Don’t Make One of These First-time Seller Mistakes

girl covering her face with both hands

The reasons commentators dispense so much advice to first-time homebuyers are clear: the process of finding and buying a house means making a huge financial commitment in an industry rife with customs and terms that are alien to most consumers. Once you have navigated the process, it’s all less intimidating—but you really have to do it once to feel at ease.

But what about selling your house if you’ve never done that before? Since you’ve been through a successful sale from the buyer’s side, it may feel a good deal less daunting, but the considerations and choices do look different from the opposite side of the table. Again, selling your house is a huge financial venture—and your lack of prior experience can make some decision-making a nerve-rattling occasion.

Realtor® Magazine offered an article that should be required reading for all of those who plan on selling their house as a first-time seller. The piece, titled “3 Mistakes of Novice Sellers,” featured a list of the missteps most commonly encountered by real estate pros:

  1. Unrealistic price expectations. Today’s market is as one widely characterized as featuring “soaring home prices” and “high demand.” New sellers might expect that the best listing price would be a rock-bottom figure—and expect buyers to begin outbidding one another immediately. Knowledgeable sellers are less rigid. From real market experience, they know that the listing price they set simply indicates an approximate appropriate price “intended to drive interest in the property”—then the real market takes over.
  2. Accepting the highest offer. Some offers (especially the ‘sight unseen’ ones) may be retracted after an onsite showing—a common phenomenon in today’s market. The result can be a loss of traction if more solid offers have disappeared in the interim.
  3. Trying to go FSBO. The temptation to go it alone might seem less risky when the market is sizzling, but the cost of failing to expose the home’s debut to the widest audience of qualified buyers is always questionable. In reality, successful For Sale by Owner transactions make up only about 7% of successful sales—which explains why so many FSBO converts’ ultimate decision is to try again—with the help of a real estate professional.

Whether or not it’s your first time out as the homeowner, selling your house is serious business that calls for professional backing.