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Myths About Selling Your Home

Hanna Kielar July 19, 2023

Benjamin Franklin is said to have advised, “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.”

Though he probably wasn’t referring to homeownership, this counsel is as true in real estate as it is in life. Still, we’re bound to believe what we’re told – until we’re told better.

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As a home seller, you’ll run into a myriad of myths. And that’s OK, so long as you take a moment to find out what information could be missing before you make the next move. Here are several of the most common home selling myths – and the facts hidden below the surface.

You Can’t Sell Your Home Without A Real Estate Agent

Says who? You don’t need any degrees, certificates or superpowers. Selling your home without an agent not only means more money in your pocket, it also means having the freedom to do things your way.

With that said, you’ll likely need to invest a significant amount of time and energy to sell your home. This is especially true if you’re a first-time home seller. You’ll need to educate yourself on each step of the process, gather the necessary legal forms and contact several third parties (like a title company) along the way.

Fortunately, the internet was invented to simplify matters. There are plenty of online resources at your disposal, and marketing your home to millions of buyers has never been easier. From listing your home online to helping you manage your home sale, you can get the help you need from the comfort of your soon-to-be-sold home.

It’s OK To Sell Your Home As-Is

You look around your house, and all the memories you’ve created there come flooding back. You’re less likely to notice cracks or small areas of disrepair because you’ve become accustomed to them. Buyers, on the other hand, will be seeking them out.

It’s important to detach yourself from your home and view it as a buyer will. Most buyers are viewing several homes for sale per week, and most homes are primped and polished to attract offers. If you want to get market value for your property, you’ll need to measure up to the competition.

Take a close look at your landscaping. Could trimming the trees and shrubs add curb appeal?

How about the walls and flooring? If you paint your home and install new carpet, would it transform the look and feel of each room?

Don’t forgo the fixes that have the potential to upgrade your home. Even minor cosmetic tweaks can go a long way toward enhancing your home’s image. And in the long run, they’re investments worth making if they land you an offer.

All Home Improvements Pay For Themselves

There’s no doubt that home improvements can certainly help sell a home. However, there’s no one-to-one correlation that says because you spent $20,000 renovating your master bathroom, you’re going to get $20,000 back when you sell your home. To understand why, it’s helpful to know a little bit about the appraisal process.

When an appraisal is done on your home, an appraiser compares your property with recent sales of other properties in the area. For example, three-bedroom ranches are compared with other three-bedroom ranches. In order for you to realize the value of any particular improvement, there has to be another home with a similarly restyled master bath which has sold for more money as a result of the renovation. There’s no first-mover advantage.

Additionally, it’s often cheaper to get a new bathroom in a completely new home than it is to have it renovated by tearing everything out and building on top of the bones. Therefore, you have to factor in that the buyer will pay for what the market bears for that bathroom and not necessarily what you pay to have it constructed. This isn’t to say that it’s not worth it to do a renovation. Anything new is a selling point when it comes to renovation. But in addition to value, you should consider the potential enjoyment you’ll get out of any renovation because you’re not going to see all of that back in Benjamins.

A Higher Listing Price Is A Better Listing Price

Be careful what you wish for when you price your home. Sometimes, a high listing price can cost you time and money in the long run because buyers typically avoid looking at homes priced above market value. If you decide to lower the price after a couple of weeks, people might assume there’s something wrong with the home. That can lead to lower offers and even more time with your home on the market.

You obviously want to leave room for negotiation, but don’t set the asking price so high that you alienate potential buyers or force yourself to drop the amount precipitously. Your pricing strategy can make or break your sale.

The key to pricing your home correctly is looking at what comparable homes are selling for. Focus on homes that have similar dimensions, floor plans and updates, and have sold over the last 3 to 6 months.

Not sure where to start in assessing your home’s market value? Our free online tool can be a great starting point for you. You can also pay to have an appraisal done. The advantage of this is that you’ll get an analysis of what comparable properties to yours are selling for in your area.

You Set The Price

Although you have the power to choose the offer you’ll accept, it’s a common misconception that you set the price of your home. You don’t. Your home has sentimental value to you, but it’s really only worth what someone looking to buy a home will pay for.

You want as much for your home as possible, but it’s important to detach yourself from the emotional part of this and rely on the appraisal and competitive market analysis. These are your starting points when it comes to valuing your home.

It’s Better To Start High And Negotiate Down

Because the market sets the price of your home, there’s no advantage to starting higher than it might realistically be worth, hoping to give yourself room to go back and forth. Buyers are looking online and often have access to real estate agents who know what the market is. They’ll sniff out a house that’s overpriced very quickly.

You want them to be able to recognize the value of your home at the right price. If buyers see value, you might get multiple offers. That can work for you because multiple offers could start a bidding war. If this happens, it can drive the price up.

A Quick Offer Means The Price Is Too Low

There’s often the myth that if you get that if you get one or more offers in the first few days after your home has been on the market, your price is too low. On the contrary, you want offers to roll in fairly quickly.

You need to remember that you’re in a competitive market and buyers are looking at many houses in a relatively short time span. So if you’re not getting offers, that means buyers aren’t picking your home for potentially a variety of reasons. Maybe there’s work that needs to be done, or perhaps your price is too high. But whatever the reason is, you should take a hard look at everything. It may be useful to scout comparable properties in your area to help you figure out what’s different about your home.

More time on the market doesn’t lead to higher prices; it generally leads to lower ones.

Staging A Home Isn’t Necessary

There’s a thought that you don’t really need to dress up your home because people will change the furniture and decor anyway. It may make some sense in your head, but staging is still important.

There’s a reason for this. You only get one chance to make a first impression and you want your home to be shown in the best possible light. Some furnishings also give people a context for what the home might look like as well as make it easier to think about what they would do with the space. You want to put your best foot forward.

Staging also really helps in an age of online listings because you need the home to look really inviting in the pictures. You want something that draws the eye in your layouts rather than empty rooms. Play on a person’s tendency to imagine themselves in a space.

Open Houses Sell Houses

It used to be that an open house was a great way to get buyers through the door. However, even going back years, there have always been downsides. For starters, think about it from the buyer’s perspective. You’re walking through a crowded home with a bunch of other people all trying to ask questions of one or two people at the same time. This isn’t the best way to observe a home.

Now, people can browse from their couch and schedule showings for only the houses they’re most interested in. Therefore, instead of focusing on open houses, it’s more important to put money into good pictures. Hiring a photographer could be helpful for this.

There’s A “Right” Season To Sell A Home

People buy homes at any time because there’s always some reason to move. There’s no point waiting around and paying extra property taxes so you can sell a home in the summer.

Because less people are selling their home in the winter, you may be able to achieve a price that’s comparable to what you could get in the summer if for no other reason than less options being available on the market.

Thanks to new technologies and more information online, many challenges associated with buying or selling a home have become easier to navigate. If you’ve decided to sell, try not to assume what you’re in for based on what you’ve heard.

Do your research, complete those minor repairs and work out a price that makes sense for you and potential buyers. You cansell your home on your own, and can help. Check out our options to assist those selling their home!