3 Mistakes of Novice Sellers

A woman stands on her front porch with her dog, with a "For Sale" sign a few feet ahead of her in the yard.

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With soaring home prices and high demand, homeowners are finding it a great time to sell. But some sellers—particularly first-timers—may be so caught up in the headlines about the rosy market that their expectations may become clouded.

Real estate professionals shared with realtor.com® some of the mistakes of rookie home sellers in the current market:

Unrealistic price expectations: It’s a seller’s market, but that doesn’t mean a sky-is-the-limit pricing strategy will still work. “First-time sellers often erroneously believe that the list price means the desired purchase price,” Lindsay Reishman, founding partner at The Reishman Group in Washington, D.C., told realtor.com®. “In fact, the list price simply indicates an approximate appropriate price, and its purpose is to drive interest in the property.”

Accepting the highest offer: Buyers can make some giant bids to beat out the competition, but those offers can fall apart. Real estate pros say sellers can become so focused on a number that they overlook the reliability of a bid. Home offers can fall apart for a number of reasons, including financing, appraisals, or inspections. “In this market, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to submit an offer for a home, sight unseen,” Deborah Ann Spence, a broker at Fierce Real Estate Corp. in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., told realtor.com®. “Then, if the buyer doesn’t like what he eventually does see, the offer can be withdrawn and the property is likely to lose traction.”

Trying to FSBO: “For sale by owner” may be tempting to homeowners who believe the seller’s market offers them an opportunity to DIY their home sale. However, the FSBO route could limit the home’s exposure to larger pools of buyers since FSBOs can’t be listed on the multiple listing service. Also, even if the home does get buyer attention, a real estate agent by the seller’s side is critical to navigating the process and paperwork and sorting through multiple offers.

View more common slip-ups of first-time home sellers at realtor.com®.