10 Mistakes When Selling a House

The real estate market in Southeastern Wisconsin is doing well. It’s a sellers’ market, and if you have a home you’re getting ready to sell, you will want it to be in the best shape possible.

Many houses in popular areas like Waukesha, South Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls, and Glendale can go for even more than the asking price if they’re positioned to attract the right buyer. If you want to maximize your investment, avoid these common mistakes when selling your home.

A for sale sign with a red "SOLD!" sticker across the front is planted in the lawn in front of a modest two story home with a white garage and beige colored siding.

1. Overpricing the Home

It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s best to ensure you’re asking a market-friendly price for your home. Do your research and look at what similar homes in your neighborhood are going for. Ask around and get a professional home appraisal to help you navigate.

Setting the price too high can put off potential buyers and cause a home to spend a longer time on the market with lower offers. That said, if you have time to sell and know the value of your home, there’s nothing wrong with holding out for the right price—the right buyer will come along.

2. Skimping on Curb Appeal

When selling a home, first impressions are huge. When prospective buyers walk up to your house, they should feel that sense of “wow” before they even go inside. The exterior of your house is so crucial to a successful sale.

For home sellers, landscaping is crucial. Cleaning up debris around your yard, trimming the lawn, and adding a few flowers will impress buyers. Ignoring the outside of the house is one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when selling a house.

3. Neglecting Necessary Repairs

Small repairs and fixes may seem like no big deal when you’ve lived in a house for years. Unfortunately, these little oversights can be a major turn-off to potential buyers. A loose handle on a front door or a shaky stair railing can make a buyer assume they’re missing larger concerns as well.

Even paint touch-ups and simple hole patches can make a world of difference. Take a weekend or two before you put your home up to deep clean and address any little fixes that need to be taken care of

4. Underestimating the Importance of Nice Siding

Does your siding have dings and dents? Is it old or falling off? Damaged and outdated siding is a huge red flag to potential buyers. It may seem like a significant investment for a home you’re planning to sell, but by updating the exterior finish of your home, you’ll attract a higher class of buyers.

Again, it comes down to the moment someone walks up to your house. When they look at your house from the outside, does it appear cared for and well-maintained? Poor siding and damaged exterior finishes can signal that there are more underlying issues to explore.

5. Ignoring the Roof Condition

Another mistake people make when selling their home is overlooking the roof. Your home’s roof is one of the very first things that inspectors (and smart buyers) check. A new roof can help you fetch an even better sale price because it conveys the message that your home is taken care of.

A damaged, aging roof typically indicates deeper problems. It can lead to concerns about insulation, leaks, and overall home care. Unfortunately, these concerns can deter potential buyers and decrease the home’s value. Replacing a roof is often a savvy investment that pays for itself.

6. Not Updating Windows

Is your kitchen dark and hard to work in? Does your living room feel more like a basement den? Have your windows seen better days? Older, inefficient windows can be a glaring issue for buyers—especially if they’re concerned about utility costs (or the cost of replacing windows in the near future).

By adding new windows to your home, you’ll help buyers see it in the best light. Windows can make a home appear larger, more spacious, and brighter. Many windows can be enlarged or replaced with options like a bay window or garden window to maximize space and sunshine.

7. Forgoing Professional Photos

In today’s home market, aesthetics play an essential role in a home’s appeal. Professional photos make a world of difference, especially for buyers who are searching for homes online. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and investing in good real estate photos can yield thousands of dollars in a better market price.

When you have professional photos taken, be sure to highlight any new features (like windows and roofing). Your photographer should take many photos, capturing your house from all the best angles. Photos significantly increase interest in a property, and low-quality listing photos are a costly mistake.

8. Having a Grungy Bathroom

One of the biggest ick factors for potential buyers is a dirty bathroom. It’s almost impossible to envision yourself comfortably at home in a mildewed bathtub or dingy shower.

If your bathroom is dated and just has a bathtub, consider a tub-to-shower conversion. You can also appeal to older buyers with a few age-in-place-friendly updates like a low shower threshold.

9. Not Depersonalizing Your Space

When buyers visit open houses, they should be able to imagine the space as their own. That means homeowners shouldn’t be present for the showings, and the home should be clutter-free, clean, and well-staged.

What does staging mean? In real estate, staging means setting up a home in an inviting way that enlivens the space and makes it feel inviting. But it’s a balance—the idea is that you want the buyer to picture it as their home, not showcase your own personality. You can leave up a few personal items, but try to clean out as much as possible and minimize clutter.

10. Hiding Known Issues

We know it’s hard—you want to show your home in the very best light. But it’s important to share any known problems with your experienced agent. Transparency and trust are key, especially in big purchases like a house.

Failure to disclose home issues like wood rot, leaks, or electric concerns can lead to legal problems down the road and jeopardize the sale of your home. If there’s something that you know you need to fix, do what you can and disclose the rest. Honesty goes a long way toward getting top dollar for your home sale.

Get Your Home Ready with Weather Tight

Whether you plan to sell your home this year, next year, or in a decade, taking care of little concerns and issues is important so they don’t become bigger problems. Investing in your home is a sound choice because most improvements add to the value and comfort of your house while helping you save on utilities and other costs.

Selling a beloved home can be bittersweet. It’s essential to plan well ahead so you can address issues now. Please reach out if you need help prioritizing your home updates or exploring the best way to address options. Our team is happy to help you boost your curb appeal!