62 Mistakes that Home Sellers can Make!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Fred Griffin Real Estate Florida Broker BK436788

    You have decided to sell your Tallahassee house.  Whether you list your house with a Real Estate Broker (advisable), or sell the house by yourself ("FSBO"), you must be careful not to make any of the common mistakes listed below. 

     Some of these mistakes can keep your property from being shown, or keep it from getting offers, or cause unnecessary expenses to you, or impair your chances of getting top dollar within a reasonable time.  Other mistakes can cause you legal problems, bring hard feelings between you and the Listing Broker, or even expose you to civil lawsuits or criminal charges (e.g., Discrimination). 


House for 50 Mistakes that Seller Make


62 Mistakes that Home Sellers can Make


1.  Asking Price is too high.

2.  Inexperienced Seller trying to sell their house By Owner, to save the commission.

3.  Not getting a professional whole house Pre-Inspection, and making necessary repairs and corrections, before putting the house on the market.

4.  Showing the house to financially unqualified buyers.

5.  Putting up Obstacles to Showing

        Guard Dog, Day Sleeper, 48 Hours Notice, No Weekend Showings, Active Alarm.

6.  No MLS electronic lockbox.

7.  Offering a Lower Commission to selling agents than other comparable Homes

8.  Poor Marketing 

     There is more to selling a house than putting it in the MLS and placing a sign in the yard.

9.  Thinking that classified advertisements or other print media will sell your house, when the vast majority of Buyers are searching for houses on the Internet.

          Exceptions include high-end and luxury houses that should be featured in Wall Street Journal or International Home Magazines.  


10.  Belief that an Open House will bring throngs of Buyers.


11.  Believing that home sales happen just like the scripted "Reality TV Shows" on HGTV and other television networks.

12.  No Internet Presence

13.  Bad Listing Photos in the MLS, on Zillow, and on Realtor.com 

14.  No Drone Photography or Video

   Not all listings will be enhanced by the use of drones or video.  Talk to your listing agent.

15.  No "For Sale" sign in the Yard        

16.  No Curb Appeal

17.  No Interior Appeal

18.  The house smells bad!

          Cooking odors, mildew, cigarette smoke, cat litter box.

19. Interior temperature is too cold or too hot

20. Curtains and window blinds are closed; the house is dark and gloomy

21. Dim lighting; the house appears dark and gloomy

22. Locked rooms

           An upstairs bedroom in a Tallahassee house has a hasp with a padlock on the door.       What is in there?  Why can't the Buyer see that room?


23.  Toilet seats are up

24.  Personal toiletries, toothbrushes, razors, are scattered on the bathroom counter top.

25.  Too much furniture in a small room




26.  Errors in the MLS listing (fault of the Listing Agent)

27.  Errors on Zillow and Realtor.com  (fault of the Listing Agent)

28.  Over-improved property

          A Tallahassee homeowner spent $100,000 on a pool, patio, and outdoor kitchen with a Mexican fireplace and a covered bar.  Houses in that neighborhood sell for $300,000.  The owner thought that he could recoup that $100K by listing the house for $400,000.  He will probably not get any offers, and the house will never appraise at that price!


29.  Not Cleaning the house to "Model Home" condition

30.  Not Staging the house to "Model Home" condition 


This room needs staging!


31.  Yard is overgrown

32.  Unpainted Front Door

33.  Cluttered counter tops


Clutter in the Kitchen for 50 Mistakes Blog


34. Distractions (Collections, Artwork, Photos, Sports Memorabilia).

35. Unrestrained Pets.




36.  Seller is in the house during Showings.

37.  TV or Stereo is  left on during Showings.

38.  Misleading or False Advertising

39.  Concealing Latent Defects

           Anything from painting "Kilz" over a water stain on the ceiling, to placing a throw rug over a damaged spot on the hardwood floor.


40.  Failure to Disclose latent defects or other relevant facts.

41.  Waiting for "The Market to Return" before selling.

42.  Not controlling your emotions; being sentimentally attached to the house.

43.  "Hard Selling" potential Buyers

44.  Begging the Buyer 

     A Tallahassee Seller greeted the potential Buyer at the door.  "My husband has already been transferred across the country; we just have to sell this house so that our family can be together again!"  That Buyer offered 75 cents on the dollar. The Seller grudgingly accepted the offer.





45.  Miscalculating your Net Gain (or loss) on the sale, after your loan payoff, closing costs, and other expenses are deducted.* 

46.   Miscalculating any Capital Gains Tax or other tax liability from the sale.*

      *See a Certified Public Accountant or other qualified professional for financial advice.


47.  Violating Fair Housing Laws by Discriminating against a Protected Class.




48.  Turning down a good offer, thinking that "a better offer will come along".

49.  Demanding unrealistic terms and conditions of the sale.

50.  Not following the advice of your Real Estate Broker!



      *The Following Section, numbers 51 through 62, is NOT intended to be legal advice.  These are mistakes that often occur because the Seller failed to get legal advice from an Attorney before signing legally binding documents. 

     See a Real Estate Attorney for legal advice.  Your attorney can review the local "standard real estate forms" with you.  Your lawyer can review the Listing Contract, and any Offer to Purchase that your receive.  


 Image courtesy of stslaw.com 


51.  Not reading the fine print on both sides of all pages of the Listing Contract.

52.  Not having an Attorney review the Listing Contract before you sign it.


53.  Not understanding that in Florida, the Agent works under a Broker.  Your contract is with the Broker, who you may never see.  If the listing agent changes companies, your listing may be assigned to another agent in that company.  

54.  If you change your mind and decide not to sell, your listing contract may have cancellation or early termination fees.  Those fees may be justified... just make certain that you understand how much you may be obligated to pay, and why.

55.  The Listing Contract may "lock you in" with that Broker for a long period of time.  It is common in Tallahassee for listing contracts to last six months.  What if you are not happy with their service?  Are you able to get out of that listing contract?  Ask your attorney.

56.  Not understanding the agency relationship, if any, that exists between you and agents who show your house to prospective buyers. 

57.  Not understanding the Brokerage Relationship between you and the listing Broker.

58.  Not having a Fiduciary Relationship with your listing agent (see an Attorney for legal advice, and for an explanation of Fiduciary relationships).



59.  Not using a Variable Commission, especially on an expensive or high-end property.

      Example of a variable commission:  My brother sold his house for $950,000.  He agreed to pay the listing broker 5% commission if another office was involved, but only 3% if the listing office sold it without the participation of another Broker.  The house was sold by the listing office, there was no cooperating broker.  By paying 3% instead of 5%, my brother saved $19,000 in commission.  


60.  Not insisting that your Listing be placed in the MLS, and on Zillow and Realtor.com, immediately (see #61).

61.  Letting the Listing Agent delay exposing your property to the Buying Public by using sales tactics like "Coming Soon" or "Pocket Listing".

62.  Not understanding that the word "Agreement" usually means "Contract"

    The "Listing Agreement" may be a legally binding contract.  You may be obligating yourself legally, financially, or otherwise when you sign that piece of paper.  Unless you are experienced in buying and selling real estate , please see an attorney for legal advice before you sign any document or paperwork.



    You have decided to sell your Tallahassee house.  Whether you list your house with a Tallahassee Real Estate Broker (advisable), or sell the house by yourself ("FSBO"), you must be careful not to make any of the common mistakes listed above. 


Posted by

Frederick Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker    







Tallahassee Florida Metropolitan Area    


Disclaimer:  Nothing in the above blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.


Comments (6)

Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Fred, what a very well thought out compendium of important concerns a seller should address when trying to sell or list one's home for sale.  We also like to strongly encourage our clients to have a whole house inspection by a top professional and encourage them to correct safety issues and defects.  We also admonish them to be careful what they say if they use social media.

Very impressive list Fred!  May you have a blessed New Year and all the business you care to handle in 2019!

Dec 28, 2018 04:29 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

 Thank you Bruce Walter  comment #1

   Pre-Inspection!   That is a great idea.  Let me tweak this post and add that to the list.  Thank you.

Dec 28, 2018 04:48 PM
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

That is a pretty good list and all so on point. Selling a home is not an easy task but with the help of a professional, most of these pitfalls can be easily avoided.

Dec 28, 2018 06:17 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

There are definitely a lot of things sellers can do to get in the way of a successful home sale. Obstacles to showings can definitely impact a sale - how can someone buy it if they can't see it?

Jan 05, 2019 05:12 AM
Mike Baltierra
Rise Realty - Eastvale, CA
Full Service at Your Service Realtor-Eastvale CA

And that's just from the top of your head. Great job on this long list that should be read by All potential sellers.

Jan 05, 2019 12:12 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence WOW you've jam packed this post with fantastic how to's for sellers. Hope you're enjoying your leave of absence.

Jan 05, 2019 01:54 PM