Lets be honest, selling a home can be stressful. And usually most of that stress is amplified due to one challenging aspect inherent in the process. Lack of Experience. Most home sellers have never been through the process before, or at most, have only sold one, maybe two houses. And lessons learned from past home sales don’t always translate into meeting the shifting market conditions and local trends. Because of this limited experience, misconceptions about home selling are rampant, and home sellers continue believing myths that cause frustration, build stress, and ultimately lead to mistakes that turn into real dollars lost.
To help, we have compiled some of the top myths that experts continue to warn home sellers about, in hopes that you avoid these the next time you sell your house or property. Lets shine some light on these false truths!
1) You can do it alone
With all the amazing Youtube training videos or instructional DIY Pinterest tutorials that are at our fingertips these days, most of us have gotten really good at tackling projects on our own. Replace a door handle? Sure, I’ll try that! Bake a Victoria Sandwich for the first time? No problem, it looked do-able on Netflix! Renovate that half-bathroom? Eh, I think I can pull that off! And so we go for it. Now, don’t let this crush your excitement, but if we are honest with ourselves, don’t most of those initial DIY attempts often lead to frustration, redos and significant revisions for “next time”. It’s one thing to buy into this myth with a home improvement chore or new recipe, but believing and acting on it with selling your home can be dangerously costly.
Don’t make this mistake when it comes to selling your home!
Instead, find a trusted realtor. (Here’s 10 Reasons Why) Lean on them to shape the plan and process, pull accurate comps for pricing strategy and shield you from the non-serious buyers who are bad fits. Trust them to lead you through the financial hurdles and decisions. This process is something they navigate dozens of times each year. This myth can be a bit challenging to the independent types, and especially younger home sellers. Don’t fall for it! In the long-run you will save precious time, avoid headaches and have better chances of closing your sale quicker.
2) Home staging is for HGTV, but not really important to selling your house
With the popularity of HGTV shows, most of us are familiar with the concept of “staging a home”, but in reality we don’t value its importance as we should. For a refresher, this definition from Elizabeth Weintraub is great.
“It’s beyond decorating and cleaning. It’s about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving, and best of all, it makes homebuyers want to buy it.”
Out of all the steps in prepping for the home selling process, staging the home is one that most home sellers can achieve rather effectively with some effort, intentionality and small budget. The importance of home staging is even more vital if your prospective home buyer is a family with kids. Home buying parents need to be able to say “Yes, we could live here… I can see it”… and home staging helps them see it. If you’re looking for more convincing… Here are 14 Reasons to Stage Your House.
Don’t buy into the myth that this is only for the TV home search. Home staging needs to be on every home seller’s list.
3) You should set your list price as high as possible
Who doesn’t want to sell their home for a higher amount? It’s simple, right, keep that initial list price high, and you’ll start negotiations at a spot closer to your goal. The challenge with this, is that if you price your home too high, it just won’t sell, and you end up having to lower the price and raise a bunch of red flags to keep potential buyers skiddish. It’s better to price competitively from the start.
To price competitively from the start you will need to do a bit of homework, explore comps in the area with your trusted realtor, and then list at a market-based level that is reasonable based on the conditions. Now there are a bunch of factors to this (seasonality, local market conditions, etc). For a helpful resource on home pricing check out this tool from e-Merge (How Much is My House Worth?)
Overall, you’ll be in a much better spot if you come down from your initial “dream listing price” and price competitively.