What Not to Do When Selling Your Home

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Criado Realty 0548772

I came across an article, "Top 10 Worst Home-Showing Offenses: by the National Association of REALTORS®.  I thought I'd share the article with a few "Solutions."

Share Your Favorite Home-Showings Story Below!  

1. Leftover home owners

By far, one of the top offenses cited by buyer’s agents was home owners still lingering around when agents arrived with clients to preview the home. Awkward encounters ranged from buyers finding sellers taking a shower, asleep in the bed, to even the “stalker sellers” who liked to follow buyers and the agent all over the home to see what they thought.

Solution 1:  I love leftovers but certainly not owners!  Prepare the Sellers for drive-ups; it does happen and they should be prepared to leave the home if even for a quick walk down the block.

2. Pets and their messes

Numerous agents also cited the not-so-friendly dog and kitty encounters as a top offense. Even pets left in a crate can pose a distraction since they might make noise the entire time others are in the house. Plus, if they seem mean, the buyer might not even step in the room.

Solution 1:  Kennel your dogs or cats and take them with you for a joy ride, or ask a neighbor to pet sit.

Solution 2:  If exotic, like a snake or ferret, consider removing all together, if even temporary during the listing period. They smell and offend in every way.

3. Bad smells

A displeasing smell can really turn buyers off. Common offenses include cooking smells lingering around the home, such as garlic, fried bacon, or fish. Also, watch for cigarette smoke and animal smells, agents say.

Solution 1:  Smoke is the most offensive smell; it gets in the walls, flooring, cabinets, draperies, & furniture. Consider using an air purifier guaranteed to remove the odors such as my Fresh Air Surround.

Solution 2:  Avoid cooking dinners with strong smells. Admittedly since I like ethnic foods I know how hard this may be. Consider eating more salads and sandwiches, which are usually healthier anyway.

4. Critters running wild

Wild animals and pests roaming around is a surefire way to send buyers running. Agents described worms crawling on the floor and bats and raccoons lounging in the attic.

Solution 1: If you suspect anything is in your attic, etcetera, you should call pest control. This could be a hazard to the home and may result in unexpected expenses. Better to discover it now than have FHA say no deal.

5. Odd home makeovers

Do-it-yourself disasters were also prevalent, like doors opening the wrong way or unprofessional paint jobs. Also, rooms not being used for their intended purposes can confuse buyers, such as an office being used as a bedroom even though it has no closet, says broker Elaine Byrne with Elaine Byrne Realty in Austin, Texas.

Solution 1: I can't say enough about this. Your creativity, self-expression, or budget cutting ideas WILL turn a buyer off. While it might be a quick fix, many buyers have no time or money to spend and will just walk away from the house. Think of it like this, would you buy a purple car with yellow dots that you painted yourself?

6. Dirt and clutter

There were a number of offenses cited when it came to cleanliness: Dirty laundry piles, unflushed toilets, dishes on the counter or in the sink, unmade beds, clothes scattered about, soiled carpets, dirty air conditioner filters, and overflowing trash cans.

Solution 1: I blogged this recently so I'll just give you the link:  Improve Your Home Value By Living Cleaner

7. Personal information left in plain sight

Sellers should be careful not to leave in plain sight important documents that may pique buyers’ curiosity. Some agents say they’ve seen personal information like bank and credit card statements—even mortgage payoff notices—left on the kitchen counter.

Solution 1: I just experienced this the other day. I had a buyer point out an IRS letter and commented, "I guess he's going to sell cheap to get rid of the house."  I highly recommend to protect your finances, your assets, and your privacy that you get organized with non-see-through boxes and store mail, receipts, medicines, etc.

8. Too dark

Dark or dimly lit houses aren’t showing the home in the best light.

Solution 1: Remember, if they can't see it they won't buy it. Consider adding ceiling fans since it will save money on utility bills for the buyer, you can mark it as a green feature, and it will make your home more attractive overall.

9. Keys missing from lock boxes

All too often, agents arrive at a listing appointment with their client only to find there’s no key to get in.

Solution 1: Make sure your Realtor has a second set of keys so they can run out and meet the Buyer's agent and/or duplicate and re-supply the lock box. That's what I do!

10. Distracting photos

Watch the photos displayed on the walls too, agents warn. Tara Hayes, ABR, e-PRO, with Rector-Hayden, REALTORS®, in Winchester, Ky., recalls showing a family a home that had life-sized, nude photos hanging, which left her clients racing for the door covering their eyes.

Solution 1: I don't know where to even begin with this one, it's shocking. Remember, everyone has different values. This also applies to religious motifs, holiday decor (Halloween), Universities, and sports. In Texas there is a A&M and UT rivalry. I always tell my sellers, its about selling your house not making a political, religious, or sports point.

Share Your Favorite Home-Showings Story Below!

Posted by
Cathy Criado President & Founder
Published Author
Your Real Estate Consultant!
999 E Basse Rd. #180-425, ​San Antonio, TX  78209​
​Direct:  (210) 560-1891
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Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

Left over home owners are a no-go. No, I don't need an owner-guided tour of your three bedroom ranch.


Nov 06, 2012 11:58 PM #1
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

Doug, I thought "Left Over Homeowners" was just plain funny!  (the term)

Nov 07, 2012 12:12 AM #2
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

I just finished up a showing where the home owners were"left overs" no sign of teh listing agent just the seller who was over eager and would not stop wrecking the showing to his own home.

Nov 07, 2012 01:07 AM #3
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Cathy, excellent solutons to some very common problems!

Nov 07, 2012 02:55 AM #4
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

LOL great list, Cathy! Left-owner homeowners is a great one!

Nov 07, 2012 04:45 AM #5
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Common sense and entertaining, Cathy. It's no accident that your comments are in green.

Nov 07, 2012 11:03 AM #6
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Cathy, Those are great top 10 offenses.  I like your solutions. The only thing I would add to the keys missing from the lockbox would be to hunt down and hog-tie the agent who did not return the keys! (LOL)

Nov 08, 2012 02:57 AM #7
Andrew Capelli
Hoover Elementary - Hazel Park, MI

Cathy: Those are great tips!  Another one I've read about is not just de-cluttering, but being especially conscious about books.  Books with particular religious or political titles or books that could be generally offensive should be packed up to keep everything neutral for as many buyers as possible.  Thanks for sharing!  :)

Nov 09, 2012 02:11 AM #8
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Great tips, Cathy, and you would think they are common sense, but obviously that is not the case.   I'm amazed at how often I see more than one of these in a property.  It makes me wonder how serious the sellers are about selling. 

Nov 11, 2012 01:33 AM #9
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Cathy I think I saw more than half of these today. What a rough day.... Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Nov 21, 2012 08:54 AM #10
Michele Cadogan 917-861-9166
Fillmore Real Estate 2990 Av U, Bklyn , NY 11229 - Brooklyn, NY
Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker -

Great ideas to create a  booklet and include these in a sellers package; would make showings so much easier and may  lead to quicker sales in some cases. 

Nov 29, 2012 08:55 AM #11
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Cathy Criado

Making Real Estate Profitable
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