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Top 10 Most Costly Mistakes When Selling a House in Los Angeles

  • Ken Sisson
  • 01/4/23

If you are selling your house in Los Angeles, you must read this article. You must read this article because I will tell you how to avoid costly mistakes when you sell your house in Los Angeles. I have over 20 years' experience in real estate. I have made many mistakes as an investor, flipper, and homeowner. Don’t make the same ones I have!

Sell Your House in Los Angeles CA

Selling a house is a huge undertaking no matter where you live, but for those doing so in a metropolitan area like Los Angeles, it can be even more difficult. Luckily, if you can avoid a few common house-selling mistakes, you can get the job done more seamlessly.

Some of the biggest mistakes that Los Angeles sellers make include pricing their homes too high, doing the job DIY, and keeping a bad real estate agent, among others.  

To learn how to avoid these all-too-common selling mistakes, keep reading. We’re breaking down the top 10 costly errors that can make or break your house selling experience in America’s Finest City

Mistake 1: Pricing Too High

Based on 2022 S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index data, home prices in 20 major U.S. cities (including Los Angeles) dropped over 10% in a 12-month period. Additionally, the mortgage rates are rising. The market is changing.

But in Los Angeles specifically, the home prices still seem to be increasing. However, don’t be fooled by this startling fluctuation; you don’t want to make the mistake of overpricing your Los Angeles home. 

Doing so could run you the risk of reaching fewer potential buyers. Furthermore, pricing your home high only to lower the price later could cause your listing to go stale on the market.

The intricacies of the Los Angeles housing market is one reason why working with a real estate agent with sound local knowledge could be the ultimate advice. There is plenty of research showing a realtor can:

  • Set the right price.
  • Help you negotiate when you receive offers.
  • Lead to more cash in your pocket.

“If you work with a real estate professional, that has boots on the ground in California, you know they will understand the local housing market conditions, which can help you sell your house fast and for the best price” said Alex C, who recently crafted an up to date guide about selling a house fast in the quickly changing housing market of Southern California which you can read if you click here.


Mistake 2: Not Including Closing Costs

In some cases, sellers have the option of whether they want to contribute to the buyers’ closing costs during a sale. Although it can be tempting to try and get the biggest possible profit when selling your house, you don’t want to make the mistake of assuming that your buyers can afford the closing costs. 

By including at least some of the house closing costs in the contractual agreement with your buyers, you are increasing the likelihood of a smoother and faster closing process. 

Furthermore, by including some closing costs, it’s possible that your buyers will be able to place a higher offer on your home. This pays off in the end.


Mistake 3: Selling by Yourself

It’s tempting to sell your house by yourself. This is known as For Sale by Owner – AKA FSBO. One issue I see often with FSBO is sellers fixing stuff that doesn’t increase the value of the house.

Taking on the sale on your own may seem exciting, but when it comes to selling your Los Angeles home, you might want to think twice. There are a few reasons that this is a vital mistake:

  1. Buyers may take advantage of you and lowball their offers when they see the “FSBO” label on your listing
  2. Your potential buyers’ real estate agents may not take you seriously and gain the upper hand in negotiation
  3. Without a licensed agent, you opt out of the crucial marketing tool in home selling - the MLS.

“I get many calls from owners who thought they could sell their house without an agent thinking they would get better offers and walk away with more cash” said Shaun Martin, a cash home buyer out of Denver, CO and you can learn more about Shaun, as a real estate investor, at https://webuyhousesindenver.org/cash-home-buyer-denver-co/

“The seller's issue is compounded because the typical situation is they wanted to save on the commissions, plus they were in a hurry to sell. But selling a house on your own compared to working with an agent normally ends up with the sale taking longer and the homeowner ending up with less cash. For these reasons working with a reputable realtor based in your market can often be the best choice for a successful sale.”

Mistake 4: Forgetting to Clean

This might be the last thing on your mind when you’re moving and trying to sell your home ASAP. But a clean house makes a big difference when it comes to marketing tools like listing photographs and videos, as well as the impression you make on viewers.

Cleaning baseboards, floors, bathrooms, and even exterior aspects of your home such as pressure-washing the concrete can greatly improve the surface appearance. 

It may even cause your house to appear newer and more livable in the eyes of potential buyers. And as an added bonus, it will make your house smell better, which is something people definitely notice when touring homes.

Mistake 5: Not Staging

Choosing to not stage your home when you put it on the market is a big mistake in a competitive city like Los Angeles. 

Staging is important because it helps potential buyers to imagine themselves actually living in the home. Staging also improves your marketing photos, video tours, and other materials that will reach buyers. 

And of course, the proper staging process - while a moderate investment for the seller - is going to increase how much people feel your home is worth. According to Realtor, it costs around $2,200 per month to stage a 2,000 square foot home. 

Mistake 6: Using Bad Listing Photos

Of course, it’s not enough to merely stage and clean your home when you list it. You also can’t forget to acquire high-quality listing photos. Over the past couple of years, online home buying has increased. This makes listing photos on sites like Realtor and Zillow crucial in attracting buyers.  

In fact, some buyers don’t even visit a home in-person before they put in an offer, as they’re moving long-distance and can’t manage it. 

This is why you need to drop a small investment for professional, naturally lit photos that highlight the best features of your house. 

Mistake 7: Hiring Realtor Without Local Knowledge

Los Angeles has a tough real estate market, and without a local agent, you could be digging yourself a hole. 

It’s absolutely essential that your selling realtor is aware of the local market in your neighborhood, whether you’re selling in Clairemont, Balboa Park, or even North Park. 

Local realtors know how to attract the right buyers, negotiate with buyer agents, and prepare your home for current market needs in your area. 

And of course, it only helps that they are typically connected in the real estate industry of Los Angeles. 

Mistake 8: Not Letting Realtor Manage Showings

You may believe that your home can speak for itself, but potential buyers have so many questions when they come to showings. And a lot of these questions are best answered by a licensed agent. 

You should allow your realtor to manage your showings so that they can provide the most accurate and helpful information to possible buyers. 

Having them at showings is like extra marketing and can even increase the amount of feedback and communication with potential buyers. 

Lastly, avoiding this mistake will likely save you a lot of time in the selling process. 

Mistake 9: Keep Your Agent Honest - Follow Up with Agent - Staying on Top of Them

Although your real estate agent will take a lot of stress out of your hands, there are certain seller responsibilities you can’t neglect. It’s just as important to pick a good agent as it is to routinely follow-up with them. 

Make sure that they are providing you with frequent updates on showings, marketing tools, and potential offers. You have to stay on top of them sometimes, as they likely have other houses to show and may be expecting you to have the important questions ready to ask. 

Mistake 10: Not Getting Rid of a Bad Agent

Last but certainly not least, if you have a bad real estate agent, don’t just stick it out hoping things will get better. If you want to sell your house, you need to do it correctly, and that sometimes means assessing your agent and looking for a new one. 

A bad agent will fail to prioritize your house, communicate poorly, and lack essential knowledge about your area. 

It will save you a lot of stress, time, and money to find someone new than it will to let your house sit stale on the market with a bad agent.


If you want to sell your house in Los Angeles you should talk to at least one trusted local real estate agent that has a proven record of successfully selling houses in current market conditions. This could be the easiest way to avoid all costly mistakes.

That said, when selling a house in the Los Angeles area, there are some common mistakes you want to be aware of and avoid at all costs. 

From hiring a non-local realtor to choosing not to stage or clean your home, these are the 10 mistakes you don’t want to make when selling your house. 

Be sure to refer back to our guide to help make your home-selling process as smooth and safe as possible. 










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"My goal is always to have every client that I assist be so incredibly satisfied with the results of the service that I provide for them that they can't help but refer everyone that they know so that I can do the same for them."