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Selling your home can be highly time-consuming and emotionally challenging, especially if it’s your first time. With that in mind, it’s normal for first-time home sellers to make mistakes and cause more trouble for themselves than needed. Otherwise, you could wait a long time to get an accepted offer. Avoid the errors below when you’re getting ready to sell.
Mistake No.1: Letting Emotions Get in the WayMistake No.1: Letting Emotions Get in the Way
People tend to get attached to their homes. You likely spent a lot of time and effort saving up for the down payment, going through the buying process, and turning it from a house into a home you could be proud of. You’ve got to open it up to strangers who will start poking around, criticizing everything about it, and perhaps making offers well below what you thought it was worth. It’s perfectly normal and ok to feel uncomfortable about all this. But what’s not ok is letting your feelings get in the way of a deal.
In New York City, it is rare for buyers and sellers to meet in person during a sale until the closing. For this reason, many real estate agents recommend distancing yourself from the sale. You don’t need to be on-hand to meet every potential buyer who enters the door; your listing agent can handle everything.
Mistake No.2: Not Hiring a Listing AgentMistake No.2: Not Hiring a Listing Agent
The vast majority of properties in NYC, well over 90%, are sold through listing agents and co-brokering. Some sellers, though, feel they can get around paying the 5-6% real estate commission by taking the for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) approach. This is rarely a good idea if you’ve never tried it before. It will cause you many headaches, but you’ll also likely end up selling for less and taking longer than you had hoped, defeating the whole purpose of trying to go it on your own.
Instead, you should hire a qualified, experienced listing agent who can handle the entire selling process. They can help you set a fair and competitive price that will attract buyers, handle all negotiations with the buyer’s agent, deal with all the paperwork, and ensure your best interests are always protected. As per the last point, they can also remove any emotion from the transaction by putting some distance between you and the buyer.
Mistake No.3: Not Preparing Adequately for the SaleMistake No.3: Not Preparing Adequately for the Sale
With real estate being such a hot market in NYC, it’s easy to think that all you need to do is list and let the buyers flood in. That’s not the case, though, and if you want to sell both quickly and for a good price, you need to prepare your home for the sale. Buyers here can be picky, and they have a right to be when a home is not in good condition or has a lot of problems.
Start by hiring a cleaning company to clean the entire home thoroughly. You’ll want it to look spotless when the first buyers arrive. Next, if you can afford it, hire a staging company. Staging your home doesn’t come cheap, but it has resulted in a faster sale and a higher sales price for many. If you can’t afford to hire professionals, don’t worry; there’s still a lot you can do on your own, and discuss professional photography and virtual staging with your listing agent. Also, don’t forget to attend to minor repairs like a stuck door, low water pressure, or leaky faucet. Little issues like this can make a buyer cautious about more significant problems lying under the surface.
Mistake No.4: Expecting the Asking PriceMistake No.4: Expecting the Asking Price
You must set a realistic price based on a comparative market analysis (CMA). The buyers will be sure to run their CMA on your home, so it’s better to get ahead of them. But even when you have set what you believe is a fair market price, you shouldn’t expect that this is what you’ll get. Any smart buyer will aim to negotiate, and if you don’t want the sale to drag on for months, then it’s better to play ball. Keep in mind that there are many things you can negotiate besides price. For instance, in exchange for a bit on the price, you might get something more substantial, like closing by a specific date or having the buyer drop a few contingencies.
Your price will depend heavily on whether you’re in a buyer’s or a seller’s market. Many NYC homes sell for the above asking price, but only when there is low inventory and many buyers.
Mistake No.5: Not Selling at the Right TimeMistake No.5: Not Selling at the Right Time
There is a right and wrong time for selling a home. In NYC, the peak selling season is typically in spring or fall. This is when most buyers will be looking at homes on the market. Most homes sold in these seasons tend to spend 10-15 fewer days on the market than the rest of the year. After Labor Day is also a prime selling window, but it’s short. Most agents recommend that if you haven’t gotten an offer by Thanksgiving, you should pull your listing from the market until February. The winter is typically the slowest year, with very few buyers or sellers willing to brave the cold weather.
But remember that seasonal selling patterns are not as restrictive as they used to be. Fewer buyers in the winter also mean fewer competing sellers, which can work in your favor. Talk it out with your listing agent and get their thoughts.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
The home selling can be a bit of a wild ride, even in a good year. Make sure you take all the necessary steps to prepare yourself financially and emotionally for the ahead. Your listing agent will be invaluable in getting you ready, but you’ll also need to take proactive steps if you want everything to go smoothly. Avoid the above mistakes, and you’ll be much closer to securing the lucrative sale that every seller dreams of.