Selling your home can be challenging and may take a significant amount of time. While leaving your space is already quite emotionally taxing, catering to your potential buyers can also get quite intrusive as they walk around checking every cabinet or closet of your home. As a first-time home seller, you are prone to prospective buyers publicly criticizing and underestimating the value of your house, which can lead you to lose your temper and make numerous avoidable mistakes.

A lack of experience can lead house sellers to make blunders as they have a complicated deal on their hands. Here are some common mistakes home sellers make that you can avoid when closing your next deal:

Underestimating the Costs

The real estate agent’s commission, around 5% to 6% of the house value, is a tiny fraction of the cost of selling a house. The realistic cost can be closer to 10% of the original value of your home as it involves all the closing costs, repairs, agent fees, and other concessions to the buyer. This cost also considers the rental price of a new place for the first month and the cost of utilities, HOA dues, taxes, and storage. Before listing your home, be aware of this information as it enables you to determine your house’s most appropriate and fair value.

Not Preparing Your Home for the Sale

Presentation makes all the difference, and while it is a hassle, a better presentation will attract better buyers. The more attractive, cleaner, and less cluttered your place, the highest-paying buyers it can attract. Clutter makes your space look smaller, and potential buyers find it difficult to envision themselves living there. Always declutter and reorganize your home before putting it up for sale; and consider redesigning a few areas if needed. If you notice chipped walls inside your rooms, broken furniture, or worn-out linen, change it before you show your home to potential buyers.

Your home’s curb appeal and exterior design can tremendously impact your home’s value: how your house looks from the outside sets the tone for the interior. A place with chipped walls and uncut grass can leave a wrong first impression and demotivate your potential buyers. You can invest into getting your grass trimmed, adding some flower pots in your front yard, and completing a fresh coat of paint to get greater returns on your sale.

Hiding Major Problems

Being upfront and communicating is vital in every sphere of life. As a prospective house seller, I should never hide if my house has any significant problems, especially if I am selling my home as is . If there are any serious issues with the property, don’t conceal them. The buyer will discover any problems during the examination and will distrust you.

If your property has any damage, you have three options. You can fix the issue in advance, underprice your property to reflect it in a sell-as-is method, or list it at a fair value and negotiate with the purchaser. If you don’t resolve the issue beforehand, you can lose several customers. If you want to prevent legal issues when the home is under contract, inspect it before putting it on the market. Most states also have disclosure laws that you must follow. These laws require that vendors report any known issues with goods and the infrastructure of their houses. Not following these laws can also lead to legal problems.

Cutting Costs on Photography

Most potential buyers first see your property through house photos, and bad-quality photos can lead them to cross your home off their list before they’ve even visited. Realtors’ marketing budgets usually include professional photography. If you are not hiring a realtor or a professional photographer, put effort into taking the pictures. The pictures should be well-lit, accurately depict the size of the rooms, and not contain any unneeded reflections. The better option is to hire a professional photographer.

Selling to Unqualified Buyers

Accommodating buyers who do not have a budget for your home and are unqualified for a bank loan is a waste of time. To ensure potential buyers can pay for the property, ask them to bring a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender or proof of funds (POF) for cash transactions to demonstrate their financial capability. If your buyer is selling their current home to pay for this property, align the dates of the sale and have a deadline for your buyer to pay for your house. Discuss finances and payment dates beforehand to avoid any conflict and wasting your time on unqualified buyers.

Being Unwilling to Negotiate

If the offer you received for your property isn’t precisely what you were looking for, you should be prepared to negotiate. While you believe your asking price is reasonable, the deal will not go through if you’re rigid. The buyer must also feel they benefit from the agreement. To convince the buyer of your price, consider consenting to any minor fixes the surveyor discovers during the inspection. You can also negotiate on the promise of prompt payments from the buyer, or cash payments if that is your priority.

Not Carrying Proper Insurance

Your lender may require you to have homeowners insurance coverage. Insurance coverage will help you attract high-paying customers, and also increase your chances of closing a deal. You should also inspect the property to see any apparent threats and take precautions against them, such as keeping the children of potential buyers away from your pool and getting your dog out of the house during showings.


Successfully selling a home depends upon avoiding common mistakes, such as not preparing for a showing. Consider cleaning and organizing the house before each visit to leave a better impression of your home. Don’t overestimate the value of your home; instead, research the real estate market, and consult an expert. Never hide any faults in your home, facilitate the potential buyers’ questions and take care of non-negotiables like insurance and legalities before proceeding with the home selling process.

Set a price that allows you to negotiate and attract the best clients. Focusing on renovations and improving your home’s curb appeal can also help you gain more on your property and reach qualified buyers. Being vigilant about your selling strategy and avoiding these common mistakes can help you sell your home fast and at a fair value.

Mark Furgeson

Mark Furgeson

Starting in the bustling world of property management, Mark Furgeson, who graduated from Harvard Business School, has a rich background in real estate spanning over two decades. He has 15 years of experience in business and finance journalism, with a focus on the real estate market. Mark's articles provide practical advice on property investment and management, reflecting his profound knowledge. Mark volunteers in community housing projects and is passionate about photography, often capturing the architecture of different cities. And he is also a great golfer too.

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