Looking to sell your house? Once you put your home on the market, you are going to get a lot of advice given to you from family, friends, and real estate agents. Unfortunately, most of these tips for selling your home are actually really bad. Here are the 10 ten things you will hear from people that you should actually ignore.
10. “Don’t make any improvements to the house. The buyer will do it, anyway.”
It is shocking how many people have this mindset. What sellers don’t seem to realize is that many buyers are looking to move into a home that is ready to begin living in immediately. (Especially if they are used to living in an apartment.) Yes, there are plenty of shows like “Fixer Upper” on TV, but that does not represent the level of stress that most people are willing to put up with.
Think about it- People have jobs that keep them busy, and kids that they want to keep safe. So they want to feel like the house is move-in-ready, with only minor tweaks. We are not saying that you need to give your house a makeover that costs thousands of dollars. At the very least, make sure you paint walls, fix holes, clean up, and repair anything that may be considered a safety hazard.
9. “Keep the price high. A buyer will come along eventually.”
This is just plain wrong, and there is a phrase “prices to sell” for a reason. Keep in mind that a real estate agents wants to get as much commission as humanly possible. So it is in their best interest to keep the price of a home at the top-end of its estimate. If you hear this advice, they are doing what’s good for them, not what’s good for you. The longer a house stays on the market, you are still paying taxes, mortgage payments, and delaying moving forward with your life.
People who are looking to buy your house are going to make lower offers. They will also compare the price of your property against others in the neighborhood. The higher you keep the price of the property, the longer it will take to sell. So, if you get a decent offer, try to work with the buyer.
8. “You’ll totally find a buyer at this open house!”
Be wary of false promises. There is no guarantee that any showing or open house will result in a sale. Yes, it can help, but a real estate agent should never make promises like this. Many people who are looking to buy a house will go on several showings before making their final decision. This is especially true when you are trying to sell a house during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people (even if they’re eager buyers) are afraid to show up to an open house.
7. “You absolutely must have an open house.”
Many real estate agents will tell you that you must have an open house if you want to sell your property. Keep in mind that this is why they wanted this career in the first place. Throwing an open house is kind of like having a party. They put up balloons, make snacks, and network with loads of new people who walk through the door. If anything, it’s good for them, but not necessarily for you.
In reality, if someone is truly interested, they don’t have a problem making an appointment with an agent. There have also been studies that show that open houses lead to more thefts. People come in pretending to be potential buyers, but they are actually scoping out the property looking for easy ways to break in. If you are still living in the house while it is being sold, and your valuables are still there, you probably need to say “no”.
6. “Use Zillow Estimates to price your home.”
Zillow Estimates can be a good way to get a ballpark price of what your house is worth, but you should never use it as gospel. In order to get the true value of your home, you should get it assessed by the local municipality. Their experts will let you know how much houses in the area sold for, and what they are worth. Real estate agents can also give you a better idea of what price will actually sell, versus the general ballpark you see online.
5. “This is what the market will be like next year…”
No one can predict the future. If they could, there would have been a lot less people affected by the housing crisis in 2008. If a real estate agent tries to tell you what future prices will be, it’s best to ignore what they are saying. Don’t make your decisions based on a “what if”. Look at the reality of the situation right now, and weigh the pro’s and con’s of what is best for you and your family.
4. “You can save so much money if you give less commission.”
Most of the time, you have an option of how much commission you give to your real estate agent. Sure, you’ll save some money if you only offer 3% versus 6%, but that means that the agent is likely to work half as hard to sell your house. Put yourself in their shoes- If you were selling multiple houses, would you work on the 6% clients first, or the 3%? By giving them a higher percentage, you are respecting the real estate agent’s time, and they will most likely reciprocate that.
3. “For-Sale-By-Owner will save you tons of money.”
Some people decide that they want to try to sell their house on their own by putting up a sign and advertising on Craigslist. Technically, yes- you have every right to do that. However, do you have experience in legal contracts, title, and sales? And how many people feel comfortable purchasing a house directly from an owner, without the protection of a real estate agent or lawyer? If anything, you are going to make the process far more difficult for yourself. You also open yourself up to the potential of getting scammed out of your real estate.
2. “Wait until the spring to sell your home”
Most apartment leases renew in the spring, and loads of new real estate listings go online when the weather is warm, too. But just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right. In fact, if you list your house off-season, it may be one of the only houses on Realtor.com or Zillow. So more people will see it. If a buyer is truly interested in a house, they will make an effort to visit, even if the weather is cold.
1. “The real estate agency you choose isn’t important. Just pick one.”
This advice is not true at all. If you check Yelp before going to a restaurant, or read an Amazon review before making a purchase, why would you jump into hiring a real estate agent to sell the most valuable thing you own? Before you hire anyone, do your due-diligence. Do some research online, and try to find reviews. Maybe ask friends and family if they can recommend someone. Even if you meet someone in person, don’t feel obligated to call that same agent again if they were not a good fit for you.