Lessons I’ve Learned from Selling My House

5 Painful Lessons I’ve Learned from Selling My House

I Wish I Knew These 5 Things Before Selling My Home

Few feelings eclipse the sheer joy one feels when finding out your property has been sold. However, prospective home sellers often don’t see all the blood, sweat and tears that go into getting a home ready for the market and then seeing the sale through to the end.

The road leading up to the sale of a property can be bumpy, but if you keep these five things in mind, you’ve already avoided some of the most prominent pitfalls.

1. Pricing Is Hard

If you’ve always had a certain figure in mind when contemplating the sale of your house, now is the time to get rid of that preconceived notion. A fair and attainable property price – which also allows the homeowner to reap the financial rewards of undertaking this significant transaction – might seem like a simple thing to establish, but you’d be surprised at how complicated setting the right price can be.

The price of a home is calculated based on a variety of factors. First, the property itself is considered. What is the overall state of the property? Are repairs or renovations to the property necessary, or can it be sold as it is? What features of the property add value? What amenities come with the home? What is the size of the home and of the property in general?

After assessing the home and the property in its entirety, comparable properties in the city or suburb that the home is located in are inspected in order to come to a conclusion about what similar properties are selling for. The location of the home is considered, together with the amenities and establishments surrounding it.

Combined, all of these factors form the comparative market analysis – a useful tool that agents use to help sellers set an asking price that will help to get the home sold in the shortest possible time.

The price is important because it will probably dictate whether a home is sold or whether it sits on the market, goes stale, and has to be relisted. Of course, the market conditions that are prevalent at a given time also have an influence on whether a home sells or doesn’t sell, but when the price of a property is too high, you can almost be certain that it will likely spend more days on market than is ideal. This doesn’t mean that homeowners should price below a value that is attainable and fair to buyers, because that will lead to a loss in potential profits.

If you’re not sure about the price of the property you would like to sell, rope in the experts: real estate agents are excellent at setting the right price, while home appraisers can give you a good idea of the fair market value of the house.

2. Markets Can Be Unpredictable

When talking about the property industry, the saying, “it’s a jungle out there” seems quite apt. The world of real estate is rarely static and is always changing, based on a variety of market factors. Add to this the fact that similar homes in different parts of the same city can vary widely in price, and it’s easy to understand why the value of a home is always changing.

Sometimes, the prevailing market sentiment is in favour of buyers, and snatching up homes at bargain prices is the norm – but this can quickly change. When the market smiles in favour of sellers, property prices are usually higher, whilst they tend to be a little lower when a buyer’s market is at play.

The Australian property market is, of course, also deeply interwoven with global economic sentiment, and when global events occur – like the case is currently, with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus – these will also affect the price of homes and the general economic circumstances in our country.

Because market conditions can be unpredictable, sellers should take note that the price they would have been able to get for their property pre-Covid-19 will not necessarily be the price they’ll get in the midst of the pandemic, or after it. What makes these circumstances so infuriating to home sellers is that there is no way of predicting what the markets will look like six months or a year or two from now. Rest assured, though – even in the absence of a global health crisis, the markets may still flip-flop in unexpected ways. What’s more important is to consider the current market conditions when setting a price, and forgetting about what the case was a year or two ago.

3. Don’t Move Out of the House Before It’s Sold

Not all buyers even have the option of moving out of their current residence before it is sold, but if you are in the fortunate position to do so, this might be a good opportunity to use the home’s vacancy to your advantage, and get to work fixing all the issues that might need attending to. Not living in a property that might become inundated with visits from prospective buyers also means that sellers forgo the responsibility of always having to keep the home neat and inspection-ready.

Sellers should heed this stern warning, though: moving out before a property is sold necessitates paying two mortgages at the same time. Because no real estate agent can say with absolute certainty exactly how long it will take to sell a given property, this could put sellers in a tight spot financially if they do not have enough capital to carry both bonds.

If you do move out before your home is sold, here are two top tips. Many home insurance policies have clauses dictating the time limit for cover on a home if it remains vacant – make sure that your home insurance policy will still be in effect for the duration of time it takes for the property to sell.

Then, sellers should try to leave at least some furniture in the house for home staging purposes. Staging the home is a crucial part of the marketing process, as it allows buyers to imagine themselves in the space. Even if you’re not currently living in the house, maintaining a minimalistic décor style with sparse furnishings still gives buyers an idea of how the different areas in the home can be utilised. Highlighting the key features in and around the house goes a long way in creating an atmosphere that is appealing to buyers.

4. Your Neighbours Will Probably Come Inside During an Open House

If you are planning an open house event to showcase your home to potential buyers, don’t have any illusions about the neighbours leaving you and your real estate agent to your own devices. Rather, prepare for the fact that they’ll want to come and take a look at your home – perhaps even more so, if they’ve never popped by for coffee before. People are curious characters and like to be in the know, so frequent stops from neighbours in your suburb is something that you should expect and plan for when planning the open house.

On the bright side, word-of-mouth marketing is a tried and trusted method of making sure the message of your home’s imminent sale reaches the right ears. Who knows? One nosey neighbour could actually be the contact you need to get your home sold quickly.

With that being said, and especially taking into account the current historic moment, now might be the time to look into virtual home tours and other ways of taking full advantage of the many technological and online marketing tools that are at your disposal, and avoid uncomfortable moments with your neighbours from the outset.

5. No Deal Is a Sure Thing

Don’t get too excited when the very first interested buyer starts talking about signing sales agreements. As any seasoned real estate guru will tell you, it isn’t over till the fat lady sings – the fat lady’s song, in this instance, referring to the sound of a mobile notification of cash in the bank.

Selling a home can be an arduous process, with loads of paperwork to back up this transaction and make it legitimate. Until the home is sold, you’ve received the money, and the buyer has taken ownership, you shouldn’t get too giddy.

One Thing I Did Right – I Hired an Experienced Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent you can trust is vital if you want to sell your home to the right buyer, in the right timeframe, and at the right price. Because most home sellers have not tried their hand at the property market before, having someone by your side that understands the legal and technical requirements, while also possessing the negotiation skills that guarantee a good price for the seller, takes a lot of the hassle out of selling a home.

Simply put: risking to attempt selling if you’ve never done it before is just too big a risk to take if there is a viable alternative.


If you’ve never done it before, the process of selling a home comes with its fair share of trial and error – mistakes are likely to be made. However, the simplest way of avoiding the pitfalls of property selling is to find an experienced and qualified real estate agent in your city or suburb. Still haven’t found an agent you can trust? Perfect Agent recommends a number of agents, based on your exact needs.