Eighty-four percent of recent first-time homesellers over the past two years believe they could have sold their homes for a higher price if they had made better decisions.

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A large majority of Americans who sold their homes for the first time over the past two years have regrets about how the sale turned out, according to a new survey.

The survey, released Wednesday by Zillow and conducted through the Harris Poll, found that nearly 9 in 10, or 84 percent, of recent first-time homesellers believe they could have sold their homes for a higher price if they had made better decisions.

The most common regret for first-time homebuyers at 39 percent was not setting a higher list price, according to Zillow. That data point is mostly representative of sellers who sold during the red-hot COVID-19 pandemic market that was marked by low-interest rates and low inventory, the report notes. Pricing a home too high in the current environment can lead to it sitting on the market for a longer period of time.

This spring’s sellers are more likely to regret pricing their homes too high,” Zillow senior economist Nicole Bachaud said in a statement. “The price their neighbor commanded a year ago may no longer be realistic. They need to adjust their expectations if they want to avoid having their home linger on the market. It’s more important than ever for sellers to rely on the advice of a great local agent who understands their neighborhood and has a winning pricing strategy.”

The second-most common regret for sellers was ignoring their home’s online curb appeal, with 39 percent believing better listing photos could have helped them fetch a better price and 25 percent believing a virtual tour could have aided their bottom line.

Listings that include a virtual tour or interactive floor plan get 69 percent more page views and 80 percent more saves online, according to Zillow.

Bad timing was another common regret, according to the report, with 25 percent of respondents saying they wished they had listed their homes at another time. Homeowner convenience is the most important factor, but past research from Zillow has shown that the second half of April is the most optimal time for listing a home to fetch the best price.

Timing the sale of one’s home with the purchase of a new one was found to be one of the biggest stressors for homesellers, with 36 percent of sellers saying they wish they’d known how long it would have taken for their homes to sell. Thirty-seven percent of sellers said their top priority was selling their homes on their own timeline with a flexible closing date — larger than the portion (25 percent) of sellers who said getting the highest price was their top priority.

One-quarter of sellers said they wish they had put more work into repairing their homes to attract better offers — something even more important this spring as sellers greet a smaller pool of buyers, the report reads.

“The right projects can pay off,” said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert. “Sellers need to think strategically about their return on investment before diving into repairs and renovations. Landscaping, interior painting and carpet cleaning are the most commonly completed seller projects for good reason. They boost online curb appeal and send a powerful signal to a buyer that a home is well-maintained.”

Email Ben Verde

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