Home Selling

6 money-losing mistakes sellers make in a slowing market

The real estate market may have slowed down, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t sell your home for top dollar. Here are 6 mistakes home sellers often make and 6 tips on how to fix them

Numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show the market across the country is slowing from its red-hot pace of recent years. When this happens it can be more difficult to sell your home if you don’t take the right steps and it’s more common to see mistakes sellers make in a slow real estate market.

Here are the top six mistakes home sellers often make when markets start to slow and six easy fixes to ensure you still get top dollar for your home, even in a slower market.

Mistake 1: Setting the wrong price for your home

Houses for sale signs in slow housing market

If you want to sell your home in a slow market, you need to set the right price for it. If it’s over market value then it’s likely to be difficult to sell. This doesn’t mean that you should set a crazy low price for it either. Setting your price too low will also put up red flags for buyers that there may be something wrong with it.

What to do:

Before listing your home, get to know the market by visiting open homes in your area in your price range. Also, ask agents for data on recently sold homes. Once you have a good idea of the competition, with your agent’s help, you should be able to set the right price for your home.

Mistake 2: Selling your home if it needs repairs

Why would a buyer consider your home if it needs repairing when they can buy one in move-in condition? Make it easy for buyers by presenting your home in the best condition possible. If you don’t, it’s likely to slow the sale. If a buyer does concede to buy it in ‘as is’ condition, they’ll subtract the costs from their offered price.

What to do:

It’s worth spending the time and money before you put your home on the market to do any minor repairs or fix-ups.

Mistake 3: Selling with too many improvements

Next Luxury

There’s a fine line between minor repairs and major projects. While your home may sell for more if it has a master bedroom ensuite, it could cost you more than you will make on the sale. It may also push your home’s value over the average price of homes in your area.

What to do:

Stick to what needs fixing and don’t take on major projects before listing your home for sale. Talk to your agent about what things you can do to make your home appealing to buyers.

Mistake 4: Selling your home without a fresh coat of paint


You may love your electric green colour scheme, but it won’t appeal to the majority of buyers. Buyers searching online and visiting during open homes will be looking for a clean, bright neutral decor.

What to do:

Light, neutral colours are best but do your research. On-trend colours in certain rooms can also determine your home’s sale price.

Mistake 5: Selling without curb appeal

Flickr / Brian Snelson

A home that lacks curb appeal is likely to be overlooked by buyers as it won’t make a good first impression. If they notice a broken fence or a garden full of weeds, all they will really see is the hard work they will have to put in if they buy the house. Even if a home looks great on the inside, the overall impression of the home will be tainted if it lacks curb appeal.

What to do:

Evaluate the view of the house from the street with a critical eye. Note anything that needs sprucing up, especially: fences, the entrance path to the house, the front door, if it needs any more plants or shrubs, the mailbox and outdoor seating.

Mistake 6: Selling without a professional agent


It’s tempting to sell your home privately to save paying a Realtor commission, but self-sellers generally aren’t as successful as those who use a real estate agent, especially in a slow market. Agents offer you professional marketing plans, greater exposure to buyers and superior powers of negotiation to get you a great price.

What to do:

Use a good real estate agent to help your home sell quicker and avoid these common mistakes sellers make. Talk to several agents before you list with them, to make sure you’re on the same page and you’re ok with the fees they charge.

The real estate market will always fluctuate, but with these tips and tricks, you should be able to sell your home, even in a slow market.

Angela Pearse
Angela Pearse

Angela Pearse is a freelance writer who frequently travels but loves returning home to her Art Deco apartment. She’s also passionate about historical novels, Netflix, hiking and healthy living.