The Most Common Regrets Of First-Time Home-Sellers, According To Zillow

Putting a house on the market for the first time can be daunting. Even in the midst of a seller's market, where the demand for a house outweighs the available supply, there's plenty of room for homeowners (or inexperienced real estate agents) to err, which can lead to regret after a transaction takes place. 

And, data appears to back up this observation. According to a poll coordinated by Zillow, about 84% of surveyed first-time home sellers harbored at least one regret following the sale of their house. These regrets are usually connected to the methods of real estate marketing or the ways in which homes are advertised to the public while listed on the market.

Sellers tend to reap the greatest benefit when they get the advertising right – taking into account market analytics, social media influence, and general storytelling abilities to craft house listings that appeal. On the other hand, improper timing or pricing can result in missed opportunities. If you're planning on selling your house in the near future, consider these common regrets from those doing it for the first time.

Underestimating properties

According to the Zillow survey, around 39% of sellers regretted pricing their properties too low. Overpricing properties is a common fear among sellers and agents alike, since listings with cheaper prices will generally garner more attention — especially in a market where housing demand overwhelms supply. To determine an appropriate price for a new listing, it is recommended to research the value of surrounding homes with similar build, features, and square footage.

Similarly, another 39% of surveyed home sellers regretted not taking online curb appeal seriously. In other words, these sellers believe their homes would have sold at a higher price had the online listing featured more desirable photos. Curb appeal is a classic principle in real estate and is considered crucial by experts. But a home can look very different in person from the way it's portrayed in an online image, so crafting a profile that accentuates a listing's best features is key to drawing public appeal. By choosing not to market a listed property digitally, a seller may miss out on a considerable number of interested buyers.

Missing the mark

It's common for homeowners to undergo a renovation project or two when preparing to sell a house. Doing so can improve the property's overall value. But, it seems some first-time home sellers missed the memo — more than 25% of the surveyed sellers said they regret refusing to invest in upgrades prior to putting their homes on the market. 

Some homeowners may shudder at the idea of putting additional money into a house they're preparing to leave, but research shows that with the right renovations, the returns can be worth it. Updates as simple as repainting a front door or upgrading household appliances can improve your house's value and attract more eyes to your property.

In addition, about 25% of sellers said the general timing of their sales lead to a less-than-ideal result. Time can greatly impact a listing's performance. Since market activity heavily depends upon external influences, like mortgage rates, real estate agents often see buyers dip in and out of interest throughout any given year. Homes are more likely to sell over the asking price if placed on the market during the warmer months of May, June, or July, whereas, homes listed during the holiday season usually don't perform as well.