13 Things Not to Do When Selling Your House

couple looking at country home

If you're thinking of selling your home, everyone from realtors to friends and family will advise you to do various things. But equally long is the list of things not to do. Avoid these classic mistakes to increase your chances of a fast and profitable sale.

1. Hang Lots of Photos

Buyers need to be able to picture themselves in your home, so displaying lots of photos of you, your family, and your friends isn't a good idea. This detracts from a buyer's ability to picture living in your home.

2. Over Personalize

Similarly, don't over personalize the home you are trying to sell. Say you really like Hello Kitty. That's great, but put that memorabilia into storage while trying to sell the home.

Having too much of a specific type of decor out can make it harder for buyers to picture how their belongings will look in the space.

3. Bold Paint Colors

While you may be a fan of bright blue paint in the living room, not all buyers are. Stick to neutral paint colors when trying to sell a home. These colors often make rooms look bigger and are generic enough to appeal to most people.

4. Oddly Shaped Furniture

large novelty chairs shaped like spoons and forks

Again, buyers need to be able to picture themselves in your home. If you have a heart-shaped bed on display, it will be tricky for a buyer to know how their more traditional bed frame and mattress will fill the space.

Many realtors will recommend staging a home instead of using your own furniture. Staging furniture appeals to the greatest number of buyers and is selected specifically to make your space look its best.

5. No Furniture

While you may think leaving a space completely bare will help buyers understand what they are getting, you actually need to have some furniture in the space.

Some rooms look small without furniture and seeing at least some of the big items in a space helps buyers understand the size of the space and how they could lay it out better.

6. Forget About Landscaping

suburban street with concrete driveways

The first thing a buyer will see when coming to your home is the landscaping. Make sure your grass has been mowed and watered, and consider adding some flowers and plants to ensure great curb appeal.

7. Messes

Make sure your home is clean before any buyers visit. A messy home will lead people to believe that your home does not have enough storage.

8. Smells

Similarly, make sure there are no strong smells in your home before you show it. While you may know that a smell is just because you cooked fish for dinner 10 minutes before a buyer arrived, the buyer will not. Make sure your home's odor-free when you show it.

9. Skimp on Listing Photos

More and more buyers look at photos on sites like Zillow or Redfin before deciding whether to tour a home. Make sure you have a lot of high-quality images.

You could also consider uploading a floor plan. Doing so will give potential buyers a better idea of your home before they visit and potentially prevent someone from touring your home who isn't serious about the property based on its layout.

10. Ignore Major Repairs

shingled roofing in need of serious repair

Major maintenance issues can get buyers running for the hills. Make sure major repairs are done before you go to sell your home. This includes things like foundation issues, leaky roofs, and bad plumbing which many buyers will not want to fix themselves.

11. Wrong Renovations

On the flip side, do not spend a ton of money on repairs that will not be seen by buyers or are too specific to your personal taste which could alienate some people.

12. Set a Bad Price

Always follow your realtor's advice when it comes to pricing your home. Some people want to do idealistic prices for their homes which are way above market value. This is not a great way to sell, though.

Many people use price filters when looking for homes and if your home is priced too high, potential buyers may not even see it. If you are in a seller's market, you may want to price a little low to cause a bidding war, but consult your listing agent before doing so.

13. Forget Selling Costs

Never forget about selling costs. Sellers are generally on the hook for agent commissions, which are often around 5%. There are other costs related to closing as well, which can be as high as 10% of the sale price.

Also keep in mind the cost of renting a place between moving out of your current place and into a new one, two mortgages if you overlap homes, HOA dues, taxes, storage fees, and utilities at multiple homes.