Seven biggest mistakes people make when selling a house
Selling a house? These are seven common mistakes and how to avoid making them.
Selling a home will be the biggest transaction most of us will make in a lifetime. It can be a confusing and stressful process, particularly if you haven’t carefully considered all the steps.
That’s why it’s so important to do as much research as you can, says David Ginnane, CEO of Agent Select, an RACV-affiliated online agent comparison platform that identifies top-performing agents in your area.
“On average, people in Australia sell every 10 to 12 years, although for many it is a lot longer than that – up to 25 years,” says David. “But, interestingly, most of us will spend more time researching what flat-screen TV to buy than the best agent to sell our home.”
Selling your home shouldn’t be a rush decision, says Darren Turner, general manager of RACV Home. “It’s important to take your time and get yourself organised for the sale, whether that’s in the upkeep of the property or picking the appropriate agent,” he says.
We asked David and Darren to identify the biggest mistakes people make when selling a home, and how to avoid them.
Seven mistakes to avoid when selling a home
Signing the wrong agent
Choosing a real-estate agent shouldn’t be a simple matter of going with the bloke who sold your neighbour’s house. Whether you do your own research into local sales, auction clearance rates and approach agents for a quote, or if you use a free service such as Agent Select, you should consider an agent’s sales record, commission rates, marketing costs and, importantly, how comfortable you are with them.
“The lowest commission doesn’t win the job – what wins the job is trust,” says David. “It’s important to choose someone who has a strong track record in your area and with similar properties, but also someone you feel comfortable with.
Undervaluing or overpricing your home
There are few things more disappointing than a home that won’t sell because it is too expensive – unless, of course, it’s the feeling that you gave the property away too cheaply. David says it’s important to put in the work to estimate a price that fits the market and your expectations, before discussing it with your agent. “Ten to 15 years ago the agent would be the sole source of information for people about pricing but now it is almost totally the opposite,” he says.
These days there’s a multitude of online resources including Agent Select, Landchecker (an online portal that details the sales history and other detailed information for thousands of properties in Victoria and New South Wales), Core Logic and the big property listings sites. “These can be used to access localised, specialised information about comparable sales, median price information, the rental vacancy rate, down to transport and schools,” says David.
A combination of your research, the agent’s recommendations and your financial needs should settle on a price range that will keep everyone happy – and keep buyers coming.
Overcapitalising on renovations
Thinking of putting in a pool before sale? Hold that thought, says Darren. Over-spending on major capital works may not get the return you’re looking for. Take the time to research similar property sales in your area, their features and selling price to determine how much you think you can invest.
“Looking at a modest home renovation could add real dollars to the return at sale – the caution with that is ensuring you don’t over-capitalise,” he says. “You just want your main areas to be presented the best they can and have a bit of wow factor. Certainly, kitchens and high foot-traffic areas like bathrooms, they are the ones that potential buyers will look at.”
Read more about the home improvements that are worth the money and those that aren’t, as well as the eight DIY jobs you should never attempt.