Top Five Home Selling Mistakes To Avoid

By Harbour Team June 17, 2019

Recent Posts   

No one knows your home better than you do, right? You’ve lived in it, fixed it up, and truly loved the place that you hold the keys to. So you should be the perfect person to put that home on the market and sell it at a good price. Well…maybe not. 


To be fair, it’s also the case that no one loves your home more than you, which can harm you more than help you. Selling your home – your cherished castle – can present a slew of obstacles when it comes to preparing to: a) put it on the market, b) price it, c) reach an agreement with a buyer, and d) negotiate and settle a contract. Without proper guidance and real estate expertise, things can go terribly wrong. Not just a little money, but tens of thousands of dollars stand to be lost when you do it yourself. Love hurts.


Attempting “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO)

The statistics on this are real. Sellers who go the FSBO route typically lose money. According to recent information gathered by the National Association of Realtors, a typical FSBO sold for $200,000 compared to the $265,000 sale price for a home sold with the assistance of an agent. The areas where FSBO home sellers are most challenged are: 

  1. Getting the price right
  2. Fully understanding and executing the proper paperwork
  3. Selling within the planned (reasonable) length of time
  4. Properly preparing their home to sell
  5. Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale

It’s more than just the money you lose on the sale that should make you think hard before opting for FSBO, it’s the time you’ll lose, headaches you’ll incur, and all-around circus you are potentially turning your life into. Is it really worth it? Working with a professional simplifies a complex process and keeps your life on track (learn more on pricing your home right in our free 7 part home seller video series).


Over-Pricing Your Property

Considered to be the #1 most common seller mistake, over-pricing your home can cost more than a deep cut to what you expect to make from the property, it can cost you months – or even years – of lost time. And when you lose time, you are most definitely losing money along the way. But if your home is priced right, you can expect to receive 99.5% of the list price, on average. That means the right price pays off. If you work with a Realtor who understands the market – and especially your market, and takes the time to weigh the pros and cons of your property, you will land on the right price to sell your home. On top of that, you’ll get peace of mind. Pricing a home right is the first, and arguably most vital, step that leads to its sale.


Painting The Wrong Colors

Every home is going to require at least a little refresh before bringing it to market. Some need just a bit up fine-tuning, while others need real renovations. But the one area where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck is with paint. Even if that slate grey wall in your living room is the perfect complement to your pale silver sofa, the buyer whose furnishings are gold and earth tones may have a different view. A neutral backdrop, meaning your wall color, invites a buyer to imagine the home their way. They can project themselves onto the property, thus igniting affection – even a bonding – with the home.



  1. Use one neutral color throughout the home.
  2. Colors can be emotional triggers – red can conjure anger, while certain shades of green may be associated with nausea. Don’t make the mistake of upsetting buyers as soon as they walk in.
  3. Remember that even if you simply love a color and want to keep it, or perhaps use that color for the repaint, you’re not the one who will be living in the home. Let the new buyer be the one to choose the right colors for their home. Give them that privilege by making your home a blank canvas. 
  4. Consider consulting a professional to determine whether a warm neutral or a cool neutral is right for your property, as well as the current market.
  5. Paint is one of the cheapest things you can do to update your home, but don’t cut corners and do the painting yourself. Hire a professional to ensure your home has a clean, polished finish.


Overlooking Updates or Repairs

If a buyer sees a home in disrepair, there are a few things that can happen, and all of them will end up costing the seller money – in the short- or long-term. Possible scenarios include the home not selling, for months and months and months. The longer a home sits, the more it is subject to becoming stigmatized, in which case even price drops may not land a buyer. Or buyers will likely low-ball the price due to the expenses they expect to make, and even still request that certain repairs be made before the deal closes. Buyers might also request a credit back on the sale price. All of these potential scenarios will hack away at the home’s price, and probably at a greater expense than if the owner were to have made the repairs themselves prior to going to market.


Choosing The Wrong Realtor

It’s an established industry consensus that you don’t just need a Realtor to sell a home, you need the right Realtor. Family and friends who dabble in real estate may have your best intentions at heart, but when it comes to your capital, trust an expert. Any Realtor you consider must be vetted. It’s a simple process – start out by interviewing them. 

  1. Get familiar: You’ll want to get a sense of how the Realtor talks to people. You might even ask them to do a mock negotiation, in which you play the role of the buyer. Play “tough sell and see if they can win you over. But take note if this person leaves you on edge or uncomfortable, they may do the same with potential buyers. 
  2. Ask good questions: There are a number of things you have a right to know and shouldn’t be afraid to ask up front. You’ll want to know their marketing strategy – how they plan to sell your home. As well as how the process will roll out. You’ll also want to know their plan for communicating with you throughout the process. 
  3. Get down to business: Even if you love everything about this Realtor and it feels like the road is paved, ask real business questions before moving forward. Inquire about competing homes that they’re currently listing, and if so, the approach they’d use in selling your home. Also ask if they would represent a seller interested in your home (which is called “dual agency.”)  You want to be sure their sales priority lies with you. If you don’t feel this is the case, look for the right Realtor to work with. 

All of these points are essential to consider when approaching home selling, but they don’t show the entire picture. If you’d like more tips and detailed information about selling your home, we invite you to watch our informational videos that explain the process, step by step:

Share This Post: