6 Surprising Home-Selling Habits To Ditch—Before They Sabotage Your Sale

by Garcia Chris
8 minutes read
6 Surprising Home-Selling Habits To Ditch—Before They Sabotage Your Sale

Even when houses get offers within days of hitting the listing pages, selling a home is a long, complex, and stressful process. It’s easy to get confused, overwhelmed, or too attached to how you imagine your home sale should go.

The many moving parts of a real estate transaction might even have you unwittingly using some home-selling tactics that could backfire and ultimately kill the deal.

With the spring market heating up, we asked real estate agents how some home sellers self-sabotage by neglecting crucial aspects of the selling process.

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Here are the bad habits the pros say you should give up and what to do instead to successfully sell your home quickly for the most money.

Self-sabotage No. 1: Rushing the process

Jen Turano, a real estate agent at Compass in Greenwich, CT, saw countless deals fall apart in 2023, partly due to the frenzy surrounding the home’s initial listing.

“Buyers stepped up with little time for their own diligence, made rash offers, had second thoughts, and backed out for one reason or another,” says Turano. “The home was back on the market weeks later, losing some of its early momentum.”

Seller solutions: Take a breather, and scrutinize those multiple offers. Start vetting the buyers, their level of interest, and their loan qualifications.

“Thoughtful consideration benefits you greatly and leads you to the best, most certain deal,” says Turano.

Self-sabotage No. 2: Forgoing concessions

When the market favors sellers, they can afford to be a little stingy with concessions, as eager buyers are less likely to ask for seller concessions to make their offer stand out.

But with today’s elevated home prices and high mortgage rates, buyers need a little more wooing. Seller concessions can help seal the deal by taking the sting out of all the money a buyer has to shell out.

Seller solutions: “Offering concessions is not a deal breaker; it’s a chance to negotiate and build rapport,” says Fran Lisner, a real estate agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty on Long Island, NY. “By being flexible and open to compromise, you’ll attract more serious buyers and increase your chances of sealing the deal.”

Self-sabotage No. 3: Overpricing your home

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When a house is priced too high, buyers ignore it and you lose precious momentum.

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We get it. You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your home and want the asking price to reflect that. The trouble comes when your ego and pride enter the formula and you set the price too high.

“Overpricing is a buzzkill for potential buyers,” says Lisner. “It’s like offering a glass of water for the price of a vintage wine.”

Bottom line: Listings get the most action in the first 30 days. When a house is priced too high, buyers ignore it and you lose precious momentum. Buyers might think something is wrong with the house. If it languishes longer, buyers might think you’re desperate and present lowball offers.

Seller solutions: “Do your research, consult professionals, and set a realistic price that aligns with the current market,” says Lisner. “By pricing it right, you’ll attract more serious buyers, generate healthy competition, and increase your chances of a successful sale.”

Self-sabotage No. 4: Staying stuck on selling as-is

If you don’t have the time or money to spruce up your house, or you inherited a house and want to dump it for a quick profit, you might be tempted to list it as is.

That doesn’t necessarily imply the house is falling apart at the seams. It simply means the property is being listed in its current condition without making any repairs.

“As is” can seriously limit your pool of potential buyers, as they might not be able to secure financing if the property is in poor condition.

“I recently had a client who was purchasing a home as is, but the lender went back to my client to tell him that the roof was in bad shape and they wouldn’t finance the property unless it was repaired,” says Lauren Reynolds, an agent at Forte Team at Compass.

Seller solutions: While you might not want to invest a lot of time or money into a property, addressing essential repairs that could hinder financing, such as fixing a faulty roof or structural issues, will widen your pool of potential buyers.

Self-sabotage No. 5: Not listing when the market is hot

Historically, spring is the best time to sell your home. The weather is better, and buyers are eager to get into a new house before the summer or a new school year starts.

We get it. You might be thinking of selling but are not quite ready to move. But you might be missing out on selling your home for top dollar.

Turano says that unless there is a rational reason to hold off on listing your home, you should consider listing it now to take advantage of the current market conditions.

Seller solutions: To help you get a clearer picture of when to list, you and your agent should monitor the market and strategize to determine the ideal time to sell.

“If we experience a market turn, it may be beneficial to list when most buyers are active,” says Turano.

Self-sabotage No. 6: Leaving your pets at showings

Don’t forget to take your pets when you have a showing.

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Though most people understand pets are part of the family, potential buyers probably don’t want your overly excited pooch jumping on them or triggering their allergies. Plus, your pets could bolt for the door and escape.

“You want potential buyers to focus on your home and its merits, and not rush through to evade a pet,” says Turano.

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Seller solutions: Take your pets when you have a showing. If you can’t, keep them in a comfortable spot in the home and give your agent the heads-up on what to expect. If you’ve been neglecting cleaning the pet areas, do that before every open house. And don’t forget the yard. Stepping in dog poo leaves a really bad first impression.

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