Selling March 20, 2023

4 Things First-Time Home Sellers Regret Most

Selling your home is a big decision, which is why you want to make sure you and your property are ready for it when the time comes. From setting an asking price to deciding when to list your home, there’s a lot you’ll need to consider as a seller. The last thing you want to feel once your home is sold is regret over some of the choices you made—which many people say they do.

According to a new Zillow survey, 84 percent of Americans who sold a home for the first time in the past two years wish they had done something differently. The poll reveals that many recent first-time sellers have regrets about the pricing, timing, or marketing of their home. To avoid these mistakes when it’s your time to list, it helps to understand the survey participants’ key errors.

Pricing Incorrectly

The most common thing participants in Zillow’s survey say they wish they had done differently is set a higher list price. Now more than ever, it can be difficult to decide on how much to list your home for. Pricing it too high could lead to a slower sale, but pricing it too low may leave you wishing you had listed it 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.”

Ignoring Online Curb Appeal

Don’t underestimate the importance of virtual curb appeal when it comes to selling your home. About 90 percent of recent first-time sellers think something could have helped them get a higher sale price—and 39 percent of those respondents believe that better listing photos could have boosted their sale (25 percent say a virtual tour also might have helped).

Many prospective buyers look for homes online, which means you shouldn’t ignore that website listing. Consider creating a media package that includes high-resolution photography to help highlight your home’s best features. According to Zillow, listings that include a virtual home tour get 69 percent more views and 80 percent more saves.

Bad Timing

Twenty-five percent of people who took Zillow’s survey say they wish they had listed their home a different time. While the best time to sell is a personal choice, if you have flexibility, the optimal time to list a home is during the second half of April, says Zillow.

Timing the sale of a home with the purchase of another house is one of the biggest stressors for sellers. About 36 percent of first-time sellers wish they had known how long it would take for their home to sell. About 37 percent of sellers say selling their home on their timeline, with a flexible closing date, or selling quickly was their top priority.

Skimping on Repairs

Sprucing up your home before selling it may be worth the extra costs. According to Zillow’s survey, 25 percent of participants believe they could have gotten a higher sale price if they had invested in more home improvements and repairs. Despite this regret, most sellers (66 percent) report taking on at least two home improvement projects before selling and 78 percent believe those projects helped them sell their home.

“The right projects can pay off,” said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert. “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.”