5 Biggest Mistakes When Selling Your House In MA (And How to Avoid Them)

There are many mistakes a homeowner can make when selling their house in Massachusetts, but five in particular have stood out as the most common in our 30 plus years of experience. 

Today, we’re going to cover each of those problem areas and give you actionable tips on how to avoid them. The result will be a much smoother and much more successful home sale that gets you the most money possible.

Not Being Objective

For many people, selling their house can be a stressful and emotional experience. They’re starting a new chapter in their lives and leaving a home they’ve lived in for many years and made memories in. Understandably, that transition can be pretty jarring.

Too often, though, people let their feelings about a house cloud their judgment. We once came across a property in Medford, Massachusetts filled with black mold, which had crept into the ventilation; the elderly woman living there did not seem to mind it, and was deeply attached to the home despite the disarray and clear health hazards around her. 

Whatever the homeowner’s situation, and whatever attachments they have to the house, it’s important to look at the situation objectively and figure out whether it’s time to make a change. 

Not Being Realistic

This is really a variation of the previous mistake. 

Everyone wants to get as much as possible for their house, as they should. But it’s also important to have cold hard facts to support the asking price for a house. What are other homes in the area selling for? How do they compare (positively or negatively) to your home? How much work will the house need, and is that work already baked into the price? 

We show you how to figure out what your home might be worth here. We also show you how we make offers here. Use both of these as a starting point, but also do your own independent research.

This is a super important part of the homesale to get right. Even in this seller’s market, overshooting on the asking price can turn potential buyers away. In contrast, pricing the house right can attract strong demand and sometimes even a bidding war.

Not Verifying Buyer Funds

We’ve written about this before, but we feel it’s important enough to reemphasize.

Just as important as finding a buyer who will give you the price and terms you want is finding a buyer who can, well, actually buy the property!

You would be amazed at how many folks looking to buy a house cannot actually do so. If they’re traditional buyers, they may not qualify for bank financing. If they’re cash buyers, they may not actually have the cash they claim to.

That’s why it’s extremely important to ask your buyer for a “proof of funds”. If they’re using a bank or other lender, ask for a pre-approval letter and call the lender to verify it (we’ve had fake letters submitted to us, so don’t skip this step). If they’re using cash, ask for a bank statement and call the bank to verify that as well. 

It only takes a few minutes, but this will save you so much time and heartache going forward. 

Not Being Certain About Your Commitments 

When you sign a Massachusetts Offer to Purchase or Purchase and Sale Agreement, you are signing a binding contract to sell your house. This is a serious commitment. 

If you change your mind midway through and decide not to sell, the buyer might be kind enough to let you out of the contract. Or they may not. In Massachusetts, the buyer can often go to court and successfully force the sale of the property by seeking what is called specific performance

This unfortunately happened to a friend of ours recently who was selling his house in Sherborn, MA, and it cost him thousands in legal fees and months of his time and energy. 

The point is, this is not a kerfuffle you or anyone else should want to get involved in. So when you sign your name on that dotted line, you should be certain that you like the offer being presented to you and are willing to see the home sale through to the end. 

Not Disclosing Defects To Buyer

This is another legal pitfall that Massachusetts home sellers encounter. Some folks believe that as long as they say they’re selling their house “as-is”, or that “buyer should do their own due diligence”, they don’t have to disclose known defects in the property. Wrong!

Sellers have both an ethical and a legal obligation to disclose material (value-impacting) defects in the home or the land that they know about. If you fail to disclose a defect that is later discovered, not only can the buyer cancel the entire sale, but you’ve also opened yourself up to a potential lawsuit. Do not do it! Always err on the side of disclosure. 

As Massachusetts cash homebuyers, we do not mind at all if the house needs work; in fact we’ve bought houses right down to the studs. That’s no problem. But if you know something about the property that isn’t obvious, we (or any other buyer) need to know about it.

If you have questions or comments about anything discussed here, or about home selling in general, do not hesitate to contact us at (617) 831 6186 and we’ll be happy to talk!

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