The Most Common Pitfalls of Buying or Selling a Home and How to Avoid Them

Home School Home Buying Tips

Buying a new home and selling your existing place is done so infrequently, it can be challenging to get really good at it.

Like any complex process, there are common missteps that can get in the way of a successful experience.

Here are some things to watch out for:

The price is wrong

There’s a fine balance to setting a listing price. Go too high and your home is on the market much longer than you’d like. Too low, and you’re leaving money on the table.

Your target should be pricing that will lead to a sale within six weeks. Holding out months for a high return will only give prospective buyers the sense that there’s something off-putting about your property.

Several price reductions will do the same.

Your REALTOR® will have a handful of tools at her/his disposal to help guide your pricing decision. Talk to them about what they plan on using and why.

This may include the home price index, comparative analysis of home price trends in your city, economic factors such as energy prices and unemployment, and a review of listings and recent sale prices in your community.

Centre stage

Experts say staging a home adds six to 20 per cent to the sale price of a home. This refers to renting a set of furniture to elevate the presentation of the home you’re selling for listing photos and in-person tours.

With staging costs averaging from $500 to $2,000, these costs can be recouped quickly with the expected uptick in sale price.

Unlike your typical furniture arrangement, driven by your family’s preferences, staging requires a different thought process. This is a marketing tactic and the focus should be creating welcoming vignettes.

Whether you’re renting staging furniture or leaving the furniture you have, tour homebuilder show homes and take notes on how experts are setting up their spaces.

Also take the time to de-clutter and de-personalize spaces. We’ve all seen and skipped listings with photos displaying piles of laundry on dressers and unmade beds.

If it feels too much like your home, it’s tough to convince the buyer that it should be theirs.

It’ll also be worth your time to zero in on those scratches and nicks you’ve become desensitized to. These tiny imperfections, while relatively harmless, may signal neglect and the potential of more significant troubles.

Fix before you list

Crossing your fingers that the potential buyer viewing your property doesn’t notice and mind the moisture spot on your ceiling is no way to go.

Rather than negotiating price reductions based on considerable issues with the home, get a home inspection before putting it on the market.

This will give you a comprehensive idea of what’s wrong with the home. From there, you can price these repairs and decide whether or not they’re worth getting fixed before selling.

For the ones you’ve decided to leave with the buyer, you’ll know the value of the repair and make informed decisions when considering lower offers based on these issues.

Putting off your Pre-approval

You likely hear this a lot: Buying a home is the biggest investment you’ll ever make. That being the case, it’s best not to go in blind.

Browsing and touring listings – even making offers on homes – without knowing the mortgage loan you’re eligible for is a substantial waste of time.

It can also be high-risk.

You’ve fallen in love with a home. But instead of making an offer and the deal going firm in a timely manner, you’re waiting on your bank to work through a mortgage. That gives time for buyers with a pre-approved mortgage to swoop in and buy the home you want.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage early and you’ll be able to browse options with the confidence knowing you can afford it.

Pretending you understand

Everyone wants to come across well-informed. The truth is, the terms and processes we encounter related to mortgages and real estate aren’t used in our everyday lives.

Equity? Fixed-rate mortgage? Inspection contingency? Seller disclosure? Homeowner’s association?

Unless you’re in the business, some things brought up by professionals in your home sale/purchase process aren’t going to make sense. Nodding along isn’t going to help. In fact, in some cases, agreeing to something you don’t understand could cost money.

Don’t be shy about asking people to define the terms they use and any risks or rewards they present to your situation.

Not knowing your neighbourhood

The home you bought is absolutely perfect and the area seemed nice enough.

Not doing your research can have a negative effect on your family’s experience in the new home and its resale value.

If you have children, keep an eye on schools and playgrounds. Access to shopping and dining amenities is vital, as well.

Ask your REALTOR® or (if you’re buying new) homebuilder about future developments in the area. Are there plans for more schools? Are there future commercial developments in the works?

Transit can boost resale value, too. Look at access to future or existing bus stops or light transit rail stations.

At Morrison Homes, our priority is caring for our customers. Whether you’re buying, selling, or building new, we want to make sure you get the most out of your experience. For guidance on your selling and buying process, contact our preferred real estate partner ALLY Realty at 403-710-2099 or visit your nearest Morrison showhome.