Sell Your Home Faster by Avoiding These 8 Mistakes

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You’ve spent some effort — and some money — to dress up your home before putting in on the market: some fresh paint, maybe a few improvements to the curb appeal, stuff like that. It’s the first time you’ve tried to sell a house, so you want to do everything right.

The first open house draws a good crowd, but no offers, and your agent has brought a few more potential buyers through after the open house. Still nothing.

It could be that the market is just slow in your area or it could be that you’ve inadvertently made a simple rookie seller’s mistake. If it’s the former, you may just have to wait it out or sell at a fire-sale price. If it’s the latter, all you have to do is make some simple adjustments.

Here are eight rookie mistakes first-time home sellers often make and what you can do to avoid them.

  1. Setting the price too high. The most common reason for failing to make the sale is that the home is overpriced. Listen to your agent recommendation and don’t fret if that recommendation is less than you had hoped for.
  2. Failing to adjust the price. Don’t automatically reject an offer that is below your asking price, especially if your area is a buyer’s market. Make a counteroffer and see what happens.
  3. Doing a poor cleaning job. The home needs to be spotless. Period. Hire a professional cleaning service and consider renting a storage space to store all the stuff that you can’t live without but that a potential buyer can.
  4. Using lousy photos. Consider hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your home to post online. According to Realtor.com, this can cost just $150 to $400 and is a good investment.
  5. Leaving religious or political items in plain sight. In today’s polarized culture, you need to take particular care not to offend or distract any potential buyer. Remember, you’re trying to sell your home, not convert someone to your views.
  6. Sticking around at the open house. This can make potential buyers reluctant to ask questions about the house or to peek into the cupboards and closets. The more “open” an open house is, the better it works for you.
  7. Making it hard for the agent to show your home. The good news is that potential buyers may want to look at your home at a moment’s notice. That’s also the bad news. Get over it and make it easy for your agent to show the house on short notice.
  8. Leaving your pets during a showing. Some people are afraid of even small dogs or are allergic to domestic animals. Take them with you when you leave, and make sure to put away all the leashes, toys and food bowls. A quick pass with a vacuum cleaner to remove pet hair is also a good idea.