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Five things NOT to do before selling your house

Dave Robles

"When you have roots in a community, you love to help it grow. Mine run deep." The Los Angeles area has been my home since birth...

"When you have roots in a community, you love to help it grow. Mine run deep." The Los Angeles area has been my home since birth...

Jan 24 5 minutes read

5 things NOT to do before selling your house

You know all of the things you need to do to sell your home. Fix the broken stairs, market to the right audience, research your market, hire a great agent, present your home effectively, price your home correctly. The list goes on. But there are five things not to do before selling your home that are just as important to keep front of mind. These can be amplified when in a buyers’ market, as the competition for buyer attention becomes fierce amongst sellers.


1. Avoid feature walls

It might seem obvious, but for some it can be too tempting to get out the old can of maroon paint in the shed to spruce up the living room fireplace or one of the large walls. This is a common and risky move to make before trying to sell your home, as any overpowering colors in your home can impact a buyer’s ability to imagine themselves in the home. It may not dissuade a true buyer, but a poorly-executed feature wall can still have a negative influence on buyers when they enter your home.


2. Avoid renovations that don’t add quick value

Bathroom and kitchen renovations are the go-to move for those wanting to add quick value to their home, especially for those flipping properties. However, you can make the mistake of spending too much on your renovations prior to selling your home in the expectation that these will translate into a better price come auction day. This is not always the case.

Some of the most common renovations that will cost you more than you get back when selling your house are:

  • Solar panels – the outlay of solar paneling is still quite expensive and relies on long-term use and energy savings to offset the price.
  • Invisible renovations – these can include things like new plumbing or heating systems. If they aren’t necessary, you will have to do more work to make sure buyers are aware of them to try to reap the rewards of their cost.
  • Expensive landscaping – it is important to present your outside areas well, but not at a significant expense.
  • Converted rooms – for instance, don’t convert a room into a study just before selling a house. Keep its utility bare so that buyers can see it as a potential bedroom or something else.


3. Don’t be rigid in your expectations

The most important thing to do when selling your home is to know the market back to front. Your buyers know the market back to front so why shouldn’t you? If everyone involved (not just the agent) is an authority on the market, both local and national, then there is a higher chance of a property being sold for a healthy price that reflects the market. If a vendor isn’t aware of market movements, they may be reticent to sell if they are not attracting a price they expected.


4. Avoid cutting corners

Buyers are incredibly observant. They have to be – it is the largest financial decision they will ever make, so they will come to multiple inspections and be as critical as they possibly can of your home. Don’t give them an opportunity to catch you cutting corners in your home, such as plastering over major cracks or mold or installing cheap fittings and piping connections to recent renovations in the bathroom or kitchen. Cutting corners usually results in a reduced sale price once these areas have been identified by buyers – they may wait until the last minute to make you aware that they have identified areas where you have cut corners, and so make it clear that this is why they won’t match your reserve price.


5. Don’t buy too soon

It can be tempting to trust in a buyer’s market and invest in a new home long before you have offloaded your old home. This is a risky move and can leave sellers stuck between a rock and a hard place if their home does not sell for any reason (i.e. the above reasons or downturns in the market). Buying your next home before selling your existing home places time pressures on you to settle as well as financial pressures to cover the cost of your new home. It is the literal representation of counting your eggs before they have hatched.


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