How to Avoid Preventable Problems That Kill Home Sales

Real Estate Agent with Innovative Realty Solutions Group BK3158345

In addition to Lee's suggestions, my number one suggestion before listing a home is to ask the seller to get a home inspection.

Nothing kills a deal quicker than a buyer inspection report with 20-30 small items that reveal the home is in poor repair. Review the report with the seller and make suggestions about as many items as possible. 

Replace caulk in wet areas, seal draft leaks, replace toilet flappers, outlet covers, missing screws, clean grout and any other small, inexpensive repair that is on the summary report. It makes a big difference when the buyers review the report.

If the flooring, windows, appliances, mechanical items or other expensive items need repaired or replaced, get estimates and leave them in the showing book so buyers can see actual costs. Buyers always think these items are more expensive than they really are. Then price the home accordingly. 

After getting these things repairs, have the seller do a reinspection and make the report accessible to the buyer. I put inspection reports, tax information, update lists and photos on a CD or thumb drive for the buyer to take with them after the showing of my listings so they remember the home and have all information needed to make a decision to put in the offer!

Make your listing stand out! Make it easy for the buyer to actually buy!


Original content by Lew Corcoran 9152684

Selling a home can be a stressful and challenging process, especially in a competitive market. You want to attract as many buyers as possible and get the best price for your property.

However, there are some common and preventable problems that can ruin your chances of closing a deal and leave you frustrated and disappointed. In this blog post, we will discuss four of these problems and how to avoid them.

Preventable Problem #1: Overpricing

The most common and easily avoidable mistake that home sellers make is overpricing their homes. If you list your home for too high a price, you will scare away potential buyers who will either think you are unrealistic or not bother to look at your home at all. You will also lose the opportunity to generate multiple offers and create a bidding war that could drive up the price.

To avoid overpricing, you need to do your homework and research the market value of your home based on recent comparable sales in your area. You also need to hire a competent and experienced real estate agent who can provide you with a realistic and accurate market analysis and pricing strategy.

Don’t rely on online estimates or your own emotional attachment to your home. Remember, the true value of your home is what a willing and able buyer is ready to pay for it.

Preventable Problem #2: Bad Odors

Another problem that can kill your home sale is bad odors. Nothing turns off buyers more than a smelly home that indicates poor maintenance, lack of cleanliness, or hidden issues. Whether it’s musty smells from mold or mildew, pet odors, cigarette smoke, or cooking smells, bad odors can make buyers walk away without even looking at the rest of your home.

To avoid bad odors, you need to eliminate the source of the smell and air out your home before showing it. If you have mold or mildew problems, you need to fix them as soon as possible by hiring a professional or using water and detergent to scrub the affected areas. You also need to use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture and prevent future growth.

If you have pets, you need to keep them out of the home while it’s on the market or have regular professional cleaning done. You also need to avoid cooking foods with strong spices or frying fish before an open house. If possible, bake some bread or cookies to create a pleasant and inviting aroma.

Preventable Problem #3: Poor Presentation

Another problem that can kill your home sale is poor presentation. Buyers are looking for homes that are clean, decluttered, staged, and well-lit. They want to be able to envision themselves living in your home and see its potential. If your home is dirty, cluttered, outdated, or dark, you will lose their interest and attention.

To avoid poor presentation, you need to prepare your home properly before listing it. You need to clean every inch of your home, from the floors to the ceilings, and make sure there are no stains, dust, cobwebs, or fingerprints. You also need to declutter your home by removing excess furniture, personal items, knickknacks, and junk.

You want to create a spacious and neutral environment that allows buyers to focus on the features of your home rather than your belongings. You also need to stage your home by arranging furniture, adding accessories, and creating focal points that highlight the best aspects of your home. You also need to improve the lighting of your home by opening curtains, adding lamps, and replacing bulbs.

Preventable Problem #4: Unresolved Repairs

Another problem that can kill your home sale is unresolved repairs. Buyers are looking for homes that are in good condition and don’t require major work or expenses after they move in. If your home has visible or hidden defects that affect its functionality or safety, such as cracks in the foundation, leaks in the roof, faulty wiring, or broken appliances, buyers will either walk away or ask for a lower price or concessions.

To avoid unresolved repairs, you need to inspect your home thoroughly before listing it and fix any issues that you find or disclose them to buyers upfront. You don’t have to make cosmetic upgrades or renovations unless they add value or appeal to your home, but you do have to make sure everything works properly and meets code standards. You also need to be prepared for the buyer’s inspection and appraisal and negotiate any requests or contingencies that may arise.


By avoiding these four preventable problems that kill home sales, you can increase your chances of selling your home quickly and successfully. Remember, first impressions matter a lot when it comes to selling a home, so make sure you present your home in its best light and address any potential concerns before they become deal-breakers.


QR Code for Lew Corcoran

Lew Corcoran
Licensed Massachusetts Real Estate Agent
Accredited Home Staging Professional
Professional Real Estate Photographer
FAA Licensed Drone Pilot

Director, National Board of Directors,
Real Estate Staging Association (RESA)

Better Living Real Estate, LLC
15 Wall Street, #9157
Foxborough, MA 02035
O: (888) 877-8300
D: (508) 258-9658

Follow me on LinkedIn


Comments (4)

Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Dee and thank you for the great information in your blog.  Hope you have a great day!

Aug 22, 2023 10:01 AM
Dee Toohey

My pleasure, Will Hamm 

Aug 24, 2023 02:06 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Dee Toohey these can definitely be deal killers, especial the first two.

Aug 22, 2023 01:15 PM
Lew Corcoran
Better Living Real Estate, LLC - East Bridgewater, MA
Real Estate Agent, Home Stager, & Photographer

Thank you for sharing your insights on how to avoid preventable problems that kill home sales. I agree that getting a home inspection and fixing the small issues can make a big difference in the buyer’s perception of the home. You also gave some great tips on how to provide estimates and information to the buyers so they can make an informed decision.

Aug 23, 2023 04:24 AM
Dee Toohey

You're welcome, Lew Corcoran. How is your market? We have very low inventory which is driving prices up. Even with the rates being higher, buyers are buying but finding homes is an issue.

Aug 24, 2023 02:09 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Aug 25, 2023 02:21 AM