Owning a home and making mortgage payments is like putting money in the bank. Barring a market reversal, that nest egg of equity in your home will grow and grow. And for most homeowners, their house is their largest asset—which means there’s a lot of money at stake when it comes time to sell. Want to get as much money back as possible from this big-ticket investment? Realtor.com suggests avoiding these nine things when you put your home on the market.
1. Ignoring your agent’s advice
Hiring a real estate agent can help you get more money in your pocket. A good listing agent can assist you with pricing your home, marketing it, negotiating with buyers and guiding you through the closing process. Because your agent has a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests, you need to trust the person’s advice. So, if your agent says to do something—like make a price reduction—you should do it.
2. Neglecting important repairs before listing your home
Most home buyers will require a home-inspection contingency. But that doesn’t mean you should wait for the home inspector to tell you what to fix. If your home has noticeable flaws, go ahead and ask your agent whether you should address them before putting your house on the market. Something as minor as a leaky kitchen faucet can be a red flag to a buyer, since the person might assume there are bigger issues with the home.
3. Being restrictive with showings
You want the greatest number of potential buyers to see your home. So, you need to be extremely flexible when responding to showing requests. Bear in mind that if you decline a showing, the buyer might not return—and you could potentially lose out on a great offer.
4. Failing to keep the house tidy
To be prepared for last-minute showing requests, you must keep your home relatively clean, neat and organized at all times. Your home should look as much like a model home as possible. So, try your best to make the place look spotless before buyers arrive.
5. Being present for showings or open houses
Homebuyers already are apprehensive about touring a stranger’s property, so don’t make things even more awkward by sticking around for open houses or showings. Buyers need to be able to envision your home as their own, which can be difficult to do if they see you hanging around the house.
6. Letting a pet spoil your sale
Although you love your pet, a homebuyer might not feel the same way. Dogs, cats, and other animals also can leave behind a bad odor that can be an immediate turnoff. Plus, some homebuyers are allergic to pets. Rather than crating or confining your pet to a special area of the house during showings, take your pet with you for a walk while buyers are viewing your home.
7. Reviewing offers with a closed mind
Many people form an emotional attachment to their home. But don’t let those feelings cloud your vision, especially when you receive offers. In an ideal world, you’ll receive a full-price (or higher) offer for your home, but be willing to negotiate if you receive an offer that’s below list price. Making up your mind that you won’t take a dollar less than your asking price can kill a potential sale. Trust your agent to negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best deal.
8. Balking over requested repairs
No matter how well you’ve maintained your house, a buyer’s home inspector is going to find issues with the property. Be prepared to make repairs during the home inspection negotiation period—or at least offer the buyer credit at closing.
9. Overlooking closing costs
Although homebuyers shoulder most of the closing costs, home sellers still chip in some cash at settlement—about 1 percent to 3 percent of the home’s final sales price. Unfortunately, many sellers don’t budget for closing fees. In fact, a lot of sellers only look at their agent’s commission when calculating their closing costs. As a home seller, you can expect to be responsible for a closing fee—paid to the title company or attorney’s office where everyone meets to close on the home—as well as taxes on the home sale; a fee for an attorney (if the home seller has one); and a fee for transferring the title to the new owner. After you sign a sales contract with a homebuyer, ask the buyer’s title company for an estimate of what you’ll have to pay at closing, so that you can budget appropriately.