How to avoid costly mistakes when selling your home

Gene Petrino
Published on June 2, 2016

How to avoid costly mistakes when selling your home

Selling your home can be quite challenging and even cost you money if you aren’t prepared.   Here’s a list of my top four ways to avoid making costly mistakes.

  1. Know what you’re signing

Let’s face it, there is nothing more boring that real estate contracts and disclosures. Conversely, there is nothing more important than real estate contracts and disclosures when you’re selling or buying a home. Most agents use contracts that were written by the Board of Realtors and/or the BAR. These contracts are written in a way as to protect the buyer and seller equally. They are very fair. That’s why they are used so frequently. Now, you may be tempted to gloss over the paperwork, but that could be disastrous. It’s critical that you make sure to pay attention to the added verbiage in the addendum sections and the time-lines in the agreement. They legally bind you to perform certain acts and spell out the penalties if you fail to comply. An example would be not completing the inspection during the inspection period. Failure to do so might prevent you from cancelling the transaction if there are major repairs needed. You could lose your deposit, or even be forced to purchase the property. So to avoid the first costly mistake, always know what you’re signing.


  1. Pre-inspection is a must

If you ever bought or sold a home, you’ve probably experienced the good and bad sides of home inspectors. In fact, most would probably agree that when you’re the buyer, the inspector is great, but when you’re the seller the inspector is horrible. The truth is that most inspectors are reputable and are good at what they do. Some are more thorough than others, but overall they generally will identify the major defects in the home. The one thing good and bad inspectors typically have in common are their estimates for repairs. They are usually highly over priced and sometimes not even necessary repairs. I’ve seen things from recommending $350 repair for a light switch that “didn’t work” when in fact the light bulb burned out, to recommending a complete new roof because the roof “appeared to have reached it’s life expectancy.” When in reality, the roof was just dirty and less than 5 years old! Here is one way to defend against inspection problems. I always suggest having an inspector come out to inspect your home prior to putting it on the market. That’s right. Sellers can get their home inspected too. It’s not just for buyers. Doing so will put you a great advantage in identifying potential pitfalls in your home. This will also give you some time to address any issues you may not know exist. Finally, a seller inspection will also prevent you from getting into a “cost of repairs” negation with a prospective buyer. No more buyer requests from the seller to pay $350 for a burned out lightbulb!


  1. Seek professional advise when necessary

Every now and again something will come up that may require an expert’s opinion. Most agents have a good grasp of some legal and tax issues. I like saving money as much as the next guy, but remember, it could cost you much more if you follow bad advice. You would be wise to check with those who are licensed and trained in those fields. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to rely on my dentist to preform heart on me. They might both be doctors, but clearly one is more qualified.


  1. Price it right

Many sellers never consider the costly mistake of pricing too high. A couple things happen when you want to “test the market” with a high price. First, you are helping sell the other homes in your area. Buyers will look at a high priced listing and see a similar home down the street for much lower. Everyone loves getting a deal. They think they are getting one on the lower (appropriately priced) home, and so they buy it. Even if your home is in better condition, the lure of the deal will win every time. This costs you in the sale of your home, continued carrying costs for maintaining your home, and prevents you from moving forward with purchasing your next home. Second, your home will become a stale listing. This occurs when an overpriced listing sits on the market too long and agents stop showing it. Here’s the bottom line. It’s ok to list a little above the market value for a short period of time. Just be cognizant of the fact that you may be hurting your chances of selling quickly.

As you can see, selling your home can be a bit tricky. However, with a little planning you can greatly improve your odds of having a smooth and fast sale. If you have any questions about this blog, feel free to call me. Feel free to share this blog too. Check out my other blog posts for great tips not only about real estate, but activities and things to do throughout South Florida.

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How to avoid costly mistakes when selling your home
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