7 Rookie Seller Mistakes That Can Prevent a Successful Sale


Your home is a huge investment, so you obviously want the sale to be as successful as it can be. Unfortunately, many newbie sellers can actually sabotage their own sales without even realizing it. If you want to give yourself the highest odds of selling your home quickly and for the highest sale price possible, make sure you avoid making these rookie home selling mistakes.

1. Overpricing

Every seller wants to get the highest price possible for their homes when they sell, so it’s not hard to see why they may want to list high. However, overpricing a home can have big consequences, including bypassing plenty of qualified buyers and ending up with a stale listing. Lots of homeowners place more value on their homes compared to what the actual market dictates, and rookie sellers will often throw a big price tag out there to see if they can get any bites.

The fact of the matter is, one of the biggest reasons why homes don’t sell is because of their listing price. And the longer the home sits on the market without any action, the more buyers will think there’s a problem with it. Once the listing becomes stale, the odds of a price drop become imminent.

The best way to go about pricing a home is to list at current market value, which can be determined by your real estate agent through a comparative market analysis.

2. Failing to Stage the Home

Selling a home is already a big expenditure, so the idea of having to spend even more to have a home professionally staged can be daunting for many sellers, especially first-timers. However, not prepping a home for the market can be a big mistake.

Buyers often have a hard time visualizing what a home can look like if it’s filled with clutter and personal artifacts and is decorated in dated decor. While staging doesn’t necessarily have to be done by a professional, it should still be attempted even on a DIY level.

At the very least, a home on the market should be de-cluttered and thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom. It should also be de-personalized, which means taking down family photos and religious posters. It also means neutralizing, which means repainting the walls and decorating with more neutral colors like taupe or gray.

The whole point of staging is to help buyers become attracted to your home and develop an emotional connection to it. If you can make it easier for buyers to fall in love with your home and see themselves living there, you’ll be a lot closer to getting a solid offer and closing a deal.

3. Not Willing to Negotiate

Many sellers set a price point and refuse to budge from it. If it’s a sizzling hot seller’s market, perhaps this might be fine. But in a neutral market, rejecting every offer that doesn’t quite meet the seller’s expectations can drag out the listing.

If the offer price – or anything else in the contract – isn’t exactly what you had hoped for, be flexible and open to negotiating. A little bit of bantering is typical in a real estate deal, so at least consider countering the offer with some modifications to the price, deposit amount, closing date, or any other component of the offer to see how the buyer responds.


4. Lingering Around at the Open House

Nobody wants to have the owners breathing down their necks when they’re touring a home during an open house. It makes them feel uncomfortable and doesn’t allow them the freedom to peer through closets or make comments without fearing judgment from the seller. Prospective buyers like to have the liberty of going through all drawers and speaking openly about the home without knowing that the owner is lurking.

During an open house, the best thing a seller can do is spend those couple of hours outside of the home while their agent handles the visitors.

5. Being Inflexible With Showings

When a home is on the market, one of the best things a seller can do is make it easy to show the home. Only allowing visits on weekdays from 10am to 5pm and no showings on weekends, for instance, severely limits when prospective buyers can come and visit the home for a showing. This, in turn, shrinks your pool of buyers, which makes it tougher to find an interested buyer.

When selling, it’s important to be open to putting up with a little inconvenience of having strangers trek through your home during times that you’d rather be left alone. It’s also important to be flexible with short-notice showings. While you don’t have to let people in at 10 at night or accept a last-minute booking just 5 minutes before buyers show up, just keep in mind that the easier you make it for buyers to book a viewing, the easier it will be to find an interested buyer.

6. Not Emotionally Detaching From the Home

It’s tough for homeowners to let go of their homes, especially if they’ve been there for years and have raised a family with them. Such an emotional attachment is normal, but it can prove to be an obstacle when it comes time to sell. Unfortunately, many sellers allow their failure to emotionally detach from their homes get in the way of a successful sale. They may become offended by certain demands that buyers make or can become agitated when an offer comes in that’s lower than what the seller believes the home is worth.

When selling, it’s important to keep in mind that the property may be a ‘home’ to you, but it’s just another ‘house’ to the buyer. Maintain your composure throughout the process and understand the buyer’s shoes in order to increase the chances of a meeting of the minds, and therefore a successful sale.

7. Going the FSBO Route

There are plenty of sellers who try to sell their own home without the help of a professional real estate agent in an effort to save money on commissions. But while their services typically come with a high price tag, the potential to pocket more money when all is said and done by working with a real estate professional makes this expense all worth it.

Agents are seasoned professionals who have plenty of experience selling homes. They’re well aware of the precise tactics that need to be implemented to ensure a successful transaction. They’re able to price appropriately in order to ensure a higher sale price, and they’re well versed in negotiating to bring more money to the table.

The mistakes that rookie sellers who take the FSBO route make can actually cost them money at the end of the day. Hiring a real estate agent, which does come with a price tag, can often mean more money in your wallet when the deal is done.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of things that are out of your control when selling, including the current market and the type of buyers who are presently searching for a home. However, there are lots of things that you can control that will have a direct impact on how long it will take for you to sell your home, as well as the final sale price. If you’re new to the home selling process, be sure to avoid the above blunders, and follow the guidance of your real estate professional.