NewsNational NewsScripps News


Home selling mistakes that can cost you thousands of dollars

The home buying market remains hot due to low inventory. But rookie mistakes can cost homeowners thousands of dollars at sale time.
Home selling mistakes that can cost you thousands of dollars
Posted at 2:30 AM, Apr 26, 2023

We hear a lot of advice for new buyers entering the housing market.

But first-time sellers are just as likely to make costly mistakes that can trim thousands of dollars off your selling price.

Victoria and Charles Bruffey are downsizing, and preparing their home for a sale this spring.

They keep hearing this is a great time to sell.

"There is a low supply, and hopefully that will work in our favor," they said.

Their realtors, Steve and Denise Taylor of EXP Realty, say despite higher mortgage rates, homes are still selling fast.

"It is the best time ever to list your home," Denise Taylor said.

But they say many sellers make rookie mistakes that are costly, because you may not get the offers you were hoping for.

Mistakes sellers often make

Not making needed repairs.

Not clearing out years worth of stuff, especially in closets and storage areas. 

"You want to make sure it is clutter free so they can see themselves in that space," Steve Taylor said.

Not clearing out excess furniture, which makes rooms look small.

Not freshening up the exterior, to improve curb appeal.

Amanda Pendleton is Zillow's home trends expert.

She likes to remind sellers that online curb appeal is the new curb appeal, since most buyers start their home searches online.

How it looks at first glance on a buyer's laptop or phone is as important as how good it looks in real life.

"Look into drone photography or videography," Pendleton said. "Anything to really highlight your home's best features online."

In a recent Zillow survey, 84% of first-time sellers said they wished they had done something different.

Some fail to post better photos or set up a virtual tour.

Some said they had bad timing, such as listing during slow season.

Others skimped out on needed repairs.

Pendleton says about a quarter of first-time sellers think their homes could have sold for a higher price, if they had invested more for home improvement.

"You've got to roll up your sleeves and you've got to make those improvements so that your home stands out to a potential buyer," she said.

Lastly, the Taylors say avoid pricing your home too high, even in this still-hot market. That's where a realtor can really help.

The last thing you want this spring is a home lingering on the market.

"If they are sitting 30 days or 60 days, they were priced too high," Denise Taylor said.

Price it right, have top notch photos, and clear out clutter, and you should see a quick sale.

SEE MORE: Grocery delivery saves time, but leaves some shoppers frustrated

Trending stories at