Being Emotionally Involved
Once you decide to sell your home, it can be helpful to start thinking of yourself as a businessperson and a home seller, rather than as the home's owner. By looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you'll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property that you've undoubtedly created many memories in.
Also, try to remember how you felt when you were shopping for that home! Most buyers will also be in an emotional state of shopping for their next home! So, if you can remember that you are selling not just a piece of property but also an image, the American Dream and a lifestyle, you'll be more likely to put in the extra effort of staging and perhaps some minor remodeling to get top dollar for your home. These changes in appearance will not only help the sales price but also help you create that emotional distance because the home will look less familiar.
Not Hiring an Agent
Although real estate agents command a hefty commission (usually 5 to 6% of the sale price of your home), it's probably ill-advised to try to sell your home on your own, especially if you haven't done it before. A good agent will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home that will increase your odds of a quick sale. An agent can also help tone down the emotion of the process by interacting with potential buyers so you don't have to and by eliminating tire-kickers who only want to look at your property but have no intention of writing an offer.
An agent will also have more experience negotiating home sales than you do, potentially helping you get more money than you could on your own. Further, if any problems come up during the process—and they commonly do—an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly!
Setting an Unrealistic Price
Whether you're working with an agent or doing it alone, setting the right asking price is key! Remember the comparable market analysis you or your agent did when you bought your home to determine a fair offering price? Buyers will do this for your home, too, so as a seller, you should be one step ahead of them.
Absent a housing bubble, overpriced homes generally don't sell. Don't worry too much about setting a price that's on the low side because, in theory, this will generate multiple offers and bid the price up to the home's true market value. In fact, under-pricing your home can be a strategy to generate extra interest in your listing. And you can always refuse an offer that's too low.
Skimping on Listing Photos
So many buyers look for homes online these days, and so many of those homes have photos that you'll be doing yourself a real disservice if you don't offer photos as well. At the same time, there are so many poor photos of homes for sale that if you do a good job, it will set your listing apart and help generate extra interest!
Good photos should be crisp and clear and should be taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light available and should showcase your home's best assets! Consider using a wide-angle lens if possible — this will allow you to give potential buyers a better idea of what entire rooms look like. Ideally, hire a professional real estate photographer to get top quality results instead of just letting your agent take snapshots on a phone. Consider adding a video tour or 360-degree view to further enhance your listing.