Common home seller mistakes.

Home seller mistakesThe ultimate goal to putting your home on the market is for it to sell quickly and for the best price. Once listed, the property becomes a product with competition from other listings. So a seller should showcase their property in the best possible light. You only have one shot at making a first impression to the buyer. Make it a good one. I’ve worked with many home buyers and I can tell you judgements on a property are made within the first 5-10 minutes of viewing a home. It happens instantly. My advice: don’t make mistakes that will prevent you from reaching your home ownership goals. Any of the mistakes listed below may cause your home to linger on the market for months.

  • Over-pricing your home. The most common mistake a home seller makes is over-pricing their property. The market determines the price, not the seller. Work with your REALTOR to assess the recent comps of similar properties in your neighborhood to determine the best sales price.
  • Severely restricted hours for buyers to visit the property. If your home is listed for sale it should be fully available to buyers during reasonable hours which are typically all days, 9am-7pm.
  • Cluttered, messy or dirty spaces. Selling your home is your chance to make your property shine and stand-out from the competition. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves and their things in your home. They can’t do that with towels on the floor, papers and books all over the home office, or with dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. In addition, a dirty or messy home is a signal to the buyer the property mostly likely hasn’t been maintained by the seller.
  • Unpleasant odors. Try to refrain from cooking foods with unusual smells while your home is on the market. Equally important is to make sure the kitty litter is clean and any other pet smells are eliminated. Particularly strong room fresheners should also be avoided. Read more.
  • Unwilling to negotiate. Whether it’s the price, date of settlement, a home inspection item or a myriad of other things, the negotiation is part of the home-selling process. An unwillingness to negotiate by the seller immediately turns off a buyer who may back-out of their offer. In my experience, those who are willing to be fair and flexible tend to sell their homes in the shortest time and for the best price.
  • Unwilling to make repairs. During a home inspection, the inspector will find things wrong with the property. That’s their job. It could be something as simple as a leaking faucet or as serious as a radon. Consider repairs thoughtfully before declining to make them. A buyer could back out of the contract if something isn’t repaired and any future buyer may ask for the same thing to be fixed. In addition, if the item is a latent defect (i.e. radon, mold, etc.) it is required by law to be disclosed to any future buyer, who will most likely want it fixed.

If you’d like to speak with me about selling your home, please give me a call at 703-963-0142 or send an email to I’m happy to help.

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