5 Expert Tips On What Not To Do When Selling Your Home

what not to do when selling your home

Thinking it might be time to downsize your home or move to a new area? For many people, just contemplating selling a home can be overwhelming Decisions and details can pile up, like when to list or how to stage, and can leave you feeling bogged down pretty quickly. Thankfully, there’s good advice out there to avoid putting your energy in the wrong direction. Follow our expert tips below on what not to do when selling your home.

5 Expert Tips On What Not To Do When Selling Your Home

1. Don’t Forget About Curb Appeal Throughout The House

How the property looks is the first thing a potential buyer sees. Leaving your property in disarray, inside or out, is one of the biggest no-no’s for what not to do when selling your home. At ADKPP, we’ve observed buyers with high curb interest walk inside a property, then turn right around and refuse to finish the showing. Beware that after being greeted by a cluttered mess, potential buyers can quickly shift from very interested to a hard no.

Generally, the cleanliness of a property makes an impression on potential buyers, cluing them in on how the property has been cared for. Be sure to put in the extra time to go through your property to touch up paint, clean up and declutter. Worst case scenario, the mess or unorganized area you have been meaning to deal with will be finally be cleaned and organized! Some quick fixes include:

  • Fresh coat of paint – If it has been a while, a fresh coat of paint on the exterior and interior can brighten and freshen.
  • De-clutter rooms and counters – De-cluttering rooms and counters will make rooms feel larger, and depending on the lighting, may cause the space to feel more airy.
  • Clean up the exterior – Add some flowers and seasonal decorations to make the property feel like home. Also make sure paths are clear, grass is mowed and decks are cleared of branches.

2. Definitely Do Not Ignore Repairs

When considering what not to do when selling your home, be aware that one of the biggest red flags to potential buyers is deferred maintenance! While you may have grown accustomed to all of the quirks of your property, a potential buyer may not want to do special things to keep the place running correctly.

Go through your home with a fine tooth comb to see what maintenance has been delayed. Start making a list of repairs you will complete before listing the property. Ask a friend or family member to walk through the home to put fresh eyes and new perspective on needed fixes. When you live in a place everyday, you can become immune to the issues, so an outside person may be more likely to catch something you overlooked.

Check the major systems of the house including heating, water, sewer and electric. These can be major deal breakers for buyers due to the expense of repairing.

Heating Systems

For gas, oil and hot water systems, check for date of last service and cleaning. You may be close to the scheduled time to get lines checked and boiler serviced. Even if the unit has been serviced recently, it doesn’t hurt to have it re-done right before selling to reassure the buyer that it was just serviced.

If you have wood stoves or wood burning fireplaces, check on the date of the last chimney cleaning. Creosote can build up in the chimney, especially if consistently used. Green wood (not fully dried) increases the speed of build up. Having your chimney inspected and cleaned every couple of years helps prevent chimney fires.

Water & Sewer

Dripping faucets, poor flowing lines or any partial leaks that you have ignored should be fixed immediately. Repairing these issues could even help your wallet as water usage reduces with less water flowing. Even small leaks can add up to affect your water bill.

If you are not on municipal sewer, check on the last date of your septic pump out and consider doing an inspection. With ground settling and shifting, small cracks and breaks can develop. A septic inspection & repair may help before the buyer has an opportunity to request a credit. Also, if you have a well, consider inspecting it as well to ensure it is in tip-top shape.

Electrical Systems

Electrical issues can be very dangerous, so be sure to fix all issues in the electrical system you have been living with. Some things to fix may include:

  • Replacing outlets
  • Fix fans or lights that don’t work (especially if they have a switch)
  • Upgrade panel box if it is outdated or too small for the home

One bonus thing to do is replace light bulbs. While it may seem silly to go around and replace light bulbs, it adds more light to your home and assures buyers that outlets are working correctly. Additionally, it shows good care of your property.

3. Don’t Price It Wrong

Pricing your home incorrectly can be one of the biggest things to avoid when considering what not to do when selling your home. One of the main reasons that cause homes and properties to sit on the market for long periods of time, a too high price can be hard to overcome, especially if the owner is unwilling to negotiate with buyers.

While there will always be offers lower than current market value, if your property is not receiving any calls to be seen, it could be due to the price scaring away buyers who might otherwise be interested. The real estate market is in a consistent ebb and flow. While your neighbor sold their home a few years ago at the height of a market for $500,000, your home may now be worth $450,000, even in the same condition and location.

New rules, regulations and current interest rates can also greatly impact the pricing on properties. This can be seen in some of the neighborhoods in Lake Placid with new short term rental rules. These rules ended the possibility for owners to rent a property short term. This in turn lowered the attractiveness to buyers, and prices have started to come down in those neighborhoods.

4. Do Not Limit Showings

One of the biggest things to avoid when considering what not to do when selling your home is putting limitations on showings. Decreasing opportunities for potential buyers to see the property will decrease your chance of finding a buyer. This is especially important in vacation and resort style destinations where visitors are in the area for a short time and want to see your home. Whether they come up every year or are first time visitors, they will be limited on when they can see your home.

If you decide that showings can only happen from 4 pm – 8 pm Monday to Friday and be more open on the weekend, you may miss your perfect buyer. It is understandable to have some limitations where you do not do showings. It is common to wait to start showing availability until after you go to work or on the occasional day of scheduled work or repairs. Realize that the more availability you can provide, the better chance you will find a buyer for your property.

5. Don’t Try To Sell Without An Agent

Deciding not to use an agent can be one of the biggest no-no’s when considering what not to do when selling your home. It may seem cost effective to avoid using a real estate agent, but in the long run it may end up costing you more. Full time real estate agents are continually learning and researching what current trends are in their market. This knowledge helps clients get a step ahead in selling their property. Advantages include pricing the home correctly, more availability for showings, pointing out potential issues and marketing the property.

Agents who work in the local real estate market everyday can also see home sale trends emerging in certain regions. They are also more familiar with what potential buyers are willing to spend. Unlike other real estate markets across the U.S., there is high diversity in the Adirondacks with each home being very unique. Familiarity of the Adirondack market helps an agent determine a confident listing price range.

An agent is also a very valuable tool for reducing stress and executing the maximum number of showings. It’s hard as a homeowner to be home for all requested showings between work, life or family commitments. A full time real estate agent is available to show your home throughout the day or when you may be out of town.

Real estate agents will also use their skills to help you get you the highest price for your property. They can often point out potential issues that need to be addressed when you indicate that you want to list. As stated above, the biggest and best thing a homeowner can do is de-clutter and keep up the curb appeal. An agent can alert you to any potential issues very early in the process so they can be addressed before showings start.

Finally, when you choose to use a real estate agent, you can leverage their agency’s resources to access additional marketing for your property. Depending on the agent and agency you choose, this could include print marketing, web marketing, social media advertisements, video or 360 tours. Marketing may also include being listed on an Multiple Listing Service where your property will populate to all of the agencies that subscribe to this service. Additionally, if you choose a larger company like Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, your property will gain increased exposure to reach a large network of agents as well as an international pool of potential buyers.

While these are only a few of the big issues that could potentially slow the sale of your home, they provide a great place to start when considering what not to do when selling your home. If you are looking to cover all of your bases and ease seller’s stress when you decide to list your home, contact one of our Adirondack real estate agents to help make the process smoother!

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