4 Biggest Mistakes Buyers and Sellers Make

For Buyers:

Ready to buy? Great! That’s why we’re here. Buying a home–whether it’s your first or your tenth–is an exciting time. Chances are if it you are a seasoned homebuyer, you’ll already have learned most of these mistakes either by experience or a good realtor before me.

For those new to the whole experience, it’s important to understand that it’s a stressful time and overwhelming experience for everyone. The best way to help ease some of this anxiety is to do your homework and work with a great realtor who has done this many times before. Once you’ve been doing it long enough, you learn what is and isn’t important.

Don’t stretch your budget

This happens all the time, particularly in the market we’re living in. It’s easy to see something just out of reach and want to go for it. Know what you can afford going in and stick to it. This is likely not your forever home so don’t blow your wad–or you WILL be in it forever.

That said, try to pay attention to the monthly costs. The purchase price IS a big number, yes, but you’re not paying it all at once. Ever heard the saying “there’s only one way to eat an elephant”? Well, there’s only one way to pay a mortgage – a month at a time. Pay attention to the monthly payment, and not so much the sales price … if the monthly number fits your budget and you’re comfortable with it, that’s half the battle!

Buy with selling in mind

What’s perfect for you might not entice future buyers when it comes time to sell–and that often comes sooner than you think. That mirrored ceiling might be perfect for your…hobbies…but remember that you might have to explain it to a potential buyer down the road.

Don’t tell the seller all the things that are wrong with their house.

Cutting off the seller at the knees as you start a negotiation is only going to work against you. A good agent knows how to ask the right questions. If they don’t you should find a new agent.

If starting with all the negatives seems like a wonderful negotiating technique, I recommend reading Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.


If there’s one thing to make your life easier through this whole experience, it’s to get a pre-approval . It costs nothing and gives you a line-by-line idea of what to expect at closing as well as your monthly payments and get bigger equity. Closing costs really add up and can stretch even a prepared buyer’s resources. It’s always a good idea to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

Overwhelmed? It’s normal. If you’re looking to start down the road of buying a home, give me a call. For a process that is complicated and stressful, it’s all worth it when you make the right moves and reach the finish line.

For Sellers:

Big day! Time to sell the house. This day came around sooner than you thought, didn’t it? We sell for all kinds of reasons–to go bigger, to move into something smaller, or to move across the country. No matter what the reason, it’s important to avoid some simple mistakes. You may have thought home buying was stressful but this is a whole new beast. Selling means showing your house and waiting for that sometimes illusive offer. Once it does come, you have to move. If you’ve been in the home thirty or forty years, moving can be extraordinarily daunting.

Selling comes down to proper preparation, understanding the market (or hiring someone who does!), and presenting your home in a way that opens it up to that person who’s ready to say “yes”. Let these tips guide you down the path of what not to do..

Don’t sabotage yourself–prep your home correctly. What’s been perfect for you might not be perfect for someone else. Your agent should advise you on the best way to position your home within the market you’re currently in. Correct prep work can mean fixing the little things you’ve learned to deal with or implementing some cost-effective landscaping tips to up that first impression appeal. Once you’ve made a few moves in the right direction, it just comes down to staging. If you want to hear the “Jeremy Hart Rule of 1/3s” for staging, hire me!

Don’t miss the market on price. It’s easy to do. Every real estate agent has missed the market and suffered the consequences. The market changes very, very fast. Just because your neighbor’s house down the street sold and yours is nicer doesn’t mean there’s necessarily a buyer for those quirks you’re trying to market as “charm”. Price for the market you’re in, not the market you want to be in.

Remember the professional photos. Do professional photos alone sell homes? No, but they’re one piece of the puzzle like good market position and a kept-up yard. Work with professionals who use professional photography on every listing, regardless the price point.

When you do all the rest right and do get an offer, keep an open mind. Chances are it will be lower than you expected but it’s a start. Try to negotiate with some empathy. You and the next buyer have different goals but it’s important to find some common ground. Fortunately, you both like the ground you’re trying to sell so start with that.

I’m happy to help if you’re getting ready to sell. Selling isn’t always easy but there’s ways to go about it correctly. Work with a professional, time it right, and do the work to get your house sold.

Landscaping Tips

It’s never a safe bet to assume warm weather is here to stay but it’s certainly time to start thinking about some simple and cost-effective landscaping ideas.

Good landscaping ticks several boxes. It should be low-maintenance, easy on the eyes, and hopefully help your home values when it’s the right time to sell. You always want to come home and live where you love.

Landscaping also should be cost-effective. A little investment in your lawn can create the curb appeal you need when you’re waiting for an offer. Here are my best tips for cost-effective landscaping:

Fresh mulch goes a long way. From tidying up garden beds to giving an inviting, earthy smell as you walk through the front door, good fresh mulch is a great way to add some appeal to any yard. If you need a little, your local hardware store should have what you need. If you’re looking for a truckload or more, a mulch-yard is a great place to buy in bulk!

You might have a green thumb but your potential buyers might not. Go easy on the high-maintenance perennials and garden beds. For many homes, there’s nothing wrong with grass. Keep it simple and when you’re ready for some color, opt for some beautiful annuals. Crow’s Nest in Price’s Fork is a great place to go to pick up some annuals that work well in our area.

Learn to love pressure washing. Stained concrete just looks dull and grey, and pressure-washing the grime away is a cheap and effective way of cleaning things up. Vinyl siding, brick, and decking can all use an annual pressure wash once the worst of the pollen is gone in late Spring or early Summer.

Finally, this isn’t a landscaping tip, but as you’re outside anyhow, it’s a good one to pay attention to. When I walk up to a listing with clients, as I’m fumbling with the lockbox, they’re looking around at the front of the house. Take a moment to look at your door threshold – does the door need to be changed out, or the frame scraped and painted? A semi-gloss exterior white paint and a couple of hours of work may be all you need to make the front pop.

An amazing yard doesn’t sell a home on its own but it goes a long way when a potential buyer sees the property for the first time. It doesn’t need to be perfectly manicured to send the right impression when someone comes to your door. Whether you’re looking to spruce up an investment property or add everyday appeal to your own home, these tips should get you moving in the right direction. If you aren’t the do-it-yourself type, don’t hesitate to reach out for some lawn care recommendations too!