1. Dirty, worn-out rooms. It's assumed you've put in some serious time into preparing your house for sale, which means it should look its best. If there's grimy fixtures, marks on the walls or worn-out curtains, people will instantly be turned off. At worst, they'll assume it can't be cleaned any further. At best, they won't want to spend another second looking at the room. Either way, you aren't doing yourself any favors. If new paint isn't in the budget, invest in quality cleaning supplies and take the time to scrub every last inch of the house.
2. Keep your shrines on display. Whether it's a collection of birthday cards and magazine or your hallway of family portraits, collections of personal items make it hard for buyers to picture themselves in a living space. They're also distracting and can draw your buyers' attention away from your home's great features. As a general rule, you only want furniture and generic artwork in a room.
3. Hide your shrines in the house. You're kidding yourself if you think people won't open every closet door and drawer they find. People open fridge doors, medicine cabinets, closets and anything else that has a handle because they want to get a feel for the space. For many people, it's an absent-minded habit, but they will quickly snap back to reality when they find your hidden collection of romance novels in the oven.
4. Neglect repairs and maintenance. From gutters overflowing with leaves to holes in the wall, signs of disrepair are a huge turn-off to buyers. People want to think that you loved your home and took pristine care of it. Failing to make repairs or stay on top of seasonal work makes it instantly obvious that you didn't.
5. Show off your pets. Not everyone loves pets, which is why cat food dishes in the kitchen or a dog waiting in the yard is a great way to prevent some buyers from liking your house. They'll be too distracted by your beloved pet to even notice the walls surrounding it. Clean the litter, put away the food dishes, remove the photos from the fridge and take your pet with you when you leave the house (see 7). Pets are also notorious for damage and prospective buyers will instantly wonder what your fluffy friend has gotten into that hasn't been noticed.
6. Ignore that strange smell. Perfume, cat litter and musky odors are among the top turn-offs for all buyers. Overwhelming smells are distracting and, with an increasing number of people sensitive to scents, may cause potential buyers to leave entirely.
7. Neglect your scary basement. Clear out your basement, clean out the cobwebs and throw in a bright new light bulb. You don't want home buyers to wonder what monsters are hiding in the hidden cracks of the room, so open up the space as much as possible. Also pay attention to those odors we talked about in #6.
8. Hang out at the house. Nothing makes buyers more uncomfortable than having the seller loitering at the house. Staying close is a great way for buyers to rush through your home and leave with a bad feeling, so make some plans out on the town. A showing is a great excuse to browse a bookstore, go to the theatre or grab a cup of coffee with an old friend.
While these guidelines will definitely help you out, each house has its own unique set of "selling don'ts", which is why all serious sellers should have an experienced real estate agent on their side. A dedicated agent will visit your home with you, evaluate its condition and make important recommendations for improving your home for sale. This crucial step will help prevent you from becoming a victim of real estate faux pas and get your property sold!