Five Costly Mistakes Sellers Often Make

A version of this post originally appeared on The Kinney Company blog.

Ready to put your home on the market and get it sold quickly at its full value price?  As a Realtor® with years of experience helping clients buy and sell homes, I see the same seller mistakes made time and again; some I can spot even before I get out of the car.  Before you put your home on the market, beware of the common pitfalls below:

Poor Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the visual impression made by everything from the street to the front door, and it sets the stage for how prospective buyers will view your property.  Is the curb clean and well-manicured?  Is the landscape well-groomed, healthy, and attractive?  Is the front porch and walkway to the front door in good order and easy to navigate?  Are the home’s windows clean and shiny?  Maybe the screens need to be removed to reveal the pretty windows.  And don’t forget the roof — it should be clean of leaves and other debris and in good condition.  Ask your Realtor® if they have any additional suggestions.

Yard Cleanup: Always a Good Investment

Bad Lighting

A dark house is uninviting.  When you know your house is about to be shown, make sure you leave appropriate lights turned on and window coverings open.  Good lighting lets the Realtor® and prospective buyers can find their way around without difficulty and provides a warm sense of hospitality.  Your Realtor® can offer suggestions on which lighting helps your home present best.

Clutter and Dirt

A cluttered, dirty home appears uncared for, which reduces its value in the eye of a prospective buyer.  Cleaning and decluttering your house is the most cost-effective investment of time and money you can make to increase your home’s market appeal.  Trim and baseboards, thresholds, windows, tile grout—everything should be clean.  Who wants to touch a door handle with dirt, grease and grime around it?  And dirty bathrooms are the worst.  If you aren’t one to keep your place neat, then hire a professional to help you clean it up—someone with an eye that sees the dirt you no longer see.


The market sets the price for properties.  If your property is overpriced, it will likely sit on the market longer and eventually sell for less than it would have if you’d priced it fairly to begin with.  I see this all the time with houses priced too high—a buyer knows the price is too high for the market, but they won’t make a significantly lower offer for fear of insulting the seller.  Or, a buyer might feel deceived and frustrated when the property doesn’t measure up to what they were expecting to see for that price.  In both scenarios, the prospective buyer declines to make an offer, and the house stays on the market.  In a hot market, buyers assume something is wrong when a house hasn’t sold in the expected amount of time and often decline to even look at it, much less make an offer.  This could mean a long, downward spiral for the seller as the price continues to be reduced until the house finally sells at a bargain hunter’s price.  If you start with a realistic price (your Realtor® can advise you), you’ll end up with a better price for your home in a shorter amount of time.

Lurking During Showings

I know it’s tempting to hang around and see how prospective buyers respond to your home, but don’t!  Get out of there and let the buyers get a sense of what this house would feel like if it were their own!  Buyers don’t feel free to comment to their partner or agent about things they do or don’t like when owners hover around.  In fact, they often cut their viewing time short and leave without taking the time to fall in love with the home.  If the buyer has questions that only an owner can answer, they can be addressed with a follow-up phone call or email.

~Lazan Pargaman, Realtor®

Are you ready to sell your home?  Or buy a new place?  I specialize in helping people make great real estate decisions.  Please contact me today to begin your real estate journey.

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