Recessions can be scary when you're trying to sell your home. Most likely, your home is your biggest investment and you want to recoup as much of that value as you possibly can. Yet when the pool of willing and able buyers seems to be shrinking and the cost of borrowing is rising, it's easy to lose hope.
Instead, take a deep breath and make sure you're not making one or more of these five biggest home-selling mistakes in a recession.
Mistake #1. Being careless when choosing a realtor
It's tempting to want to save money where you can in a recession, and realtor commissions can seem awfully high. A big slice of a shrinking pie means less for you, after all.
However, this is not an area you want to skimp on. Choose an experienced realtor who has a concrete, actionable plan to sell your home by showcasing its unique features. Interview several agents to make sure you choose the most capable and qualified realtor.
Mistake #2. Overpricing your home to begin with
In a recession, pricing your home too high right out of the gate can lead to a much longer time on the market. That time is not on your side. The longer your home remains on the market, the more a ready and willing buyer may come to believe there's some hidden fault there. That leads to price slashing, which in turn scares buyers away. Avoid this by working with your realtor to price your home properly to begin with and avoid a flurry of future price reductions.
Mistake #3. Making a not-so-great first impression
No matter how a buyer first comes into contact with your property, you want to ensure that the first impression is a great one. You don't have to hire an expensive professional real estate photographer for listing photos, but you do want to spend time and take care of every single photo that will be added to the listing. If you're not skilled in this area, ask your realtor for recommendations.
Likewise, spend time sprucing up the outside of your home to improve its curb appeal. Trim down overgrown branches and shrubs, make sure the lawn is trimmed and edged, and remove all yard clutter such as the kids' toys or sports equipment. An exterior power wash and perhaps a touch-up paint job for the trim can also work wonders. And don't forget the interiors-declutter, give the walls a neutral paint job, and upgrade old appliances and fixtures where you can.
Mistake #4. Not accommodating last-minute showing requests
Make it a goal to never say no to a request to view the home-yes, even if it's at the very last minute. Devise an emergency routine to enable your family to pick up clutter, get the home ready for show, and vacate the premises within an hour. Use attractive storage containers for personal items, papers, books, toys, and other items. Load, run, and empty the dishwasher, give the carpets a fresh vacuum, take out the trash, and figure out a safe place for pets or take them with you. The idea is to leave the house looking showroom fresh and ready to move in, no matter how much notice you're given.
Mistake #5. Ignoring repairs and upgrades
Last but far from least, make sure you've addressed any significant repair needs. Patch up dents and scratches, replace and repair faulty wiring or lighting fixtures, and make sure all doors open and close properly. Bigger repairs may take more lead time but are even more crucial to address. Roof repair or replacement, in particular, should be completed before you list your home. The same is true for HVAC systems that are out of date or that operate inefficiently.