Top Home Selling Mistakes

Let’s face it, selling a home can often be a challenge.

Whether is it getting it ready for sale, trying to find the buyer, negotiating the price and repairs and of course, getting it sold at or near your asking price.  Unfortunately, Atlanta home sellers can unknowingly make the process much more painful by committing these six home selling mistakes…

Photo of an Atlanta home seller with the text "Biggest Mistakes Home Sellers Make"

MISTAKE #1 | Selling Your Home on Your Own

In many markets, homes are selling so quickly that home sellers think they can do it on their own and avoid real estate broker commissions. Unfortunately, less than 8% of all homes sold are sold by the owner and FSBO homes sell for about 18.5% less than those listed by a real estate brokerage.

Quick story: I recently purchased a home from a “For Sale by Owner” (or FSBO) in a popular Atlanta neighborhood and believe it or not, they had three offers on the home thanks to word of mouth. The potential buyers didn’t have representation either, so the sellers didn’t have a real estate contract template, an accurate assessment of what their home was worth and an understanding that the home was in major disrepair. Long story short, all three buyers walked away (in frustration) and thankfully by the time I came along, we were able to work out a contract that was a win/win for both parties. For the sellers, this was a four-month process, when they could have sold their home the first weekend (with multiple offers) for about 10% more than their final sales price. Even if there was a real estate commission, they still would have made 4.0% more (about $19,000) in a fraction of the time.

MISTAKE #2 | Not Preparing Your Home Before Listing

There really is an art to getting your home ready for sale. Cleaning every inch of the home, removing dog and cooking smells, clearing off countertops, de-cluttering your home, removing extra dressers, knick-knacks, personal photos and even removing rugs to show off the gleaming hardwood flooring. Learn more about getting the outside of your home ready.

It’s a lot of work and because you’ve lived in the home for some time, it is important to ask some friends and/or your agent to come over and give their feedback on your decluttering and staging.  Tell them not to hold back!

** This is a real photo of a FSBO home – our first tour of the home!

MISTAKE #3 | Overspending on Renovations

Atlanta home sellers need to be careful not to OVERSPEND on maintenance issues and renovations/updates. Just because you purchased a new hot water heater for $1,200, it doesn’t mean that the price of your home is now $2,500 higher (or even $1,200 higher). Most buyers expect to have functional systems before moving into the home.

This is also true with larger renovations. If you spend $15,000 updating your 1950s bathroom, your home will not necessarily increase in value by $12,000 (usually it’s about half of that amount).  The renovation will probably help you sell your home faster, but don’t expect a dollar for dollar return on your upgrades.

MISTAKE #4 | Not Allowing the Buyers to Tour the Home Alone

When potential home buyers are visiting your home for the first time (with their agent), they are trying to envision themselves living in the home.

If you are right behind them, sharing your stories and home renovations over the last 20 years, not only will the buyers be a little irritated, they will be completely distracted from the process and can’t talk freely about what they like, what they would change, where they would put Grandma’s antique hutch, etc. It’s a great way to make them lose interest in your home.

MISTAKE #5 | Sharing Details of Your Situation

With Facebook, it’s so easy to share the latest updates in your life.  When you are being transferred out of state or are having financial or family hardships, don’t share that information on Facebook or any social media before putting your home on the market.

Also, once your home is on the market, it’s important that you don’t vent about the selling or negotiating process.  Examples include “So frustrated that my home still hasn’t sold – may have to reduce the price” or “Received an offer on our home today, but the buyers don’t look like they’ll qualify.”

Today’s buyers are all about research and you don’t want to lose your leverage and/or turn off the potential buyers!

MISTAKE #6 | Pricing Too High

Now we know that you hear this all the time from real estate agents, but pricing correctly is the key to getting your home sold.  One of the top struggles for realtors is that the homeowner believes their home is worth more than that market suggests… and is one of THE biggest mistakes home sellers make!

Another “no-no” is that sellers may also interview enough agents until they get an agent to agree to list their home at the higher price. Having an overpriced home is going to make your home sit on the market for much longer and will encourage potential buyers to send “low ball” offers.  In Atlanta, homes that aren’t priced correctly when first listed, end up selling for about 16% less and take four times longer to sell.

Here at Nest Atlanta, we always way to make sure that home owners feel comfortable with our pricing recommendations.  If they aren’t comfortable, we do a few things to make sure the listing price is spot-on:

1)  Take the seller to all the nearby homes that could be our competition.  This will help the seller see all the features at each home (and compare to their own) and also allow them to see their home in the eyes of a potential buyer.

2) Host a “Sneak Preview” Agent Open House.  A few days before your home is listed, we will invite all the local agents to your home.  We don’t tell them what the listing price is and ask that they submit their pricing estimate and the agent who guesses our final listing price wins a prize.  We love this approach because the seller is able to get 15 to 25 pricing estimates… without having to sit through 15 to 25 listing presentations!

Learn more about our listing services


Author:  Kerry Lucasse, Owner of  Urban Nest Atlanta Real Estate Group at eXp Realty LLC.

For more information about how we market your home and/or our flexible listing commission plan, please call 404-432-1844 or 404-205-8800.

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