6 Outdated Habits To Lose If You Plan To Sell Your Home This Year

With a new year comes the urge to kick bad habits to the curb—hence the popularity of “Dry January,” for instance. But too much bubbly is hardly where our vices end.

If you’ve decided to sell your home this year, then it’s high time to make sure you’re in the right mindset to make it happen. Because let’s face it: Even in the best market conditions, selling a home can be a complex and stressful process where sellers might unknowingly make decisions that could backfire and kill the deal.

Here are a few things that should go out with the old year and what to do instead that will get your home sold for the price and terms you want.

Outdated Habit No. 1: Trying to Sell Your House on Your Own

If you believe the home-selling process is as complicated as it is, you might think adding another person to the mix—in the form of a real estate professional—could make your journey even more challenging. But that concept needs to be chucked out the proverbial window—quickly. Why? Because homes for sale by owner don’t typically sell for the same price it would if it was listed with an experienced. In addition to knowledge and experience, a listing agent has networking power with contacts within the industry and can boost marketability. Even if a buyer falls into your lap, you must still be familiar with the laws and regulations of selling a house. Despite your many other talents, you might be missing the skills to vet offers and negotiate deals (and not to mention avoiding wire fraud), which a real estate professional can offer. Agents will negotiate in their clients’ best interest and act as a buffer between buyer and seller, making the transaction more tolerable for all parties. 

Outdated Habit No. 2: Considering Only the Highest Offer

Weird fact alert: The highest offer on a home might not be the best offer. Sure, the highest bid looks appealing, but it’s crucial to consider other factors, too. As a seller, you should consider the buyer’s overall financial stability, the contingencies, and the closing timeline. For example, the buyer making the highest offer might have a lender that requires a home appraisal to support the accepted offer. And if the appraisal doesn’t support the offer—the buyer can back out. Or maybe the highest offer comes with an extended closing time, yet you need to get moving due to a contractual agreement on another property. When you broaden your perspective beyond just the price, you’ll make a smarter decision and avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.

Outdated Habit No. 3: Being inflexible for showings

Great news - your agent has a very interested buyer who is excited to see your home. Not so great news - the requested appointment is in two hours. Being at the beck and call to show your home can turn your daily life upside down, but a home seller needs to be as flexible as possible. It can be a major turnoff to home shoppers if you’re rigid with showings and unwilling to work with prospective buyers’ schedules. Being able to show some flexibility by accommodating various showing times will allow you to cast a wider net and reel in more interested buyers. The buyer whose showing you turned down may put an offer on the house they see instead of yours!

Outdated Habit No. 4: Assuming a Cash Offer is Always Best

Like with the highest offer, a cash offer for the full asking price (or above!) seems like the perfect scenario for a seller. Cash usually means a quicker sale at a good price. Plus, you might avoid inspections, appraisals, and contingencies. Cash offers typically come from wealthy buyers, investors who fix and flip properties, and iBuyers. Yet because cash buyers don’t use conventional financing, it can be difficult to know if you’re dealing with a reputable buyer. Cash really is king as it does present huge advantages, but some investors throw out offers casually and then walk away. So, don’t always jump at the chance to take the money and run. A strong buyer with a pre-approval letter who is properly vetted can sometimes be more invested in the property and more likely to close. 

Outdated Habit No. 5: Overlooking Minor Repairs

We get it—fixing up a home you plan to leave doesn’t inspire anyone to break out their tools. Yet, making minor repairs could yield an even higher sales price for some sellers. Best of all, you can prep your house on the cheap. Take a fresh look at your home—inside and out. You might need to do a deep clean, declutter, and organize. Or fix that hole in the screen and repaint the front door. Sometimes making these minor improvements will pay off by ultimately increasing your home’s value.

Outdated Habit No. 6: Skipping Staging

Is home staging really necessary? The answer is YES. Staging can be the key to getting the highest price for your home, regardless of market conditions. Neglecting home staging and maintenance can be likened to serving a gourmet meal on a paper plate. It just doesn’t do justice to your home. Staging can often lead to above asking offers, especially if the home is already vacant. Staging can typically make your home feel more finished, and the furniture and decor strategically selected by a stager can usually transform a home’s already beautiful appearance into something extra special. 

So, go ahead and toss out all of these bad habits this year and get your home sold for the highest price, in the shortest amount of time!

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