Zillow Finds 84% of First-Time Home Sellers Have Regrets—Here Are Their Top 4 Mistakes

Selling your home can be a stressful process. Even if you hire a qualified agent or broker, there are lots of decisions to be made. Sometimes these decisions are major, like pricing your home, or minor, such as repainting the basement. Either way, according to a new survey from Zillow, 84 percent of first-time home sellers feel they made at least one mistake when it came to the marketing of their homes.

Whether you’re about to put your home on the market or have just been thinking about it, don’t do anything before you consider these first-time seller regrets.

Regret #1: Pricing Incorrectly 

Thirty-nine percent of sellers who took Zillow’s survey regret pricing their home too low. Pricing can be incredibly tricky in any market. If you price too high, you may not get enough bids or it could take too long to sell. If you price too low, you might be left wondering if you should have listed for more. 

“This spring’s sellers are more likely to regret pricing their home too high,” said Zillow senior economist Nicole Bachaud. “The price their neighbor commanded a year ago may no longer be realistic. They need to adjust their expectations if they want to avoid having their home linger on the market. It’s more important than ever for sellers to rely on the advice of a great local agent who understands their neighborhood and has a winning pricing strategy.”   

Regret #2: Ignoring Online Curb Appeal 

Your home could be absolutely gorgeous and designed by one of the top interior designers, but if the photos online don’t reflect that, it might be time to have your home professionally staged and re-photographed. Nearly 39 percent of those who took the survey thought better listing photos would have garnered them a higher price. A quarter of those who took the survey also thought springing for a virtual tour would have boosted their bottom line. These sellers are likely right. Zillow data shows that listings with 3D virtual tours or an interactive floorplan receive a whopping 69 percent more page views and 80 percent more saves on the platform.

Regret #3: Bad Timing 

It’s been said that timing is everything but according to the survey, at least 25 percent of the first-time sellers felt they didn’t time wisely. Zillow research shows the second half of April is the best time put a home on the market nationwide, but every seller has a different circumstance. Whether you’re selling because you’re expanding your family, moving for a new job, or simply because you need to close on a new home—all these things ultimately end up influencing timing.

Regret #4: Skimping on Repairs 

Investing in the right projects to increase your home's sale price is crucial. More than 25 percent of those who took the survey regret not investing in updating their homes. But sellers shouldn't update just anything. Choosing the right projects is crucial. “Sellers need to think strategically about their return on investment before diving into repairs and renovations. Landscaping, interior painting, and carpet cleaning are the most commonly completed seller projects for good reason. They boost online curb appeal and send a powerful signal to a buyer that a home is well-maintained,” says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert.

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