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You Shouldn’t Do These 30 Things if You’re Selling Your House

These mistakes can cost you time (and potential money!) when selling your home.

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Don’t Forget, Odors Linger

Obvious odors are pets and smoking. Refrigerators, rugs, and carpet can also retain many unpleasant odors. “I am in the process of dealing with an estate preparing to sell a home that was smoked in for years. The odor is everywhere,”says Jared Hoylo, a real estate agent with Remax. “We tackled the odors first by performing an ozone treatment. The local restoration company came in and set up an ozone machine before the walls were sealed and painted.” If there were heavy smokers or soiled carpets from pets, it may be necessary to replace light fixtures because the insulation in them can harbor the odor and is often an overlooked source. Duct cleaning and carpet cleaning are additional ways to tackle odors. “I’ve had the ducts cleaned in my own home,” said Hoylo. “I about fell over when the contractor showed me the stuff that came out of them. Yikes.” Here are two DIY tips for cleaning and eliminating odors before you sell your home.

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Zdenek Venclik/Shutterstock

Don’t Decorate with Your Political affiliations, Degrees, Family Portraits, or Bear Rugs

It is recommended to remove all of the items listed above. While you want the home to be inviting and have personality, it is necessary to pare back personal items. Personal affections can influence the buyer away from a home due to a difference in beliefs and preferences. “I had a client who refused to remove a bear-skin rug from the wall above the fireplace,” Hoylo said. “Within the first week, we received two rounds of feedback about the bear on the wall. After the second feedback, the sellers took the bear mount down—but by the then, they may have missed the highest bidder.”

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Don’t Add Urinals

Bathroom updates typically get a return on investment for the home seller. One rule of thumb to avoid is putting a urinal in a bathroom update. The urinal actually decreases home values. For some ideas on bathroom upgrades, visit here.

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Lorna Wu 2/Shutterstock

Don’t Add a Sunroom

Definitely, do not add a sunroom. This home improvement will decrease the value of the home and detract buyers due to the maintenance of sunrooms.

deck or patio is a much better idea.

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Don’t Get Too Trendy

While painting, staging, and sprucing up the appeal of your home is important for selling, don’t get too trendy. Avoid using the season’s hottest paint colors or furniture choices. Sticking to traditional colors and furniture styles for staging is the safest bet to improve the resale of your home. Here are some painting tips to check out before you pick up a brush.

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Don’t Avoid the ’99’ Strategy

In real estate, the “99” strategy is nearly always employed. For instance, if a seller prices their home at $499K instead of $500K, the $1K they lose will cover some of the buyer’s closing costs, but in the buyer’s mind, they are paying $500K. In most cases, though, knocking off $1K to bring the price below a rounded figure doesn’t make that much difference to a buyer or seller.

Nonetheless, there’s a fair amount of psychology (and strategy) that goes into determining a home’s asking price.

If you’re a seller, you and your real estate agent should identify (and agree on) the approximate value of the property. Let’s say you determine your home is worth around $500K, based on comparables of similar properties sold in your neighborhood and other market considerations.

The next step is to understand the price range for the list price. In this case, somewhere between $480K and $520K, depending on market conditions, competing properties, time of year or inventory. The price range typically goes a bit higher with more expensive properties; a home worth about $1 million might have a range of $950K to $1.05 million.

Once you know your home’s value and have a price range in mind, it’s time nail down the final “list” price.

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secured-loans_518887978_01 home repair loans equity mortgage real-estateWatchara Ritjan/Shutterstock

Don’t Avoid Appealing to the ‘Herd Mentality’

Given the high stakes of real estate, a buyer doesn’t want to be the only one interested in a house. By pricing your property on the lower end of the value range, you could stimulate interest among more than one buyer and create a herd mentality. Also, if you’re under the gun to sell quickly, this would be a good option.

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front stoop sold sign house home real-estatePureRadiancePhoto/Shutterstock

Don’t Forget to Price it to be Found in Real Estate Searches

Most buyers tell their agent they want a three-bedroom home in a certain neighborhood under $500K (or some other dollar amount). Their real estate agent may then set up an automated buyer search in their local database for properties under $500K. But if a home is listed at $510K, that buyer will miss it. So, if your list price is higher out of the gates, you may miss a segment of buyers.

While this scenario happens frequently, many savvy agents will set up search parameters for their buyers to include properties listed a little bit more above their price ceiling. Knowing how flexible home prices can be, buyers should be made aware of properties that could be a good match for them, even if those homes are above (but within reasonable range of) what they want to pay. Often times the buyer can offer under the list price, or the property will get reduced.

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Don’t Get ‘Creative’ with Your Asking Price

Sometimes, sellers want to get creative with their asking price. A seller whose home was valued between $750K and $800K wants to ask $787,777. Say what?

Such an oddly specific figure calls attention to itself for no good reason, like a house painted purple. Buyers will often wonder why the seller chose that figure. From there, they get curious about who the seller is, and so on.

It’s best to keep the seller far in the background, if not entirely invisible. That’s why we have sellers remove all their personal stuff (such as photos, diplomas, and such) from their homes and decorate in neutral colors.

The goal is to showcase the property, not the seller, and to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Getting quirky with your asking price counteracts this tried-and-true strategy.

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Don’t Forget a Pricing Contingency Plan Before You Put Your Home on the Market

Sometimes, sellers have high expectations about their property’s appeal and they want to ask top dollar for it, even if their agent doesn’t believe they’ll get it. Or perhaps another agent they talked to planted a high price tag in their mind.

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Woman signs purchase agreement for a houseAlexander Raths/Shutterstock

Don’t Forget the Comparables

According to Zillow, the asking price of a home should be within 10 percent of the average sold price in your neighborhood. Look for home sales in the past three months. Appraisers only look at comparable homes sold in the last three months.

Learn the secrets first-time home buyers need to know.

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Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

Don’t Forget to Compare Square Footage

Appraisers look at square footage for determining a home’s value. So it’s important to take a look at similar homes that fall within 10 percent of the square footage of your home.

Learn things to consider before buying a home.

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Don’t Be Unprepared for Closing Costs

Additional costs during closing can include things such as inspections, loan origination fees, and title insurance, so keep those in mind when putting together your down payment. The additional costs right at closing means it might make sense to put less money down in order to pay for the added expenses. Often closing costs are paid by the seller, but in competitive markets, it’s becoming more common for the costs to be split with or paid by the buyer.

While you’re spending all of this hard-earned money, be sure to budget your move to cut down on expenses.

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shutterstock_121617061 buying first home blue house with white trim front porchjessicakirsh/Shutterstock

Don’t Forget to Speak Up

It’s important to say something if you don’t agree with the final report of value because a lender might choose not to fund a mortgage if there’s a big difference between the agreed selling price and the appraised value. Try to find out about the appraiser and their knowledge of your neighborhood before they come out to your home. If you’re not comfortable, ask for another appraiser. Find out why hiring a home inspector pays off.

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Family Handyman

Don’t Ignore the Inspection Report

The inspection report can be a critical negotiation tool in buying a home. Whatever issues the inspection report turns up can move the price down potentially. Learn six signs your home is in trouble from a home inspector.

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Chirping Smoke DetectorsFamily Handyman

Don’t Forget to Have Safety Equipment Installed and Working

Make sure your smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and other safety devices are working properly. Also, be sure to have an up-to-date fire extinguisher.

Check out other safety tips for the home and to make sure a smoke alarm functions as it should.

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Don’t Forget to Inform Appraiser of Improvements

Have your documents on the ready to show any home improvements you have made including additions, HVAC units, exterior work, roof and other remodeling.

Keep a binder of appliance manuals handy and see other clutter-busting ideas.

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mojo cp/Shutterstock

Don’t Hover Over an Appraiser

Appraisers are likely greeted by eager home sellers all the time. But back off and let them work. You can make their work pleasant but don’t go overboard and trail them through every room. It’s likely to set off alarms.

Have the house ready to show by touching up a few areas.

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Don’t Gloss Over the Appraisal

Appraisers aren’t infallible so it’s important to review their work to verify the facts are correct. Square footage totals can vary from appraiser to appraiser.

See some quick ways to help make a home sell faster.

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Don’t Take Your Own Photos

Your Instagram account might be lit but chances are the interior of your house won’t be if you try taking staging photos on your own. Taking interior photos of dimly lit areas is difficult and even in well-lit rooms shadows can wreak havoc. Take the time to think about hiring a real estate photographer or check to see what your broker does. A typical real estate photographer charges between $100 to $300 for photos only. It could make a difference in the shelf life of your home on the market.

Get out of the dark and freshen up your house with these amazing decor ideas.

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Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

Don’t Be Negative

Yes, selling a home is a tremendous hassle fraught with stress but remember you are selling a home. Put your best face forward, hone your salesmanship and learn how to price a home by knowing what appraisers are looking at.

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samsung washer laundry

Don’t Force Brands on Buyers

Similar to avoiding leaving personal items around the house, don’t go around touting appliance brands. Brand loyalty is a real thing and your loyalty might get questioned by a potential buyer who prefers a different brand.

If you want to get new appliances see why you should get a front-load washer and dryer versus a top-load combo and how to save buckets of money when buying a washer/dryer combo. 

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Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

Don’t Get Offended by a Low Offer

It’s all part of the game and you’re supposed to meet in the middle at the end, right? A low offer shouldn’t mean you walk completely away from the table Find out what buyers are looking for in a home.

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FH09JAU_FIXROO_06_07Family Handyman

Don’t Refuse to Make Repairs During Negotiation

In a competitive market a refusal to make repairs can turn away a buyer in a hurry. That being said, it is a negotiation and a seller shouldn’t agree to make every repair request from a buyer. Check out 100 home repairs you can do yourself to save a ton of dough. They’re easier than you think.

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Olga Danylenko/Shutterstock

Don’t Forget to be Properly Insured

With increased foot traffic coming through your home make sure all your insurance coverage is up to date. Someone unfamiliar with your home could trip and fall, your dog could have a problem with someone and a pool could be a potential hazard. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

You’ll be amazed at these cheap ways to save on insurance costs.

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Don’t Agree to a Purchase Contract with an Unqualified Buyer

Some home buyers will overlook getting pre-approval before house hunting so it’s important to know if an interested buyer has gotten pre-approval from a lender before negotiating a sale.

Find out the things people regret the most after buying a home.

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Don’t Forget to Protect Against Low Appraisal

Prevent any potential hiccups of a home sale by doing some legwork ahead of time. Specifically, consider getting an appraisal prior to listing the home. It’ll protect against the potential of a low appraisal during the sale of the home. See what goes into an appraisal so you know what to look for with an appraisal.

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Don’t Forget to Turn up the Light

Just like with taking photos, there should be plenty of light pouring into the house during showings. Open blinds and curtains, make sure shrubs are trimmed to allow more light into the house. Natural light is an asset for your home and a feature that will make it feel warm, inviting and cozy.

Natural light will make a room feel bigger, too, check out how to do it.

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Don’t Put Off Researching Brokers

Do the research when it comes to finding a broker. Talk to neighbors and friends who recently sold to get a gauge of who’s good. Take a look at how they list homes and pay attention to the details. Do you want to buy from them when looking at their site? See why it’s a good idea to not go to your real estate agent for a home inspector.

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shutterstock_299270855-1200x1200 home covered in snow winter houseV J Matthew/Shutterstock

Don’t Assume You Have to Sell in Spring

There might be some advantages to selling later in the year. The inventory will typically drop in the fall and buyers will crave the sight of new listings. See what you have to do to make a house move in the offseason.

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