How NOT to Lose Money When Selling Your Home

Story Highlights
  • Way #1 - Hire an experienced real estate agent
  • Way #2 - Price your home right
  • Way #3 - Prepare your home
  • Way #4 - Examine the costs in the offer contract

Sellers don’t always know how much their home is worth. This means that they often list it at the wrong price.

Buyers then either take advantage because the price is too low or they ignore it completely because the price is too high.

Either way, there is a chance that you lose money!

Sellers are also not aware of what they still owe when they decide to sell the home. An incorrect selling price could leave them with less than they anticipated.

Here are four ways to not lose money when selling a home:

Way #1 – Hire an experienced real estate agent

This point cannot be stressed enough!

An experienced real estate agent will help you squeeze every single Rand out of the sale of a home.

Sellers often make the mistake of hiring agents who are willing to work for a lower commission, but this might mean that you don’t get the same knowledge and service that you would from an experienced agent – even if they charge more commission.

A lot of time, the first thing they will analyse together with you is whether it is even worth it to sell your house in the current market climate. How’s that for advice!? They will give you all the advice and information you need for the road ahead. 

Way #2 – Price your home right

The longer your house sits on the market, the less value it has in the eyes of the buyer.

“Given it’s been on the market for months, what’s wrong with it?” or “Why has this property not sold yet; is there something we need to know?”

However, if you list at the right price from the start, you will attract ample buyers’ attention. Don’t test the market by overpricing it first and then later reducing it. Please, please, please!

Other tips include the following:

  • Price comparisons: Do your own research and see what the value of other houses in the area are. Are the prices trending higher or lower? If you were a buyer, which home would you rather buy? Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. 
  • Tour open (show) houses: The best way to figure something out is to see what others are doing and adjusting your plan. Look at trends in other open houses. Make notes of what buyers find appealing and what they find appalling. 

Way #3 – Prepare your home

It might cost you a bit more to get your home market-ready but it will be worth it when you sell.

What do they say again about first impressions? Would you sell your car as-is, or make sure you have it detailed prior to putting it on the market (or when the prospective buyer comes to view it)?

Simple things like minor repairs and redecoration can make the world’s difference in the eyes of a buyer. It is important that you pay attention to the main features of your house and put them on display. Here are a few tips:

  • Set a budget: Even though staging will cost you money, it shouldn’t cost you all your money. Work within a budget that suits you and try not to go over it. Ask your agent to help you if you are unsure which features should be prioritised. 
  • Skip the bathroom: Buyers often just poke their heads in the bathroom and don’t spend too much time worrying about it. Don’t invest too much unless there are major issues that you need to fix. 
  • Do research: If you can’t afford to hire a professional home stager (which South Africa is slowly warming up to), try to read as many articles or books on home staging as possible. Your real estate agent can also help you with the dos and don’ts of home staging. 

Way #4 – Examine the costs in the offer contract

You will be bombarded with a roughly 20-page document when the buyer puts in an offer to purchase agreement and this will also explain the costs associated with the sale.

Why wait until you’re faced with this ‘live’ offer to purchase document, whilst you and your real estate agent could prepare ahead of time by going over all the costs associated with selling a property?

So, when the ‘real thing’ arrives, you won’t need to be worried about which costs are covered by whom as you’ve already covered those during your prep sessions with the agent beforehand.

The most important thing to do to avoid losing money when selling is to be organized. Try working a bit more closely with your real estate agent and give his/her advice a shot? 


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