Here are seven costly mistakes sellers often make:
1. Using cheap and inferior finishes
There is nothing worse than a poor remodeling job. If it can’t be done properly, it is better not to do it.
Both buyers and agents see right through attempts to put frosting on a bad cake to make it look “pretty” — especially when they see the handiwork up close.
Cheap laminate or vinyl plank flooring being passed off as “wood,” homegrown paint jobs on grainy oak cabinets, “faux” granite counter tops and partially updated appliances most often don’t translate into top dollar for a seller.
2. Not replacing older systems
A seller might think it is totally acceptable to sell a home with an original roof, home ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system or a water heater.
After all, that’s for the next buyer to deal with, right? Think again.
A seller can expect to account for these deficiencies when either the home is shown with no offers, an offer is made reflective of these items that need to be replaced or once the home inspection happens, the buyer wants to renegotiate the entire transaction.
What’s even worse is the potential for the deal to fall apart because the buyers start to get cold feet and feel as if they are buying a money pit — and walk away.
Now the seller must deal with these issues and they are likely to come up again for the next buyer, which might force them to replace the items to get the home sold anyways. This normally decreases the momentum of the sales process which ultimately lowers the sale price.
3. Selling a home with anticipated deal-breakers
Homes with original wiring like aluminum or knob-and-tube, pipes that are polybutelene or copper worry buyers; these features can make it more difficult to obtain home insurance, and when they can, it’s more expensive.
The same is true for unpermitted structures on properties. Sellers can’t guarantee that they’re safe. That leaves the buyers with the uncertain prospect of either having to remove or take responsibility for those structures.
Either way, it adds uncertainty and doubt to the transaction for the buyers and the possibility of significant future costs.
The only way to make it right may be to remove or undo it. The extra square footage and/or value the seller was hoping to derive from that structure cannot be guaranteed if it’s not permitted.
4. Being reluctant to negotiate or turning down offers
Sellers who reject or won’t negotiate an offer usually sell for much less later. There is a commonality. More transactions fall apart when both parties are literally around $20,000 apart in a negotiation.
Neither side is willing to budge. The sellers feel they are giving the house away, and the buyers feel their number is the max they are willing to pay for the house based on what it is and what it has.
Who really wins? The buyer who can go out and find another home. The seller has now bought their home back for the difference in the negotiations plus the ongoing carrying costs.
This tactic can be a deadline sin. Overpricing is sure to distance and discourage buyers from even looking at the home or making an offer.
This approach is outdated and usually won’t produce the intended result. A common occurrence is the buyers and agents will avoid the home entirely and simply won’t show it.
By the time the sellers start to believe the reality, six months have passed by and they are now sitting on the market. In the meantime, better inventory that is well-priced is available that buyers are choosing or have chosen over an overpriced property by an unrealistic seller with a risky strategy.
6. DIYing home repairs
Some sellers like to do their own repairs and improvements because there isn’t a contractor out there who could possibly build or fix something the way they do. That is all fine, until it comes time to sell their house.
These repairs are normally called into question and be scrutinized by buyers, their agents and inspectors. Sellers might not be able to address something on their own simply because they don’t have the knowledge to do so.
What they built or fixed might need to be redone and correcting each DIY can be costly.
7. Moving alone
Speaking of DIY, there is nothing worse when sellers attempt to move out on their own.
They were late picking up the rental truck, or the one they got had a problem, and they had to get another one. They have more stuff than anticipated, and they were supposed to go back to clean the house.
It’s now 2 a.m. before closing day, and there is no way all of that is going to get finished.
Ditto for a garage full of garbage and unwanted items. When the buyers come to do their walkthrough, they are extremely unhappy and want all cleaned and cleared out immediately. This entails calling in a favor to a miracle worker or two who can take care of the issues, but they will need to be paid for it. So much for trying to save money.