The Top 17 Mistakes Sellers Make
In my 25+ years selling real estate, I’ve seen almost everything! My best advice to people selling their home is to hire a great Realtor and follow their advice. When I counsel my own clients, I aim to help them avoid the following common mistakes sellers make. With some hard work, investment, and preparation, your home will sell quickly and for top dollar. So read on for my list of the top mistakes sellers make – and make sure they don’t happen to you!
- Keeping bright paint colors on the walls. Brightly colored walls are distracting in photos. Before listing your home, paint all of your walls neutral colors. Our favorites are Alaskan Skies, China White, Revere Pewter, and Paper White, all by Benjamin Moore.
- Having old — or too much — wallpaper. If your home has wallpaper, it must be current (less than seven years old). If your wallpaper is current, limit it to one wall or one room. Remove the rest.
- Displaying personal photos. Pictures of your family (no matter how cute!) make a potential buyer feel your presence too much. They are shopping for their home, not yours. Pack ‘em up! Furthermore, your photos will be viewed by thousands of people online.
- Trying to clean your home yourself. Your home should be the most spic and span it has ever been. Now is the time to spring for a professional deep cleaning.
- Forgetting about the windows. Clean your windows until they sparkle. Pay for a professional cleaning – it’s worth it. Remove, label, and store all window screens.
- Keeping the clutter. Remove any and all knickknacks, collections, etc. Do not display more than three items on any surface. The items you display should be attractive – not necessarily functional!
- Allowing neighbors to “help” at showings. Helpful (or nosy) neighbors may show up at showings or open houses trying to see your home or check out potential neighbors. Discourage them from doing so – they may say or do something that turns off a potential buyer.
- Trying to make the home smell good. Aim to be completely scent-free. Do not use any scented candles, air fresheners, strong cleaning items, etc. As your home goes on the market, avoid cooking any pungent meals and ensure all pet odors are gone.
- Forgetting about the outside. Curb appeal is critical! The front door should be welcoming with fresh paint, new doorknobs, locks and mail slots, and a welcome mat. Sweep the front walk, shovel any snow, and keep patio and decks clean. Remove any grill and furniture covers. To make sure the outside of your house looks great, read here for more ideas.
- Letting the landscaping go. Trim all trees and bushes. Lay a fresh layer of mulch. Mow the lawn. Add flowers in season.
- Not staging your home. Staging is proven to result in a faster sale and multiple offers.
- Not prepping for photos. Listing photos are essential. Your home should look EVEN BETTER than it would for an open house. The online photos posted are what the buyer will remember and make the first impression on potential buyers.
- Keeping key information to yourself. Provide your agent with any important details to help her sell your home. Share a list of updates and ages of systems and utility costs. Tell her what you love about your neighborhood.
- Being negative about your home. Neighbors and potential buyers will ask why you’re moving. Be positive to anyone who asks, putting a positive spin on why you’re leaving.
- Limiting showing times. Allow all showings when an agent or a buyer asks to see your home (within reason). Limiting showing times could cost a sale – we’ve seen it happen.
- Leaving the pets at home during showings. Take the pets for a walk or to a pet sitter. If you have pets in a cage, see if a neighbor or family member will take them while your home is on the market.
- Staying for showings. You never know what you might say that turns off a buyer. Leave your home at least ten minutes before all scheduled showings.
The Bottom Line
Selling a home is no easy task but if you avoid these top mistakes sellers make, it will be a much smoother process. If we can help you start the process of selling (or buying) a home, please reach out today. We’d be happy to help!
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