Top Regrets of First Time Home Sellers

Zillow recently released a report after surveying nearly 2000 Home Sellers that sold their first home in the last 2 years. 

The statistics were shocking – with nearly 84% of recent first-time home sellers having regrets about their sale.

So what were the top regrets amongst these sellers, and how can YOU prevent this from happening to you?

First, let’s start with the top regrets:

  1. Not having a winning pricing strategy
  2. Ignoring curb appeal
  3. Bad timing
  4. Ignoring repairs

These might seem obvious, but when it is actually you selling your own home, the process is incredibly emotional and oftentimes, our vantage point is clouded.  I was a Realtor for several years when I sold my last personal residence.  Let me tell you, I would be lying if I said I didn’t make mistakes.  I would have been the worst client, ever! It is so funny how much more difficult it became to view the process pragmatically, when I was selling something so personal to me.  So, I can see how people would end up with regrets as many of the decisions are made from a place of emotion and not necessarily rational thought.  Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. I should maybe add here that I was also 9 months pregnant when I sold that home – so emotions were running very high.  Let’s call it extreme nesting. 

Let’s discuss then what I would recommend as a Realtor that can capably sell your home, just not her own.  Without further ado, here are my recommendations to combat making one of the four mistakes discussed:

  1. Not having a winning pricing strategy. Getting the price right, is so very important, and trusting the professionals is paramount.  Pricing too high, means your house often sits, Buyers begin to dismiss it and think something is wrong with it – and almost always, those sales end up less than market average on a price-per-square-foot basis.  Price too low though, and you could be leaving good money on the table.  It is so hard to price a property if we have a personal attachment to it. We oftentimes have confirmation bias when it comes to our own residences.  For instance, we might only see support for higher pricing on our home based on our own interpretation of the comps.  Maybe your yard is slightly bigger, and your garage is newer.  But perhaps we fail to take into consideration that their yard was more functional or their garage was larger and better constructed.  Whatever it might be, it is important to not make our own assessments in terms of pricing.  I see no harm in having a range of what you deem to be an acceptable listing price.  However, I strongly advise that you consult the professionals in arriving at a listing price.  I actually think you should consult with a few professionals, just to get a well-rounded picture of the market.  Sometimes those opinions may vary, but getting an appropriate range is what is important.  If you find there are outliers in pricing, look at the Agent’s track record.  Have they been successful at selling homes in your neighbourhood?  Getting the price right from the get-go, will put you in the strongest position to net the most!
  2. Ignoring Curb Appeal. You only get one first impression, and if that first-impression isn’t great – Buyers are going to be extra critical when they are touring your property.  For instance, peeling paint outside might signal neglect or a lack of care. It is always best to start out on the right foot!  In Winnipeg, sometimes it can be tricky to work on that curb appeal when you are selling in the dead of winter.  But there are still things you can do!  For instance, a shoveled and well-lit walkway leading to the home.  Updated exterior light fixtures (that all match including the bulbs) also goes a long way.  Even changing out the house numbers, putting a nice wreath on the door, etc. all communicate pride of ownership.  Selling in the spring/summer? Be sure to trim back hedges, have freshly cut grass, take down those Christmas lights, put some beautiful planters and a nice mat outside the front door, etc.  Always be thinking about showing pride of ownership, as that translates to a well-cared-for home, and ultimately – more money in your pocket!
  3. Bad timing.  Warren Buffet will tell you that you can’t time any market.  And for the most part, he is correct.  There are definitely different months of the year that are more difficult to sell, and there are even times of the week in which you should be listing to catch the eyes of the optimal amount of Buyers.  Having the right strategy, will always result in higher returns.
  4. Ignoring Repairs.  Similar to the curb appeal example given above, ignoring repairs, or deferred maintenance are huge concerns for Buyers. If they are touring your home and are given a long laundry-list of items that need to be addressed, it is easy to see how they may become overwhelmed. Shingles, windows, electrical, plumbing, furnaces, hot water tanks, etc. all needing to be redone in the near-future mean there isn’t money left over for them to do the cosmetics or put their personal stamp on the home.  Sure, maybe having to deal with one item from the list above would be within the realm of acceptability.  But in general, Buyers do expect a Seller to perform regular maintenance on their home, and many indications of deferred maintenance will just scream “money pit”.  In which case, brace for the lowball offer!

I know I am biased, but I highly recommend getting the opinion of a professional, just to make sure you don’t have regrets when selling.  Having a well-prepared home, that is properly priced, properly marketed, along with a well-executed strategy, means you will always win!

listing realtor in winnipeg manitoba#AgentJen

Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945


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