What Home Sellers Might Have Done Differently

If you sold your home in the past couple of years, in a market with many challenges to navigate, you may be wishing you had done one or two things differently. It turns out you're not alone in those feelings.

According to a recent survey from Zillow conducted by the Harris Poll, a large share of those who sold a home for the first time over the past two years expressed regret over some of the decisions made in the process. Eighty-four percent of respondents indicated that they would've done something differently in terms of pricing, timing or the marketing of the home. Here are the top four regrets homesellers expressed in the survey. If you're putting your home on the market soon, be sure to discuss them with your real estate agent: 

Pricing incorrectly. The most common thing recent first-time home sellers wish they had done differently is set a higher list price (39%). It's understandable, given those who sold during the pandemic's red hot housing market saw nearly every home command a sky-high price. But today's market is different. Pricing a home too high could lead to a slower sale or force the seller to drop their price. A well-priced listing is likely to go under contract sooner. Nearly 3 in 4 agents believe pricing is the most important thing sellers need to get right in a less frenzied housing market. 

Ignoring online curb appeal. Nearly 9 in 10 recent first-time sellers think something could have helped them get a higher sale price than they received (87%). Almost 2 in 5 (39%) think better listing photos could have boosted their bottom line, while 1 in 4 recent first-time sellers (25%) think a virtual tour could have helped sell their home for more. Most prospective buyers shop for homes online, meaning sellers can't ignore online curb appeal. A great listing media package that includes professional high-resolution photography and drone photography helps showcase a home's best features. However, today's buyers expect an even more immersive experience. Listings that also include a 3D home virtual tour or an interactive floor plan get 69% more page views and 80% more saves on Zillow. 

Bad timing. One-quarter of recent first-time sellers (25%) wish they had listed their home at a different time. While the best time to sell will always depend on a homeowner's personal circumstances, if the owner has flexibility, the second half of April is the optimal time to list a home for sale nationwide, Zillow research shows. Timing the sale of a home with the purchase of a new one is one of the biggest stressors sellers experience. More than one-third of recent first-time sellers wish they had known how long — or how quickly (36%) — it would take to sell their home.

Skimping on repairs. If you're gearing up to sell your home, you should probably plan on rolling up your sleeves (or hiring the right professional) to tackle necessary improvements and repairs. More than one-quarter of recent first-time sellers (25%) think they could have gotten a higher sale price if they had invested in more home improvements and repairs. Roughly two-thirds of recent first-time sellers (66%) took on at least two home improvement projects to prepare their home for sale. Nearly 8 in 10 recent first-time sellers (78%) believe the projects they completed helped their home sell. Talk to your agents about which repairs or improvements are most critical to your home's sale, both in terms of timing and price point.

Keep in mind that selling your home involves negotiation and compromise—there are no decisions you can make that will lead to the perfect picture you have in your mind. A local, professional agent will help guide you on making the best possible decisions for your individual needs and goals. 

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