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5 Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make

Ash Tsuji

Born and raised in Hilo, Ash Graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a bachelors in Communication and a published paper in the Journ...

Born and raised in Hilo, Ash Graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a bachelors in Communication and a published paper in the Journ...

Mar 16 6 minutes read

Just because it’s a strong seller’s market doesn't mean you can throw your home on the market willy-nilly, for whatever price your heart desires, and ignore the best home-selling practices. Even though sellers currently have the advantage, it’s still important to avoid these top five home-selling mistakes.

#1. Not Hiring a REALTOR

Of course you want to keep as much profit from the sweat equity you poured into your home over the years. But, selling a home is not as simple as taking a few photos and listing it online. If it was, the whole profession of real estate agents wouldn't be around. 

A Realtor can sell your house for more money and in less time. This is true for Hawai`i and all over the nation. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average “for sale by owner” listing goes for about $260,000, while agent-assisted listings goes for $318,000. 

A Realtor is an invaluable resource during the home-selling process who will guide you, give you expert tips and answer any questions as they pop up. Real estate agents are well worth the investment. So, don’t make the “for sale by owner” mistake with the hope of saving a few bucks. The headache, extra costs and extra time it takes is not worth it in the long run.

Denise Nakanishi also warns sellers who want to do it alone in her blog

#2. Hiring the Wrong Realtor

That being said, you don’t always want to hire the first real estate agent you come across. Research is required to find the agent who’s the best fit for your needs. In Hawai`i, the best referrals come from "coconut-wireless" (a.k.a. word of mouth), and online reviews are also a great tool. This will save you the headache of hiring the wrong agent who just doesn’t jive with your goals — and the pain and time it takes to find a new agent when things don't work out.

Read Denise's suggestions for hiring the right Realtor.

#3. Not Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Even in a red-hot seller’s market, you still need to de-clutter, deep clean, and stage your home before you list it.

Make sure you fix any visible issues that will decrease your home’s value, like dripping faucets, chipped paint, and broken appliances. When a house is riddled with visible damages, buyers will think there are  more lingering issues. This is another area that working with a Realtor can help you in as they are experts in what buyers look for and what repairs are worth it.

De-cluttering and de-personalizing is another critical step to get your home for sale-ready. That means taking down personal photos, and clearing miscellaneous items clogging your closets, doorways, or anywhere else. 

For more ideas, check out Denise's tips for prepping your home.

#4. Underestimating the Cost

You’ve likely heard the adage, “you have to spend money to make money.” This is so true when selling your home. But, did you know the total cost to sell a home can be as much as 10 percent of the sale price when you factor in commission, closing costs, repairs and other buyer concessions? 

You may also have to pay two mortgages if you don’t sell your home before you move, or pay rent if you sell your home before you find another one. So, if you’re toying with the idea of selling, let's talk about budgeting to handle any related costs before they pop up.

Denise also described common costs that sellers overlook in her blog. 

#5. Setting an Unrealistic Price  

Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn't mean you can ask an astronomical price for your house. This is another area where an experienced Realtor will help with their tools, knowledge, and experience to price your home correctly. They'll look at similar homes in the area, updates you’ve done, square footage, etc.

Despite what you may think, overpriced homes don’t sell. A recent survey found that 70 percent of real estate agents said that overpricing is the number one mistake that sellers make.

Bonus: Posting Unprofessional Photos  

We’re all photographers these days with our iPhones and Instagram filters, aren’t we? Not quite. Online photos are often the first thing potential buyers see. Blurry, dimly lit, or otherwise amateur-looking photos will convey to them that you’re not serious about your listing...and who knows what other issues your home may be hiding. 

Professional images will position your home in the best light...literally. Buyers will get the best first impression of your home and will be eager to get a glimpse of your home in person!

We're Here to Help!

Ready to list your home? Don’t go at it alone. We’re here to help get your home listing ready and sold. Contact us today to learn more.

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