Thinking of Selling? Read this First.

Or Mistakes to Avoid if You are Thinking of Selling

In today’s seller’s market with multiple offers and “sold over asking” seemingly the norm, homeowners who have no real need to sell are being tempted to take advantage of the current situation and put their home on the market.

While there is nothing wrong with using this opportunity to upgrade to a better neighbourhood, or move closer to the kids, it’s important to carefully consider your options and everything involved before jumping in.

Here are my top 5 mistakes to avoid before you list your property.

Mistake #1 – Not Evaluating Your Financial Big Picture

You may be mortgage-free or close to it and assume that you’ll have plenty of money to buy that next home. But remember, you are buying in the same market you are selling in. Be sure to have a clear understanding of your financial situation first and talk to your bank or mortgage broker about a pre-approval to ensure you are clear on what you can afford.

Make sure you assess your income, debts and potential upcoming expenses that may impact your pre-approval amount. Consider other expenses associated with selling as well, such as repairs, staging costs, sales commission, moving costs and mortgage payoff penalties.

Mistake #2 – Not Preparing Your House for the Sale

You may think that in a seller’s market you can just put up a sign and get it sold. But if you want to attract the right buyers and maximize your sale price, you’ll want to follow time-tested recommendations for preparing your house for sale, such as:

  • Fixing any major problems
  • Repairing minor issues like a dripping faucet, missing doorknob or loose railing
  • Giving it a thorough clean (consider getting it professionally cleaned), adding a fresh coat of paint and decluttering
  • Staging your home – or key living areas – to allow buyers to see the space in its best light
  • Landscaping and tidying up the yard

Mistake #3 – Setting an Unrealistic Price

In a hot market you may be tempted to list high or think that your home is worth more than it is. Don’t get caught in the hype and ensure you get a comparative market analysis done by a trusted real estate professional to ensure you are setting a realistic price. While you may be seeing a lot of “sold over asking” in today’s market, many agents will underprice a property to attract more buyers and get into bidding wars. I encourage my sellers to be realistic but conservative. And remember, if you don’t have to sell you don’t have to accept a low offer.

Mistake #4 – Trying to Go it Alone

In a seller’s market you may feel you can sell your home yourself as there will be more than enough interest. While the interest may be there, there is so much more involved in selling a home that can quickly become overwhelming and many mistakes that can be made. While it may seem ‘easy’ to sell a home these days, there is still a massive time commitment – from marketing to staging to managing overwhelming requests for showings – and specific skills in strategy, pricing and negotiation, not to mention all that paperwork.  Using an experienced Realtor® makes it all worthwhile. Often, the cost of the professional fees is more than made up for in getting more for your home than you would on your own. But don’t just hire anyone. Interview more than one and look for someone who is experienced, local and understands your wants and needs.

Mistake #5 – Not Planning Your Next Move

It can be tempting to get your home listed now in case the market “corrects” and assume you will find another place to buy before your closing date. But it may be harder than you think. Even if you know where you want to move, you will likely be competing with many other buyers so landing a successful bid can be a challenge.

If considering a brand new home, many builders are missing their targeted closing dates because materials are being backordered. You could find yourself without a place to go! Finding the right property can take time, so whether you decide to buy first or wait until you sell, be clear on your options (and their associated costs, such as storage and rent) in case you need temporary accommodations while you’re between homes. And don’t forget about the stress and emotional toll this can have on you.

In the Waterloo Region I offer mid-term furnished rentals for people needing a place to go when between homes.  Check it out

There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of a hot market but these and many more mistakes can be made in selling before you’re ready. The bottom line is not to rush in, talk to trusted professionals to ensure your finances are in order and engage a Realtor® to consider all your options.

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