5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your House

Written by Michele Dawson
Updated May 20, 2016
living room with white chairs
The key to home staging is to remove clutter and make rooms appear as bright and spacious as possible. (Photo by Mike Fender)

When it's time to sell a house, there are definitely some things sellers should avoid at all costs.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Selling a house is a complicated, stressful process. Avoiding common mistakes can ultimately make the difference between a quick sale and the house lingering on the market for months.

Review this list of common blunders before you put your house on the market.

1. Not focusing on the first impression

Curb appeal is everything. Interested parties want to see an exterior that makes them smile and get excited to discover what's inside. Overgrown grass and bushes, dirty windows, faded paint and a worn front door are all big turn-offs. For professional help on improving curb appeal, consider hiring a home stager.

2. Providing bad photos

Technology is key in today's real estate world. Homebuyers use the internet to quickly view photos of houses on the market. Avoid burry or poorly cropped photos. Prospective buyers will likely form their first impression after seeing photos of your home online.

3. Staying home during a showing

Nothing is more awkward for a potential buyer than coming face to face with the owner. While it can be inconvenient if a real estate agent wants to show the house during dinner, it's always best to vacate the house temporarily so the buyers and their agent can check out the house in private.

4. Not eliminating clutter

One of the biggest turn-offs when it comes to house hunting is clutter. Even though those piles of stuff belong to the seller, many people have a hard time envisioning a house free from junk if that's all they see.

A fabulous granite countertop gets lost if it's covered with small appliances, dishes and paperwork. Too much furniture in a room can make the room appear smaller than it actually is. Closets shoved full of clothes don't look as spacious as closets with just a few hanging items.

5. Ignoring major repairs and easy improvements

Any prudent buyer will ultimately request a home inspection. So it's usually in the seller's best interest to fix anything that needs repair. If the roof has been leaking all winter, fix it before the house goes on the market.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on July 23, 2013.

What other mistakes do sellers often make when listing their house? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.