Mistakes That Keep Your Home From Selling

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

 

The Most Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Trying to Sell Their Home

What are the top mistakes that keep your home from selling? Most homeowners assume selling a home is not a big deal. Selling your home is more than a big deal - it is an art form. If you can avoid making the most common home selling mistakes, your property will sell quickly and at the best possible price. But, how do you do achieve that?

Do you have a pen and paper ready? In that case, it is time to create a checklist so you can avoid these blunders. When you have ticked them all of, you'll be ready to list your home with a skilled real estate agent.

Overpricing

Any article written about mistakes that will keep your home from selling will bring up pricing. If you overprice your house, it's not going to sell. It's really that simple. One of the most common errors among home sellers is thinking that a higher list price translates to a higher sale price. Sorry but that's not the case when the price is WRONG!

If you are working with a real estate agent, you trust then listen to them!

Your Real Estate Agent

There is a reason I mentioned "skilled" real estate agent above. Getting a real estate license is effortless. You don't need much of an education to be a real estate agent, and frankly, that's a shame. Real Estate agents deal with most peoples most significant asset.

Be forewarned; you don't want to jump in with both feet first. Check out your agent and make sure that he or she is the right one for you. Only list your property with an agent when you are confident they are going to do an excellent job.

What this means is you need to conduct a serious vetting process. Picking a real estate agent to sell your home takes time and effort. Look at this as a business transaction and try to avoid getting emotional. Choosing a particular real estate agent because you love the price they gave you is a significant mistake.

The process of selecting a real estate agent should have very little to do with the price. Of course, you don't want to list with someone undervaluing your home but that rarely ever happens. Smart home sellers never make the mistake of meeting with one real estate agent. You should plan on interviewing at least three real estate agents.

Thinking an Open House is a Priority

One of the biggest misnomers among sellers is that an open house is a critical marketing activity. Who can blame them? Tons of real estate agents fool sellers into believing this archaic marketing activity is necessary.

Why? Prospecting! Open houses can be an excellent opportunity for a real estate agent to prospect for future business. Are open houses necessary to sell a home? Absolutely not! Any real buyer will schedule a showing for a home they are interested in viewing. The internet changed the usefulness of open houses.

Years ago buyers didn't have all the homes available to purchase at their fingertips. Now they do. If you are selling your home, there is one significant reason not to have an open house - THEFT! A large percentage of real estate agents never bother to mention to their clients what a security risk open houses can be.

If you are going to allow your real estate agent to host one of these events, make sure you take precautions to keep your house safe. Frankly, you would be better off skipping the open houses.

Is Your Home in Good Order?

Before you open the door to a potential buyer, go through your home from top to bottom. Any little issues are easy to sort out but do look out for significant problems. What would be considered significant issues? You can start with things that are likely to be home inspection deal breakers. Remember the buyer will be hiring a professional to scope out your place before they commit to moving forward.

Is the skylight in the kitchen leaking? Are their rotted window sills? Are the bricks on your chimney crumbling? Did you notice there is some mold in your basement? Not fixing these kind of items would be a significant mistake. Many buyers would consider these problems more than just common maintenance issues. Learn how to think like a buyer.

Take your time and fix any items that stand out like a sore thumb. Trust me your home will be penalized for not having these problems corrected. It will be worth the money remedying any significant issues.

Two Big No-No's

Are there any points in your house which are major no-no's? The areas most buyers are most critical of are usually the kitchen and bathrooms. You may think that carpets in the bathroom are a great idea, but for most buyers, carpets in damp areas are a real turn off. Replace them with tiles or even wood floor that are specifically manufactured for bathrooms.

What about big stains? Big stains will put off a buyer. They will think that that there is an underlying issue that will need to get fixed right away. That is not the impression you want to give, so make sure you remove any big stains. Quite often there are stains from shower curtains being left open in an upstairs bathroom that stains the kitchen ceiling. Get that fixed!

Crayon marks are another thing you want to deal with before you list your home. Your kids loved to draw on their walls but the buyer surely won't. Pay attention to scuff marks in high traffic areas like your staircase and hallways. Get these areas touched up.

Pet Smells and Presence

You may think that your dog smells "homely," but that is not what a buyer is going to feel. Give Fido a beauty treatment, brush his teeth and make sure that he is on his best behavior when a buyer comes around. Keep his sleeping area clean and don't let him run around with squeaky toys. Noisy and barking dogs can also be seen as irritating. You don't want anything to get in the way of the sales process.

Do a Little Bit of  Exterior Sprucing/Gardening

For many wanting to sell a home, the actual home selling process starts months before you list your home with an agent. The outside of your house is just as important as the inside. A beautiful looking lawn will set your home apart from others, and you should do what you can to make your garden look great. Real Estate agents affectionately call this curb appeal tips to sell a home. Make the outside of your house a priority just like the inside.

Plant some fresh flowers and fill up your planters. Color can really help to sell a home, and so can a well-maintained garden. Should you turf the garden the week before you list the house? Not a good idea - it will only look fake.

Clean Up the Kitchen

Most real estate agents will emphasize that the kitchen is the most important room in your home. Making sure it looks fantastic is vital! What is that on the kitchen counter? If you tend to leave the remnants of last night's take out on the kitchen counter, you need to change your attitude. Your kitchen and bathrooms should be spotless at all times. Take out the trash, do the dishes, and stack the plates in the cabinets. Will a buyer look in the cupboards? More than likely and they expect to see order and space.

Don't leave towels laying around in the bathrooms. It looks sloppy, and it will smell. Once again, it is about creating an image of tidiness and allowing the buyer to see himself in your space. Think about your home as a perfect tidy movie set.

Are All Buyers Good Buyers?

No, buyers are not perfect people, and you need to appreciate that. Some of them will even be rude and arrogant. Take it in your stride and ignore them. At the same time, if someone wants to negotiate or point out something which they may have an issue with when it comes to your home - Listen to them. You don't want to lose a sale because of a silly point or a couple of hundred bucks.

Good Taste

Color coordination is important. You probably love your orange comforter and your bright pink walls, but will a buyer? More than likely they will not, and you should try to remove all "offensive" decorating schemes which scream lousy taste. Neutral is best and will make your home look both spacious and clean. Do you have wallpaper in much of your home?

A room or two with wallpaper won't be a big deal. Having a home full of wallpaper is another story. It severely dates your home. Wallpaper is highly personalized. It is doubtful a buyer will fall in love with it. Most savvy real estate agents will recommend you remove your wallpaper.

Avoiding selling mistakes is easier than you think. A good agent will be able to give you the best selling advice. Remember that they are professionals and you should always follow their advice.

Final Thoughts

Nobody sets out to make mistakes when they are selling a home. It just happens. A large percentage of homeowners think they know more than they really do. There are hundreds of articles providing tips on selling real estate.

Some sellers are smart enough to research before putting the for sale sign in the front lawn. I am going to leave you with some things you should never do when selling your house. These are nine mistakes that sellers make far too often when putting their home on the market. Don't be one of these guys!

You can never be too educated when selling a home. If your real estate agent has been selling for a while, they can be a great asset in the educational process. Hopefully, you have chosen someone worth their salt. Best of luck!

Other Valuable Active Rain Real Estate Articles Worth a Look

Use these additional articles to make the best decisions when you are going to be buying or selling a home.

 

Posted by

Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.

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Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Todaro 04/09/2019 04:45 AM
  2. Elaine VonCannon 04/09/2019 05:38 AM
  3. Kim Johnson 04/10/2019 03:51 PM
  4. Ginger Harper 04/11/2019 12:43 PM
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
470,519
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Great information Bill Gassett ... every serious Seller can gain the necessary knowledge for a successful sale.  So much more than just Putting up a FOR SALE Sign.

Apr 09, 2019 05:55 PM #11
Ambassador
4,015,516
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hey Bill:

Congrats on the feature. There are so many ways sellers can goof up when selling and I think you've covered them all, with some helpful To Do's and some Don'ts. Selling a home is not easy but some make it impossible with the things they do, or don't do.

Jeff

Apr 09, 2019 06:06 PM #12
Rainmaker
323,713
Barbara Flannery
USA Realty,Inc. - London, KY
"Homes for Everyone In London Kentucky"

Great information and all so true Thanks for sharing !
Have a Great Real Estste Week
Barbara

Apr 09, 2019 06:09 PM #13
Rainmaker
82,616
Karen Simms
Century 21 Arizona Foothills - Queen Creek, AZ
Horse Property Specialist

Excellent post. Thanks for sharing.

Apr 09, 2019 06:21 PM #14
Rainmaker
2,772,995
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I would think people would know not to have a litter boxes all over the place, but life is funny that way.

Apr 09, 2019 11:39 PM #15
Rainer
6,328
Daniel Sapato
Rich Real Estate - Frankfort, IL

Great points for Sellers here Bill Gassett. Starting too high on ask price can lead to a lower sale price if the home ends up on the market for an extended period of time.

Apr 10, 2019 01:20 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,448,043
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I went into a home one time for a listing appointment, and the house was already staged beautifully. The seller told me she read a lot of magazines about how to sell, and she had obviously listened to everything. That home was in a difficult location for sales, and we sold it for more than any other home in the area. I think her getting it ready to sell was part of the success story.

Apr 10, 2019 03:17 AM #17
Rainmaker
20,739
Krista Jenkins, REALTOR®
klm Real Estate - Lubbock, TX
Residential sales and retail & office leasing

Great  blog post, Bill Gassett . I do my best to thoroughly explain why overpricing a home can be a huge impediment to selling. Some sellers  assume that buyers want to haggle to settle on a "fair" price. I dispel this quickly. Selling a house is not akin to buying exotic spices in a foreign bazaar.

Also, I am convinced that some sellers do not know that their house is dirty. It is a sensitive topic to broach.

Apr 10, 2019 06:05 AM #18
Rainmaker
1,049,106
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Thanks for all the comments guys.

Apr 10, 2019 06:08 AM #19
Rainer
219,730
Greg Mona
Faira Homes Corp - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate in the 21st Century!

This is great and sound advice for sellers Bill Gassett It should be required reading with many sellers! All we can do is suggest away and try to be as persuasive as possible to get as many items checked off the list as possible. Sometimes it goes smoothly with the seller, and sometimes not. It is the nature of the business. Thanks for sharing!

Apr 10, 2019 07:51 AM #20
Rainmaker
318,649
Dave Rosenmarkle
Highland Realty - Arlington, VA
32 years of providing fully satisfying service!

Great post! I have noticed in the current DC area market that more and more people are passing on properties that the owners have not updated bathrooms and kitchens during the past 10 to 15 years. In earlier hot markets, they were just glad to find a home they didn't have to bid on to buy.

Apr 10, 2019 01:06 PM #21
Rainmaker
595,388
Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA
Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate - Wilmington, DE
Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS

Bill--That was a very comprehensive list and good advice for sallers!

Apr 10, 2019 03:10 PM #22
Rainmaker
178,469
Kim Johnson
Realty Associates of Florida I Inc. - Coral Springs, FL
Selling South Florida

What a GREAT post today! Love the part where you say "nobody sets out to make mistakes"!

Apr 10, 2019 03:57 PM #23
Rainer
68,318
Ken & Velma | The Rohn Group, REALTORS®, GRI®
eXp Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Serving Gilbert, SE Maricopa and Pinal Counties

Great post! I can certainly identify as I've discussed all of these items a time or two with my sellers. Another common mistake is the failure to remove clutter and personal items. They tend to distract the buyer. The buyer gets lost in the "stuff" or they get fixated on the family photos. Both of which take away from the task at hand. 

Apr 10, 2019 05:22 PM #24
Rainmaker
2,772,995
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

so concise but exact in those two can be really good accommodations to have in real estate in the general sense of everything.

Apr 10, 2019 11:30 PM #25
Rainer
527,082
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Great blog! Thanks for sharing some great info.

Big stains will put off a buyer. They will think that that there is an underlying issue that will need to get fixed right away. That is not the impression you want to give, so make sure you remove any big stains. Quite often there are stains from shower curtains being left open in an upstairs bathroom that stains the kitchen ceiling. Get that fixed!

Apr 11, 2019 04:03 AM #26
Rainmaker
457,973
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Great info Bill, your quite the prolific writer. One thing I have mixed feelings about are open houses. I personally don't like doing them, and when my seller really want them I always mention theft and advise them to remove any valuables and drugs. That said I do have clients that like going to open houses and hae sold several homes to some of them who's first,or sometimes only viewing was at an open house.

Apr 12, 2019 11:50 AM #27
Rainmaker
378,811
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

I agree with all the points you raised to educate home sellers - what a worthy article!   Especially this line - I will repeat it to every seller I ever meet!   "The process of selecting a real estate agent should have very little to do with the price."

Apr 12, 2019 04:37 PM #28
Rainmaker
2,772,995
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I’m so glad so much integrity is being spotted in the above. Anyway, love and light!

Apr 13, 2019 09:23 PM #29
Rainer
479,714
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Great points except your open house philosophy. Tons of real estate agents fool sellers into believing this archaic marketing activity is necessary.

Why? Prospecting! Open houses can be an excellent opportunity for a real estate agent to prospect for future business. Are open houses necessary to sell a home? Absolutely not! Any real buyer will schedule a showing for a home they are interested in viewing. The Internet changed the usefulness of open houses. Perhaps your opinion, yet, certainly not shared with other agents who systematically use open house to market their listings.

The candid reason why agents IMO avoid doing open houses is it requires work and effort and absolutely challenges your skills and experience in persuasion and sales. Fearless agents aren't afraid of challenges, they indeed welcome it.

Working smarter and not harder by scheduling open houses so buyers can inspect listings when it's convenient and optimally ready to showcase seems more effective and a lot less intrusive to the sellers.

Regardless, most buyers will want to inspect a listing before making an offer, so, when it's done during an open house with other buyers on the property, how would a serious buyer react if the property meets their expectations? 

Apr 29, 2019 12:25 AM #30
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