The 6 most frequent mistakes when selling your property (and how to avoid them)

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Selling a property is a tricky business, and one that will have a major impact on your assets. It's best to approach the sale of your house or flat with full knowledge of the facts.

To help you avoid any unpleasant surprises, we've put together a list of the 6 most common mistakes not to make when selling your property.

Table of contents

1. Start too early

Buyers don’t like to wait too long. If you cannot vacate the premises within a reasonable time, you may discourage buyers. Consequence: in a first step you may not find buyers, since they will prefer to turn to properties available more quickly. In a second step, buyers will think there is a problem with your property, since it has already been on the market too long. At the end of the day, you thought you were doing well by starting early, but you made the sale unnecessarily complicated.

2. Start too late

That’s right… starting too late is also risky. To be sure to sell on time, you may accept an offer at a price that is too low. So make sure you have the time to find the buyer who will accept your price or ask for a small discount, but avoid finding yourself in an emergency situation that will make you accept a bad offer.

So you have to aim for the right time!

Our advice for the 2 first points: unless it is a very typical or particular property, start the sale process 6 to 8 months before your planned move. For special properties (e.g. very expensive or special properties; requiring a lot of renovations…), refer to the advice of your experienced real estate agent. Homexperts can of course advise you objectively.

3. Determine the wrong price

Too high, and you will stay too long sitting on your property. Too low, and you are not optimizing your assets.

Determining the right price is certainly the most critical element of the sale. Unfortunately, many agencies do not master this task, either because of a lack of competence or simply because of a lack of experience. Because one thing is certain: it is not enough to compare prices on real estate portals. As this is not an exact science, valuation methods, recent experience and the interest of potential buyers in the property in question must be mixed to end up with the right price.

Our advice: Make sure you work with an agency that is familiar with the valuation approach but that also makes enough sales per year to have the necessary field experience and that maintains databases of potential buyers. At Homexperts, all these points are part of the selection criteria for our partner agencies.

4. Get a single estimate

Determining the selling price is not an exact science and depends on experience but also on recent similar sales and many other factors. Even among serious and professional agencies, the same property can sometimes be assessed with differences of 10% or more.

Our advice: Always ask 3 serious agencies for estimates, compare the 3 estimates and if necessary challenge the agencies with the other agencies’ estimates. The agencies’ explanations will allow you to judge the validity of the estimates and the chances of making the sale at the indicated price. At Homexperts, we ensure this process for you and present you with the results of the 3 estimates as well as our analysis and recommendation.

5. Working with the wrong agency

Finding a good agency is not easy at all. But even a good agency is not necessarily the best one to sell your specific property.

Why? There are several reasons. First, geographical specialization. Most agencies will obviously tell you that they sell throughout the country, but few can do it effectively. Conversely, local agencies often do not have the databases of buyers that will allow you to maximize the sale price. Secondly, the type of usual properties sold. Here too, most agencies will tell you that they can sell any type of property. But more often than not, those who usually sell apartments are not in the best position to sell an expensive home. On the other hand, an agency specialising in luxury goods will not necessarily have the best motivation to sell a small flat. And finally, it is mandatory that your agency has a database of potential buyers for your type of property. Because if the agency only publishes the property on real estate portals to find a buyer, its added value is very limited.

Our advice: Ask the right questions and don’t be too gullible. But the exercise is not easy. That is why at Homexperts, we objectively advise you on the 3 partner agencies that we believe are best placed to sell your property in question. Because we have no interest in favouring one or the other of our partner agencies, but only to ensure an efficient and effective sale under the best conditions.

6. Renovating too much

Renovating before selling is often a bad idea. You spend your money on something that may not please the buyer. As a result, you will have wasted money and will be frustrated when the buyer does not appreciate the renovations at their true value. Conversely, some renovations can be useful and beneficial for the sale, especially if they solve problems that may discourage buyers.

Our advice: avoid “cladding” renovations (painting, new flooring…) and limit yourself to really necessary improvement work (e. g. waterproofing problems on a terrace…). Ideally, before starting any work, ask a trusted real estate agent for advice.

And as a bonus… a 7. mistake that has nothing to do with sales per se, but could nonetheless do you a lot of harm.

7. Being misinformed about current legislation

The first thing that comes to mind is the taxation of capital gains. If you think you’re going to sell your property and receive 100% of the proceeds, even though you may have to pay tax, you could be in for some very unpleasant financial surprises. To avoid this, read our explanation of capital gains tax on property sales.
We also recommend that you keep abreast of any temporary provisions and future regulations. For example, in 2024, the Government has decided on temporary benefits to boost the recovery of the property market, which means for example that it is better to sell properties with a poor energy passport in 2024 than afterwards.
So always keep an eye out for new developments, or get the right information from your agent, who should be able to advise you if he’s doing his job properly.

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