worth on the market now, see what comparable homes in your area have sold for in the past six months, Jenkin said. Getting a good independent appraisal can also help set expectations.

2. Ignoring curb appeal

To increase the amount of money you get for your home, you may want to make investments that will improve first impressions.

New flowers and shrubs and a fresh coat of paint may help prospective buyers to see themselves living in the home, Jenkin suggested. Having your home staged may help show it off in the right way for it to sell, he said.

Online curb appeal is also crucial, particularly now that virtual home selling standards have changed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Pendleton said.

"People want to be able to tour homes from the comfort of their living room," Pendleton said.

Keep in mind prospective buyers may eliminate your home from their search based on just a photograph.

Homes that get more saves and views on Zillow have virtual, three-dimensional home tours and interactive floor plans, Pendleton said. Investing in professional and drone photography can also help show off your listing, she said.

3. Bad timing

A quarter of recent sellers felt they got their timing wrong, Zillow found.

Yet timing the real estate market is not a good idea, Pendleton said. People who sold their homes and then rented, with the expectation home prices would come down, are now finding that while prices are a bit lower, mortgage rates have skyrocketed.

"It's so hard to time it," Pendleton said.

The idea of getting out at the top of the market also means you're anticipating a crash, which is not in experts' forecasts.

"Our economists are just not seeing that," Pendleton said.

4.  Ignoring repairs

About a quarter of recent first-time sellers think they could have gotten a better price if they had paid more attention to home repairs. But some improvements may pay off more than others, according to Pendleton.

Massive projects such as a kitchen renovation or roof replacement typically do not provide a significant return, Zillow has found.

The most common projects homeowners complete before listing their home include interior painting, carpet cleaning and landscaping.

"That's for good reason," Pendleton said. "Those are the projects that give you the most bang for your buck."

Post a Comment