5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a House in a Hot Real Estate Market

The Canadian real estate market is hot right now. I’m sure this isn’t news to you, right? With all the media coverage it’s getting along with the new government rules, I bet you already knew that. Since it’s getting harder for would-be first-time home owners to find a home of their dreams at a price they can afford, you might think that a hot market favours the seller. While it’s true that home sellers are having an easier time than buyers right now, it’s not always smooth sailing for them, either.

Just like a buyer needs to be vigilant when searching for the right home, sellers need to keep their eyes and ears open to avoid potential problems. Some of those crucial mistakes can cost you both time and money. When we’re talking about real estate, those mistakes could add up to thousands or even tens of thousands of lost dollars!

Unfortunately, I learned a few lessons the hard way. I sold my house in a hot market a few years ago. It was challenging, and mistakes were definitely made. Ready to learn from my mistakes and to make sure that you make the best sale possible in this market?

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home in a Hot Market

Planning to sell your home? Check out these five mistakes to avoid when you're selling a house in a hot real estate market!


Not knowing where you will live after the sale

Sounds obvious, right? In a hot market, sellers think they can get a good deal for their house, but they forget that it is also expensive to buy a new one. So if you want to sell your house to upsize, make sure that you do some research. Figure out where you want to live, the kind of house you want and the price of your new home. This is what we did when we sold our house to get a larger one. It helped us to determine our minimum selling price, timing, and so on.

So be sure to do your homework. Unless you want to tour the world and take a sabbatical or you want to live at the in laws, you need a new place to live. And you need to figure that out before selling and closing on your house!

Not hiring a real-estate professional

Some people may think that in a hot market, you will sell your house fast enough on your own, so you don’t need a real-estate professional. This is actually when you need them the most. A professional will help you determine how much you can sell the house for, based on their experience.  You don’t want to under-evaluate your home, nor over-price it. When my husband and I wanted to sell, we did not know how much our house was worth. We looked at listings but we could not come up with the right price. We had one in our head but we were not sure it was the right one. The real-estate professional helped us with this process.

The professional will also deal with potential buyers for you. In a hot market, chances are you will get more calls for inquiries than when the market is calmer. Between work, family duties and extracurricular activities, my husband and I did not have the time to field those calls. Our real-estate professional helped us in this process. He kept track of all of the interested buyers, and he even had a key to our house to allow visits when we were not home. Seriously, I did not want to see strangers at 9 pm when I was crawling to bed!

Some professionals even include home staging in their service. When we decided to sell our house, my daughter was a baby. Let me tell you, that house was not very tidy. Between diapers, toys, crib, strollers, the house was kind of a disaster. I did not have the time nor the patience to stage it for a potential buyer. I barely had the time to shower! The professional came to the rescue with his home staging team. They gave us easy to do ideas and even helped us in doing so.

Not reading the fine print when you sign your contract with the agent

I know, I know. Who has time to read fine print, right? Still, you need to read every single word written on this contract (or any contract). You want to know the terms, commission, the when, and the what. Every single detail! Trust me. This is not the time to skim for highlights.

Not having a window of flexibility

Chances are, your buyer has a very specific timeframe in mind for moving into your house. It could be right away, it could be six months from now.

In our case, the buyer wanted to move in within 3 months but we made the mistake of making an offer on the house of our dreams before the closing date. We had to carry a mortgage for 2 houses for 3 months. Ouch!! We had a buffer and we made a good deal on the sale so we could afford it, but not everyone is in that position.

My point is: Know your tolerance of risk and window of flexibility. If your buyer wants to move in within days, are you prepared?  Are you willing to stay at the in laws for a while because the sale was too good to pass up? Are you willing to rent until your own upsized house is ready? Think about it.

Being over emotional

The process of buying and selling a house is definitely an emotional one. As a seller, it’s hard to let go of a house where you might have grown up, raised your young children or otherwise made great memories. Sometimes, we have bad memories of a house and just want to get rid of it. In either case, emotions can interfere with good choices.

For example, you might feel insulted if someone offers you slightly less than the listing price. How can they not see the value of your beautiful home? Or maybe you want to get out of the house quickly, so you let your emotions lead you into accepting far less than the house is worth.

While it’s hard to separate our emotions and not let them interfere with the selling process, it’s important to at least try to keep them at bay. This is where a real-estate professional really comes in handy. Your real estate professional has no emotional ties to your home, so they can give you unbiased, professional opinions and advice. You definitely want your real estate professional with you when you’re signing documents!

Want more real estate tips and information about the benefits of hiring a real estate professional? Visit the RECO website. They have tons of information and tips that can help you make the right decision.

Don’t forget to visit RECO for more amazing real estate tips and mistakes to avoid.


Disclaimer: This post has been generously sponsored by the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the opinions and language are my own.



50 thoughts on “5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a House in a Hot Real Estate Market”

  1. CourtneyLynne Storms

    So many things to think about!!! I had a first list her house and it sold in like 2 days! She was definitely not prepared for that!

  2. Long time Apartment Dweller here, but I will definitely keep these tips in mind for future reference.

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

  3. These sounds like great tips. Our neighborhood is hot right now, and I’d love to sell and get all that equity, but I’m a bit scared.

  4. We sold our house recently and it was a pain in the rear. The way they price the homes based on comps instead of percentages, it isn’t a free market. I get why it is based on comps but at the same time, a bad comp can totally screw things up. This was the case when we sold our home.

  5. I haven’t tried to sell a house yet but I’ll save these tips for when that time does come. I can only imagine all of the things that go into selling a house.

  6. These are really key points to think about when selling a home! Definitely a good read for those interested in doing so.

  7. Not hiring an agent can really get you in a pickle with contracts and not getting everything you want. I highly recommend it. My sister is an agent and she works hard to get the best deal for her clients.

  8. There really can be an emotional aspect to home buying and selling. Especially selling, I think, i fyou have a lot of good memories built up there.

  9. You really need to do your homework when you are going through this process! These are great tips and I’m going to share them with my sister who is going through the process right now!

  10. As someone who is turning their MBA towards the Real Estate world after growing up in it, I can appreciate the list you have here. Michigan went through a huge economic downturn and the housing market suffered a few years ago. We’ve had quite a few businesses come in so the housing market is back on the up swing in much of the state.

  11. I would definitely get a reliable real estate agent to help me through the selling process. It seems very stressful, but these do sound like great tips to help navigate the process a little bit.

  12. Very important things to know. I have seen several friends really get into a mess with the buying and selling process when they didn’t take one of your suggested steps into consideration.

  13. Real estate can be a tad tricky when you don’t prepare for it. It’s important that you have a plan before you sell your home otherwise it’s going to be a total disaster.

  14. A good friend of mine just bought a new home and oh my, I was trying to console her almost everyday until she got adjusted to the new one. She was so emotionally attached to their first home that she found it very difficult to let go. Thankfully, she’s fine now and the kids are settled in their new school. I wish I read this before they bought a new home, I could’ve shared this with her.

  15. These are some great tips. I just bought my own home a couple of months ago. It’s so important to be careful when buying or selling a home.

  16. We just finished the process of buying and selling a house. I hope it is a few years before I have to do it again. These are great tips.

  17. Thanks for sharing to us this information – I didn’t know much about selling and and do’s and don’ts on it on a general level.. but I do believe hiring a pro on this is so important – being flexible all the same, too.

  18. We are going thru this right now. It has been a stressful experience for me personally. I suggest having all of the small maintenance done before you list. Such as regrouting, painting, flooring, fix dripping faucets, clean hair from the drains.

  19. I sold my house in the opposite market. I ended up selling it for half of what i paid for it just to get out of the area that became the ghetto over the years I lived there. These are great tips!

  20. These are great tips, Olfa! My hubby is a real estate attorney and I can’t tell you how many people call my husband AFTER they sign a real estate contract. It surprises me because it is always a doctor or highly educated individual that does it! lol
    Great post!

  21. Buying and selling a house is such a rollercoaster experience! Thanks for the tips. We bought our house when the market was really high and competitive, and it was very stressful!

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