Top Home-Selling Pitfalls

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Selling your home is no small feat, and it’s totally understandable if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t real estate experts who have all the nitty-gritty knowledge about the selling process, especially when it comes to Mexico and its unique nuances. But fret not! We’ve got some fantastic news for you: We’re here to lend a helping hand.

In this article, we’ll dive into the ten most common mistakes that home sellers make and demystify each one of them. By the time we’re done, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to tackle this endeavor like a pro. So, let’s get started!

By the way, if you are thinking of selling, contact us here:

The 10 Biggest Home-Selling Mistakes

  1. Overlooking Home-Selling Costs
  2. Selling Without the Guidance of an Agent
  3. Entrusting Your Sale to an Inexperienced Agent
  4. Mispricing Your Home
  5. Concealing Significant Repairs
  6. Moving to a Home Beyond Your Financial Means
  7. Neglecting Home Staging
  8. Utilizing Poor Listing Photos
  9. Personalizing Low Offers
  10. Restricting Showings


Mistake 1: Overlooking Home-Selling Costs

When it comes to selling your home, there are obvious expenses like real estate commissions and potential capital gains tax. However, there are some lesser-known costs that can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared.

Let’s break them down for you:

  • Agent commissions: Typically, sellers are responsible for covering the commissions of both their listing agent and the buyer’s agent. This usually amounts to around 6% to 7% of your home’s sale price. For instance, if your home sells for $400,000, you can expect approximately $24,000 to go towards agent commissions.
  • Buyer agent bonus: Many sellers have found success by offering a bonus to the buyer’s agent. This bonus, ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 USD, can incentivize agents to bring potential buyers your way.
  • Capital gains tax: If your property has experienced appreciation in value since its purchase, you may be liable for capital gains tax. It’s important to note that the price shown on your title may differ from the actual amount you paid, especially considering factors like currency devaluation over time, Talk to us first. Seeking advice from a notario can help assess your capital gains tax and explore strategies to minimize it. The tax, known as ISR, starts at 36% and can be reduced based on various factors. Contact us for more information.
  • Closing costs: Apart from the significant expenses of capital gains tax and commissions, sellers typically incur additional closing costs, ranging from 1% to 2% of the home’s price. These costs may include attorney fees, property certificates of no debt, fideicomiso cancellation fees, POA ratification, and change of land use fees charged by the property tax office. For more details, feel free to reach out to us.
  • Marketing materials and photos: To showcase your property effectively, you may consider refreshing certain rooms with a fresh coat of paint or enhancing your home’s landscaping. Additionally, investing in professional photography services for high-quality pictures, drone shots, and videos can make a significant impact. On average, these expenses amount to around $400 to $500 USD for a three-bedroom home.
  • Home inspection: Buyers often request a home inspection, so it’s essential to address any known issues beforehand or be transparent about them. Taking care of minor repairs can potentially lead to a higher closing price. Alternatively, if you decide not to make repairs, it’s crucial to inform potential buyers about the existing conditions.
  • Seller concessions: Offering some extra perks to buyers, such as including your washer and dryer or other coveted items, can sweeten the deal and make it more enticing.

When you add up all these expenses, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed if you’re not adequately prepared. But don’t worry! A knowledgeable real estate agent understands how to navigate the home-selling process with these costs in mind and can guide you accordingly.

Mistake 2: Selling Without the Guidance of an Agent

Here’s a biggie: opting to sell your home without the assistance of a real estate agent, also known as going the For Sale by Owner (FSBO) route, can be a colossal mistake. Trying to handle the entire selling process on your own can quickly become a major headache. You might find yourself skipping crucial steps, struggling with complex paperwork, and missing out on the opportunity to maximize your earnings.

In fact, data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in 2022 revealed that the typical FSBO home sold for $225,000, while homes sold with the help of an agent fetched over $345,000. That’s a staggering $120,000 difference! Although we acknowledge that the statistics are from the US market, it’s reasonable to infer a similar tendency. And that $120,000 far outweighs the cost of a 3% seller’s agent commission, which would only amount to $10,350 on a $345,000 sale. Additionally, even if you choose the FSBO route, you’ll still need to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission.

Do you possess the best contacts for reducing capital gains tax? We do, thanks to our years of experience in the field. Are you well-versed in all the necessary documents required for a successful closing and how to obtain them? That’s our area of expertise. Do you know how to market your property effectively to gain maximum exposure and achieve a swift sale? Can you secure a prominent spot on the first page of Google search results? That’s precisely what we can offer.

Are you prepared to navigate the challenges posed by inexperienced and uneducated agents throughout the duration of your FSBO journey? We’re well-equipped to handle the hard work involved in closing a deal, along with its twists and turns.

Save yourself the hassle of managing everything solo and instead, hire a competent agent. However, keep in mind that you don’t just want any agent—you want to work with a truly exceptional one. That leads us to our next mistake.

Mistake 3: Entrusting Your Sale to an Inexperienced Agent

While it may seem like a kind gesture to involve a friend or family member in selling your house, relying on an inexperienced agent is a critical mistake. Your home is your most significant asset, and it deserves to be handled by a seasoned professional with at least three years of full-time experience, someone who is truly an expert in your local market. It’s essential to prioritize expertise and knowledge rather than simply relying on personal connections, such as your third cousin twice removed who recently obtained a real estate license as a side gig.

Now, you might be wondering how to find an agent who fits the bill. Well, look no further because we’ve got you covered! We possess the expertise, experience, and deep understanding of your local market that you need. So, you can rest assured that your home sale will be in the hands of a reliable and knowledgeable professional.

Mistake 4: Mispricing Your Home

Determining the right price for your home can be a tricky task. Setting the price too low means potentially missing out on significant profit, while setting it too high can deter serious buyers or lead to prolonged listing periods before eventually having to lower the price.

This consideration is particularly crucial in the context of Riviera Maya, where second-home sales predominantly involve cash transactions.

It’s important not to rely solely on Internet estimates or let emotions dictate the pricing decision. Instead, consult your agent for a historical comparison to understand the selling prices of similar homes in your area. Setting the correct price from the beginning can make all the difference in terms of the speed of your home sale and the amount of money you ultimately receive at the closing table. Trusting your agent’s expertise in pricing will help ensure a successful outcome.

Mistake 5: Concealing Significant Repairs

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s be clear: there’s absolutely no reason to be dishonest and conceal important information when listing your house. Not only is it a reflection of low character and zero integrity, but buyers will eventually discover any hidden issues. Thinking that they won’t notice that roof leak or pest problem is a mistake. Once your buyer proceeds with a home inspection after accepting their offer, any problems you’ve kept hidden will inevitably come to light. Consequently, you risk losing the sale altogether.

It’s best to be transparent from the beginning and save everyone involved, including yourself, the time and headache. Honesty is key when it comes to showcasing your property, ensuring a smoother and more successful transaction for all parties involved.

Mistake 6: Moving to a Home Beyond Your Financial Means

One of the critical mistakes to avoid is moving into a home that you cannot afford. It’s essential to be realistic about your financial situation and carefully evaluate your budget before making such a significant decision.

While it might be tempting to stretch your budget to purchase a larger or more luxurious property, it can lead to financial strain and potential hardships down the line. It’s crucial to consider not only the mortgage payments but also the associated costs of homeownership, such as property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utilities. Failing to account for these expenses can put you in a precarious financial position.

Ensure that you assess your financial capabilities thoroughly and work with a reputable lender or financial advisor to determine a comfortable and sustainable budget for your new home. By doing so, you can avoid the stress and potential financial pitfalls that come with moving into a property beyond your means.

Mistake 7: Neglecting Home Staging

Underestimating the significance of home staging is a major mistake when it comes to selling your home. Why is staging important? Well, it can significantly impact the speed of your sale and the final sale price. In fact, according to reports, 48% of seller’s agents state that staging reduces the time a home spends on the market, while 44% of agents believe that staging can lead to increased offers by 1-5%.

Therefore, it’s crucial not to present potential buyers with an empty, cluttered, or poorly lit house. Instead, keep your furniture in place and arrange it in an appealing manner. Clear the clutter and ensure that every room is well-lit, creating an inviting atmosphere for visitors.

Additionally, consider giving rooms a fresh coat of paint where necessary. While your daughter may have loved her purple bedroom, potential buyers might not share the same preference for pastel hues. Investing in professional painting services or taking on the task yourself is a small investment that can yield significant returns, potentially translating into thousands of extra dollars in the final sale price.

Remember, staging your home appropriately can contribute to a faster sale and attract higher offers, making it a crucial step in the selling process.

Mistake 8: Utilizing Poor Listing Photos

In today’s digital age, potential buyers often begin their home search from the comfort of their couch. In fact, a staggering 95% of buyers use the Internet as their primary tool for searching for homes. So, if your online listing photos appear subpar and resemble snapshots taken with a dated flip phone, you risk losing buyer interest even before they have a chance to visit your property in person.

That’s why it is crucial to collaborate with an experienced professional who understands how to showcase your home effectively through captivating photographs. You’d be amazed at the difference that proper lighting techniques and the use of wide-angle lenses can make in capturing the essence of your home. Investing in high-quality listing photos can generate increased buyer interest and engagement, significantly improving your chances of attracting potential buyers to your property.

Remember, the visual presentation of your home plays a vital role in capturing the attention of online buyers, so ensure that your listing photos make your home shine and leave a lasting impression.

Mistake 9: Personalizing Low Offers

It’s important to keep in mind that a buyer’s offer should not be taken as a personal reflection of their opinion about your home or your abilities as a homeowner. If someone makes an offer on your property, it’s a clear indication that they are interested in your home. Remember, selling your home is a business transaction, and emotions should be kept in check.

Even if the initial offer is lower than your expectations, it’s crucial not to take it personally or let emotions guide your response. Instead, view it as an opportunity to engage in negotiation. Respond with a counteroffer that aligns with your desired terms. If the potential buyer is genuinely interested, they may improve their offer in response to the negotiation process.

Maintaining a business mindset throughout the negotiation process allows you to make rational decisions based on your goals and market conditions. Avoid taking low offers personally and remain focused on finding common ground that benefits both parties involved.

Mistake 10: Restricting Showings

We understand that preparing your home for last-minute showings and finding alternative accommodations during that time can be a major inconvenience, especially if you have young children. However, limiting showings to specific times, such as weekends or certain days of the week, can potentially hinder your chances of attracting interested buyers. It’s crucial to be flexible and accommodating, even if it means adjusting your schedule or dealing with minor inconveniences like showings during nap times.

Remember, allowing showings is a temporary inconvenience that can lead to a successful sale. When showings are scheduled, it’s best to let your agent take charge and step aside. Your presence during showings can create an uncomfortable atmosphere for potential buyers and hinder their ability to envision themselves living in the space.

By granting flexibility in scheduling and trusting your agent to handle showings, you increase the likelihood of attracting serious buyers and facilitating a smooth and successful selling process. Remember, the goal is to make your home as accessible as possible to maximize its exposure and attract potential buyers.

Selling Your Home Wisely

By now, you have gained valuable insights into the most significant mistakes that sellers often make when selling their homes. It’s important to recognize that these mistakes can have substantial financial implications. However, armed with this knowledge, you now have the power to steer clear of these pitfalls and chart a successful path forward in selling your home.

Avoiding these common mistakes is key to ensuring a smooth and profitable home-selling experience. Remember to consider factors such as understanding home-selling costs, hiring a qualified real estate agent, pricing your home accurately, being transparent about repairs, making wise financial decisions, investing in staging and professional listing photos, and maintaining a business mindset during negotiations. Additionally, remaining flexible with showings and trusting your agent’s expertise can contribute to a successful sale.

With this newfound understanding, you are equipped to navigate the home-selling process with confidence and make informed decisions that align with your goals. By sidestepping these common mistakes, you increase your chances of achieving a successful sale and maximizing your returns.

So, take charge, be proactive, and sell your home the smart way, avoiding these potential pitfalls along the journey. Good luck, and may your home-selling endeavor be a rewarding and prosperous one!

Judi Shaw - Owner Broker at Living Riviera Maya Real Estate

Written by Judi Shaw

Owner/Broker at Living Riviera Maya Real Estate

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