Home selling mistakes to avoid in a changing market

July 7, 2022

After two years of a white-hot real estate market, conditions are beginning to change — and that means sellers will also need to make changes.

While the market still favors those with houses for sale, it’s important to remember that sellers no longer have all the power as they did a few months ago. The recent spike in interest rates — from 3% at the beginning of the year to more than 5% now — and the subsequent affordability challenges have sidelined many buyers.

That has allowed much-needed housing inventory to grow. In May, the number of homes for sale in Utah grew nearly 60% as buyer competition declined.

While we’re still in seller’s market territory, the reduced buyer demand will require sellers to make some changes. Here are a few of the top mistakes sellers should avoid:

Overpricing the home

The days of buyers paying tens of thousands over list price appear to be over. Sellers are receiving fewer offers and seeing less activity.

Buyers who are in the market are keenly aware of current conditions. They know what comparable homes are selling for, and they can spot when a property’s price is too high.

If you overprice your home, you risk scaring off otherwise-interested buyers. Additionally, if the home sits for too long, your house will rank lower in search engine results, resulting in fewer views. As the home lags on the market, there’s also the risk that buyers start to wonder if there’s something wrong with the house.

Because of these reasons, overpriced homes often end up selling for less than what they would have if they were properly priced in the beginning.

A Realtor will analyze current conditions to help you establish a price based on today, not the market of a few months ago. Listen to your agent, ask questions and be wary of anyone who prices your home based on what they think you want to hear.

Also, beware of the comparison trap. Just because your neighbor’s house sold for $50,000 over asking price doesn’t mean you should expect the same. You’re selling a different house in a different market.

Inadequately preparing the home

Any longtime real estate agent knows it takes work to sell a home. As market conditions begin to favor buyers, sellers need to make sure their homes look their best.

Key strategies for making your home as attractive as possible are cleaning, decluttering and depersonalizing. Make sure the home is free from odors and has a well-kept exterior since that’s the first thing buyers see.

If you decide to do any home improvements, make sure to use neutral colors that will appeal to many people.

The goal is to make the home look like a model home for every showing so buyers can imagine themselves living there. It’s also important to leave the home when it’s being shown so it’s easier for buyers to imagine the home as their own.

The hot market of the past two years was an anomaly; don’t get complacent and assume the home will automatically sell without work.

Being unwilling to negotiate

When sellers received dozens of all-cash offers over list price with inspection and appraisal waivers, they didn’t need to worry about concessions. But conditions have changed in recent months, and some negotiation might be required.

Carefully evaluate any offers you receive with your Realtor. Remember, an offer that includes some concessions, such as paying the buyer’s closing costs, may still be a good offer based on current market conditions.

Don’t miss out on a chance to sell your home for a great price because you’re unwilling to negotiate.

To learn more about selling a home in today’s market, contact a local Realtor.