Seller’s Remorse? Top Regrets of Home Sellers and How to Prevent Them

Let’s face it—between repairs, closing costs, and commissions, the costs associated with selling your house can add up fast. Case in point: homeowners reported spending $54,616 when selling their homes, according to a recent survey from Clever Real Estate—an amount that was surprising to 42%. 

Despite the costs, the majority (64%) made a profit on the sale of their home, with the median profit totaling $100,000. Over the past six months, the sellers I’ve worked with in Northern Virginia have made profits between $57,000 and $683,000

With the right strategy, you can maximize your profits and minimize regrets. In fact, the study also showed that sellers who worked with a real estate agent walked away with an average of $34,000 more than those who went it alone. That’s a pretty compelling argument for having a pro in your corner! 

Rather than just taking my word for it, let’s dive into:

  • The costs associated with selling a home
  • Regrets home sellers reported
  • How you can avoid common mistakes

The Cost of Selling a Home

Selling a home at the highest possible price involves various costs. Here’s what survey respondents said they paid for, on average:

  • Listing agent commission: $11,136
  • Buyer's agent commission: $10,467
  • Repairs: $10,000
  • Closing costs: $8,000
  • Concessions: $7,200
  • Moving expenses: $3,250
  • Marketing: $2,300
  • Staging: $2,263

Keep in mind that every transaction is different—some of these costs are negotiable (like agent commissions), some may not be needed for every property, and some could be lower or higher based on the condition of the home or what’s happening in the local market. 

Common Regrets of Home Sellers

Regret was a common sentiment among home sellers who participated in the survey, with 89% expressing some sort of regret post-sale, including 92% of those who sold without an agent. 

The most common regrets about the home selling process included:

  • Selling too quickly (30%)
  • They miss their old home (29%)
  • Not selling for enough money (28%)
  • Not making enough pre-listing repairs (26%)
  • Making too many concessions (26%)
  • Failing to stage the home (25%)

Now, let’s get into something I’m really passionate about—the regrets home sellers had about their agent. Half of those surveyed say their agent “failed them” in some way. This is why who you work with matters so much. 

Here’s what respondents had to say about their agent:

  • Agent's advice let them down (57%)
  • Agent made mistakes with their listing (53%)
  • Agent didn't communicate enough (50%)

So, with all these regrets floating around, how can you make sure these things don’t happen to you? 

How to Maximize Your Home Sale

Making the most of your home sale starts with working with the right real estate agent (remember, agents help homeowners get an additional $34,000 for their home sales). I always encourage sellers to interview at least two agents, because when it comes to selling your biggest asset, having the right professional by your side is critical. That’s why I also recommend home buyers meet with more than one mortgage lender.

When interviewing agents, look for the following:

  • Find a Professional: Look for an agent with deep knowledge about the local market, strong negotiation skills and a solid marketing plan.
  • Check References and Reviews: Ask for references and read online reviews to ensure the agent has a history of satisfied clients.
  • Discuss Your Goals and Expectations: Make sure your agent understands your goals and priorities for the sale. In addition, be sure to ask about their communication plan.
  • Evaluate Their Marketing Plan: A good agent will have a comprehensive marketing strategy to attract potential buyers, including online listings, social media promotion, and professional photography.
  • Understand Commission Structure: Discuss the commission upfront to avoid any surprises later.

Once you find a real estate agent you are confident with, work with them to learn what type of repairs or staging will make a difference. They will be able to walk you through the process and provide guidance on what matters most to buyers. 

The Bottom Line

Selling your home comes with a series of big decisions. A real estate agent is your partner in the process, and their expertise can mean the difference between tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket. 

For a free consultation or discovery call to chat about your goals, connect with me here.

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