Common mistakes when selling a house

Written by in Selling

A boot with gum on the bottom of it

Save yourself a headache and the cost of selling a house by avoiding these five mistakes.

1. Placing the world on your shoulders

The term ‘DIY’ should extend, for most people, only as far as a new paintjob or the odd minor/cosmetic renovation. The biggest cost of selling a house and easiest mistake is deciding to sell your house yourself. Unless you feel completely confident in selling your house yourself, are flexible in what price you want for the house or don’t have the money to use an agent, then perhaps avoid selling yourself. Engage a professional real estate agent to value your house, market it, and then sell it.

The benefits of engaging an agent to sell your home? They have sold dozens of properties (hopefully!) and know what works and what doesn’t. However, this does lead into the next mistake to be wary of.


2. Choosing the wrong agent

There should be two parties working together in selling your home: yourself and your agent. Without interviewing an agent and finding out whether they have recent and considerable experience in your local market then you risk employing someone who will not work with you, who will not work effectively and who won’t prove to be the worthwhile difference between selling your property yourself and engaging a professional. Be sure that any prospective agent can show you their previous sales and compare these to your own property. Following this, ask them how they will market your home and who they intend to market it towards.

3. Entering the game blind

Mistakes when selling a house often come down to a lack of knowledge and awareness of the market. The easiest way to avoid underquoting or overquoting your home (and alienating buyers) or selling at the wrong time is to be your own property expert. This means being aware of the larger markets and then honing your knowledge once it comes time to sell. Attending auctions will be a valuable tool for knowing how to market your own home, while using online data such as a Price Estimates tool will give you not only a clear indication of your property’s worth but vital demographic data to help you gear your property’s marketing towards the sort of property seeker who will pay what your home is worth.

Blackboard with a list of factors that influence a property's value

4. Being inflexible

This goes for many factors within the selling process. You need to remain open to the suggestions and knowledge of your agent, to the possibility of attracting and cementing early offers rather than waiting to see what you can get at auction (especially in a buyer’s market) and being flexible when it comes to what you can get for your home. If it seems that it is unlikely that you will get what you initially hoped, be open to accepting a lower price if it means you can still do what you wanted to do with the money. This flexibility leads to…

5. Being committed to selling a house 

Avoid entering the market half-heartedly just to see how your property performs. This attitude will taint your relationship with your agent, as they will work harder for your property if they know you want to sell it. Being non-committal may also impact other aspects of the selling process, such as reducing how effectively you market and display your property, how well you fix repairs to the home (trust between you and a potential buyer is key to driving up your home’s price) and impact negotiations you have with potential buyers, which can all have an effect on the cost of selling a house.