Monthly Archives: August 2018

Want Instant Curb Appeal on the Cheap? These 6 Easy Tricks Will Cost You Under $200

moronif/iStock

It should come as no surprise that before you sell your home, you’ve got to make it sparkle—after all, prospective buyers will be peeking in every cabinet, corner, and closet they can get into.

But when you’re so focused on the inside, it’s easy to overlook the first (and arguably most important) space buyers will judge: the outside.

“Most people start coming drawing conclusions about a home as soon as they pull up to the house—or even before that, based on photos they’ve seen online,” says Lori Matzke, founder of Center Stage Home in Minneapolis. “If the exterior looks run-down or could even stand for just a little freshening up, that’s going to grab their attention.” (And not in a good way.)

You may already be thinking about what it would take to get your exterior in top form—and adding up the dollar signs in your head. But here’s the news: It is possible to add instant curb appeal without draining your savings account.

“Simple, inexpensive things can make a big impact on how quickly and for how much you sell your home,” says Kris Lindahl, a real estate agent in Minneapolis.

Ready to get started? Here are six ridiculously easy ways to boost your home’s curb appeal—all for $200 or less.

1. Make your exterior sparkle with a pressure wash

For potential buyers, the walk up the driveway is their first look at your home, Lindahl says. Repaving the entire driveway would be nice, of course. But on a budget, pressure washing—which will run between $80 to $200 on average—will do wonders.

Driveways “turn green and black with dirt, and we don’t notice it because we see it every day,” says Shawn Breyer, owner of Breyer Home Buyers in Atlanta. “White driveways and sidewalks really pop.”

What to buy: Stanley Pressure Washer, $108

2. Max out your use of mulch and drought-tolerant plants


Photo by Elliott Brundage Landscape Design 
It’s easy to rack up the bills with elaborate landscaping. But it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, says Lucy Armentrout, broker associate at Red Oak Realty in Oakland, CA.

“I’ve turned a number of completely dead, neglected front yards into ‘buyer magnets’ for somewhere in the range of $500,” she explains. “But even $200 is definitely a worthwhile investment if you’re able to do some of the work yourself.”

Her secret? Putting down fresh mulch in the front yard and gardens, and adding easy-to-care-for plants. In particular, she likes ornamental grasses, bushy lavender, and salvia plants—all of which are drought-tolerant and affordable, and make a dramatic pop against dark mulch.

The end result is “an elegant and polished statement,” Armentrout says.

Matzke echoes the call for fresh mulch: “Mulch is your friend,” she says. “It not only brightens up the exterior of your home, it can also keep the weeds down and fill in bare spots so your lawn will look long-term neat and tidy.”

What to buy: Sanco Industries Black Mulch, $23; Grower’s Solution Buzz Lavender Bush, $47

3. Lure in buyers with fresh honeysuckle


Photo by Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting 
If you have a walkway to the front door, plant some honeysuckle along the way, recommends Dawn Houlf, owner of EXIT Realty Number One and real estate coach in Las Vegas.

“Honeysuckle is a hardy plant that is heat-tolerant and also thrives in the shade,” Houlf says. “It can be used in a variety of ways—as a bush, a vine, or for ground coverage. The sweet nectar also brings in beautiful hummingbirds. And, of course, the fragrant smell helps, too, when buyers are viewing the home.”

What to buy: Sanjoes Goldflame Honeysuckle Vine, $22

4. Add symmetrical planters


Photo by Historical Concepts 
Smart home stagers and landscapers rely heavily on visual tricks to draw buyers’ eyes to the right places. One of their biggest secrets? Symmetry.

If you have some space by the front door, anchor each side of the door with potted plants full of bright flowers like hydrangeas, Houlf recommends.

“It looks pleasing to the eye to have one on each side,” she says. “If you just have one plant by your door, it will look lopsided to potential buyers.”

But don’t use plastic containers, she cautions. Ceramic or terra-cotta pots are necessary here to add a “special touch” and give your home that luxe factor.

What to buy: PSW Arcadia Terra-Cotta Drop Planter, $16

5. Freshen up your front door


Photo by Sidney Cardel’s 
Speaking of the front door: Adding a fresh coat of paint to yours is a cheap, easy trick that can transform your home in an afternoon’s time—and will definitely leave a lasting first impression.

“Buyers will often stand at the front door for a couple of minutes while the agent gets the key out of the lockbox,” Lindahl notes. “Make those moments count.”

Of course, you can’t go wrong with a shiny new coat in a classic color like black, gray, or red. But if you’re feeling a little daring—and really want to stand out on the block—go for a cheery pastel hue like a light green or orange-pink. (Bonus: Bold front door looks are trending big-time right now.)

What to buy: Behr Bijou Red Paint, $49

6. Roll out the welcome mat (literally)

You’d be hard-pressed to find an easier trick than this: A new welcome mat and an elegant wreath are cheap but inviting ways to welcome potential buyers in for a home tour, Houlf says. (It is in the name, after all).

“Enhancing the front so people will stop and stare after the first glance is vital for any property for sale,” she says. “Look for a cheery welcome mat, or if your sale is happening over a holiday, I’d recommend something seasonal.”

What to buy: Target Home Sweet Home Welcome Mat, $11

The post Want Instant Curb Appeal on the Cheap? These 6 Easy Tricks Will Cost You Under $200 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Improving Your Credit Score

There are as many ways to finance your new home purchase as there are homes to choose from; but no matter what option you choose, your credit will play an important part. So what do you need to know about having the best credit possible or improving your credit score?

Assess The Damage
The first step is to know what your credit score is and what is actually on your credit report. There are a variety of online sources that can help you start the process. Credit Karma is a great place to start, it’s free to sign up and pulls your credit information from two of the three credit reporting agencies.

These services may not reflect 100% accuracy when it comes to what score will be used when you apply for financing, but it will show all derogatory and delinquent items that are affecting your score. Understanding what items are holding your score down allows you to being paying off debts on your report and using some other score boosting tools.

It Takes Credit to Get Credit
For some their credit inquiry will find them with no debts to pay off or delinquencies to catch up on – but instead a lack of any credit activity at all.  For someone that has no credit history and wants to improve their credit score, there are tools that can help start this process. Anyone with a bank account can walk into their bank and ask to speak to a personal banker about a secured credit card.  This type of credit card is secured by cash in your checking account and the limit of the credit card is equal to the amount of cash you use to collateralize the credit being extended. A credit card collateralized by even $500 allows the individual to use the card and pay off the balance at the end of each month and start their credit building journey.  After you make the payments on your secured credit card for a few months, and have seen an increase in your score, you can then apply for an unsecured credit card.

Credit Use & Credit Inquiries
The next most important factor determining your score is the amount of your total credit that you use.  It’s important to pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible and maintain balances that equal no more than 25% of your total available credit.  It’s also important to not close old credit cards that you are no longer using, as this can impact your credit history. What matters is the percentage of credit you use – not how many cards you have open.  Lastly, inquiries can negatively affect your score if they are happening frequently throughout the year. If you are credit or loan shopping, keep the inquiries to a short period of time to have the least impact on your score.

Follow these three steps and not only will you improve your score but you may also have greater financing options and lower interest rates for your new home purchase.

Have more questions about financing? We’ve got agents who can provide expert advice and informative videos that can help too.

How to Price a Home in a Seller’s Market: Go Low, or Shoot for the Stars?

anyaberkut/iStock

How to price a home in a seller’s market may be a question that’s top of mind if you’re listing your home. Much of the United States right now is a seller’s market—which spells potential for major profits. Lucky you!

However: Some sellers may see this as an opportunity to set the bar high—maybe too high—when it comes to their list price. Others may decide on a lower asking price, in hopes of generating a bidding war.

So which pricing strategy works best in a seller’s market? Every approach has its pros and cons, so here’s how to determine the best one for you.

First, assess the landscape

Before you go about setting your list price, you’ll want to survey your area to see whether you’re truly in a seller’s market, says Seth Lejeune, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway in Collegeville, PA.

For a quick assessment, you can check out where your city ranks on realtor.com’s Market Hotness Index, which uses the latest housing data to show which cities are heating up for home sellers.

For a deeper look at your market, however, you’ll have to analyze a few key variables:

  • Average days on market (DOM). This measurement shows the median age of real estate listings in your area. “If houses are selling in your neighborhood in less than 10 days, it’s a strong seller’s market,” Lejeune says. You can find what the average DOM is in your city using realtor.com’s Local Market Trends tool.
  • Asking vs. final home price. In seller’s markets, bidding wars can often erupt among buyers, which means that sellers may enjoy a final sales price equal to their asking price, or more. So, if a home is listed at $450,000 and sells for $450,000 or higher, that’s a seller’s market. In a strong seller’s market, the final sales price is typically at least 10% higher than the asking price. You can compare the listing prices vs. the closing prices in various cities across the country at realtor.com/local.
  • Home prices over time. Rising home prices over time are a sure sign of a seller’s market. You can determine whether home prices are rising or falling in your city by looking at your ZIP code’s “market price curve” on BuilderOnline.com.

Pricing strategy No. 1: Listing at market value

To assess your home’s “fair market value”—i.e., what your house is actually worth in today’s market (not just what it’s worth in your head)—you can enter your address in realtor.com/sell to get a ballpark figure for your home’s value.

To hone that number further, check what comparable homes recently sold for in your area. Good agents can help you synthesize this info into an asking price that you can justify and stand by, which is important once the negotiations on a home get rolling.

“If you’re working with a real estate agent who understands the market, you have to trust their comps,” says Lou Nimkoff, president at the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

Even in a seller’s market, Lejeune generally recommends that sellers list their house at market value. “You have to forget the noise, especially if you’re looking to sell in a reasonable period of time,” he says. “For most sellers, it’s always the best strategy, regardless of the status of the market.”

The bottom line: By listing at market value, you’ll be in a good position to get a full-price offer relatively quickly.

Not in a rush to sell? Keep reading.

Pricing strategy No. 2: Listing high

If you’re not on a tight timetable to sell, you could price your home above market value—typically 5% to 10% more—to see if you can nab a great offer. But that approach has its flaws.

For starters, “The last thing you want to do is price your home too high and then have it just sit on the market,” says Nimkoff. When that happens, your house can become stigmatized in the eyes of home buyers, which can make it even more difficult to sell, Nimkoff says.

You might also have trouble closing the sale if your lender’s appraisal of your home’s price doesn’t come in at that same high number.

“Even if you find a buyer that’s willing to pay you $400,000 for a $300,000 house, a lender may not loan that much money,” Nimkoff says. “So, unless you have an all-cash buyer, it would be next to impossible to close the sale.”

That being said, some people have success selling over asking price by targeting investors with the ability to make cash offers, says Dan Burz, an agent at Douglas Elliman in New York and New Jersey.

The bottom line: By listing above market value, your home might sell at a premium—but there’s a greater risk that it doesn’t sell, especially if you’re unwilling to reduce the price.

Pricing strategy No. 3: List low

One way to get your property more exposure, Nimkoff says, is to set the list price below market value—generally 5% to 10% under—in an effort to attract more buyers and potentially spark a bidding war. “If you price low, you can probably get multiple offers within one to two days,” says Nimkoff.

A bidding war is a good problem to have if you’re a seller, but “the more offers you receive, the more options you have, which can make choosing the best offer challenging,” Nimkoff says.

For some sellers, the most appealing offer is the one with the fewest contingencies; for others, the best offer is the highest bid. It depends on your priorities.

The bottom line: This strategy can backfire if you receive only one offer for asking price or less. That’s less likely to happen in a seller’s market, but it’s always a possibility. There’s also less wiggle room for you to negotiate if you receive a lowball offer.

The post How to Price a Home in a Seller’s Market: Go Low, or Shoot for the Stars? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Selling Your Home? Be Prepared to Cry—Here’s Why

iStock; realtor.com

We hated our house for much of the past five years we lived in it. Located in a suburb of New Jersey, it was too far from where we worked. It was also old, with an outdated kitchen we couldn’t afford to fix. And, oh yeah, as our family grew, it became way too small.

So when my husband was transferred to London for this summer, it seemed like a no-brainer to put the place on the market. Good riddance!

And yet, while preparing our home for sale, something strange happened: We started noticing things about our home that were always there, but that we’d become blind to over the years.

Granted, this awareness arrived in part because our real estate agent made it clear that many of the things we’d let slide wouldn’t fly with potential buyers. Yet other things we became conscious of made us realize that in spite of our home’s many flaws, we’d miss this place after we’ve moved on. Maybe a lot.

Whenever the time comes to sell your own home, you may have the same bittersweet epiphanies while walking those halls you thought you knew so well. To give you a sense of what may be in store, here are some things about our house we’d never noticed before putting it on the market.

Wow, so many ‘My Little Pony’ stickers!

My daughter’s extensive sticker collection

Sasha Brown-Worsham

We tried to stop her. Every time our preschooler came home with a pack of stickers, she peeled them, one after the other, and stuck them on the walls. They are on our kitchen cabinets, the trim in the dining room, the hardwood floors… The sheer volume of the stickers was something we didn’t fully consider until the first walk-through with our listing agent.

“That’s a lot of stickers,” she said. Sadly, most buyers aren’t looking for Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and the gang to be part of the sale. So we started peeling them off the walls, feeling a little sad each time we scraped one off.

What happened to our ceiling?

The ceiling before we fixed it.

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Our house had wallpaper on the walls and the ceiling; however, thanks to an unfortunate incident with a storm and our stove vent, much of it had sagged off. Weirdly, though, it never bothered us until we decided to sell, at which point the full horror of this eyesore struck us: Man, this was heinous. Was it always that big, or had it grown larger over time? Sure, we were busy parents with three kids, but come on, why didn’t we fix this sooner? This, too, was sort of sad.

Our bathroom may be dated, but it’s beautiful

My third daughter after her bath

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Granted, our bathroom looks nothing like what you see on HGTV. The tile is dated and dirty, and the walls are in dire need of a fresh coat of paint. And yet, it’s the bathroom where I spent hours in labor with my third daughter, a space where we dumped all three of our kids for bubble baths, their hair damp and smelling of roses. This bathroom was an intimate place, a personal place, and because of this, it was more special than we ever knew.

Wall fingerprints everywhere

Fingerprints are everywhere!

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Look closely at the wall below, and you’ll see smudges where my kids stuck their grubby hands—and left a mess that my real estate agent insisted must be painted over. But look! You can almost make out the shape of my baby’s thumb! She’s 4 now. Where will I ever find such beauty again? Each one of those scuzzy black marks is a moment in time my baby’s hand touched that white wall. You say it’s ugly. I say it’s magic.

We have too many shoes

Shoes for 100?!

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Who wears these shoes? How many people live in our house? A small army? Our mudroom is full to the brink with shoes of people I’ve apparently never met who live in my house. If you see them, can you tell them to put their shoes in their room where they belong?

That dust isn’t just dust

Just prior to showing our home to buyers, we hired cleaners to thoroughly scour the house. And yes, the dust was gross and absolutely had to go. And yet somewhere in that dust was a tuft of hair from our dog, Rocky, who had died just weeks earlier. I realized that once those areas were swept clean, we’d never get those pieces of him back. That dust wasn’t just dust, but the accumulation of life—pets, kids, parents, family—in a home we’d soon never see again.

We let the cleaners continue, but not without crying.

The post Selling Your Home? Be Prepared to Cry—Here’s Why appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

How Long Should You Live in Your Home? 6 Signs It’s Time to Move On

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Ten years. That’s the average amount of time a homeowner stays in a house, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Think that sounds shockingly short? Or way too long? The fact is, people’s reasons for selling their home are different, as are their time frames.

Still, there are some common threads—financial and emotional—that lead us to call it quits on our home and move on to the next one. And you don’t always see them coming.

Read on for some telltale signs it’s time to start packing your bags (and when you should settle in for the long haul).

1. You know the seller’s market is booming and you want in

Let’s start with one of the most obvious reasons to sell: You’re eager to make a profit on your property.

You need to gauge the key indicators of a strong market, explains Allen Shayanfekr, CEO and co-founder of Sharestates, an online real estate investment company.

A few signals: The price per square foot in your area is increasing, the amount of time properties stay on the market is decreasing, and you’ve noticed an uptick in brokerage activity in your neighborhood. (If you’re situated in an especially hot neighborhood, you might even get a letter or a knock on the door from a listing agent who wants to help you get in on the action).

“If any of these are true in your area,” Shayanfekr says, “think about selling up.”

2. Because your neighbors just got what for their house?

Check online listings in your neighborhood, and pay attention to the “recently sold” flyers in your mailbox to keep track of what comparable homes in your area are going for.

“If other houses on your street with the same bedroom/bathroom count [as yours] are selling for a price that you’d be more than satisfied with, it might be time to move on,” Shayanfekr says.

3. You’re sick of feeling financially stressed

Not everyone sells in order to pad their bank account. Some homeowners underestimated their ongoing housing costs and simply want to ease their financial burden.

If your property taxes or mortgage payments have become unmanageable, the best recourse may be to find another home that’s more affordable, Shayanfekr says.

To breathe easy, your monthly housing costs shouldn’t exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.

4. You’ve grown—but your home hasn’t

The starter home you moved into when you were expecting your first child isn’t necessarily the house you need now that you have three preteens and a capybara. It’s bittersweet to give up the memories you’ve made in your home, but if your living quarters are causing you stress rather than comfort, “take the leap and sell up,” Shayanfekr says.

Death, serious illness, divorce—these are all emotionally wrought experiences that may warrant a need for change. Relocation is another factor. But let’s not overthink things.

“Maybe you’re just tired of the same old, same old, and it’s time for a change of scenery,” says Bruce Ailion, a Realtor® and attorney for Re/Max Town and Country in Atlanta.

5. You’re over ‘high maintenance’

The average homeowner shells out $2,000 a year for maintenance services, according to a recent report by Bankrate. Not repairs, mind you, but scheduled services such as landscaping, snow removal, septic service, private trash and recycling, and housecleaning.

Sick of watching these payments steadily drip out of your bank account? You might be better off in a low-maintenance condo or a new-build property, Shayanfekr says.

6. You’ve put at least 5 years into the relationship

“If you sell too soon—assuming you have a mortgage—you haven’t really built up any equity in the home beyond the down payment,” points out Adam Jusko, founder and CEO of personal finance portal ProudMoney.com. “In the beginning, your mortgage payments are almost completely interest payments.”

In fact, unless the housing market is seriously booming (see above), you might lose money when you sell. Remember: Selling isn’t free: You’ll have to shell out to cover all the costs associated with hiring a broker, closing, and, of course, purchasing another home.

That’s why Jusko recommends staying put for at least five years, unless you have an urgent need to move. In addition to everything else, moving too quickly sends prospective buyers a bad message.

“Buyers don’t feel good when it appears you are selling too soon,” Jusko cautions. “What was wrong with the house? Why are you leaving so fast? Are the basement walls about to collapse? Are the neighbors selling drugs and shooting fireworks at your house? Buyers can dream up all kinds of negative scenarios when a seller hasn’t owned the home for very long.”

But beware of snap decisions

Of course, there are no promises that selling will be better for you in the long run.

Jusko and his wife lived in Chicago in the early 2000s when home values were through the roof. After about three years, they sold at a 40% profit. But soon after moving to the Cleveland area, where they’re both originally from, home values plummeted.

“For many years, our home was worth less than what we paid,” Jusko says. “It’s only now—more than 15 years later—that I believe we could sell for more than our purchase price. And don’t get me started on how much money we’ve put into the house over that time.”

Selling your home is, above all, a personal decision. Do what will help you live—if not happily ever after—happily for now.

The post How Long Should You Live in Your Home? 6 Signs It’s Time to Move On appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

5 Little White Lies That Are OK to Tell Potential Buyers

fizkes/iStock

Honesty is the best policy, but come on, it’s often tempting to fudge the truth a bit—even when selling a home. In fact, in certain situations, spilling too many beans could cost you a sale, so being vague may be the best policy.

To be clear, we’re not condoning lying to deceive potential buyers. As a seller, it’s your duty to be 100% upfront about things that could be harmful or expensive to fix, like the presence of lead paint in your home or the astronomical cost of maintaining the pool. But often a seller is dealing with a personal situation that doesn’t actually concern the buyer. So according to our expert sources, there are certain tidbits you can keep on the down low without causing any harm.

While the facts that follow are all innocuous to buyers, blurting them out could jeopardize the sale. Here’s how you can gloss over these tough situations while still being respectful to all parties involved.

Hard truth No.1: You’re selling due to money problems

Little white lie: ‘We felt it was time to downsize’

The state of your savings account isn’t anyone else’s business but yours. But hinting that you’re having money problems could make you look desperate to sell, and buyers could use it to their advantage.

“If a buyer senses a seller’s vulnerability, your negotiating stance will be compromised and may generate lowball offers,” says Laura E. Usher, a real estate agent for Kinlin Grover Real Estate and president of Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors.

Hard truth No. 2: Your relationship is in trouble

Little white lie: ‘We decided it was time for a change of scenery’

Marriage ending? You may want to keep that to yourself, says Paul Silverman, a broker associate for Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty in Houston.

“It could show desperation and isn’t a material fact of the home condition,” he says.

However, the rules on disclosing a divorce vary depending on where you live.

“In Texas, the seller’s disclosure asks if there are any legal proceedings that could affect the property, and divorce could be one of them,” says Silverman. Defer to your real estate agent’s advice for how much to disclose about your rocky relationship.

Hard truth No. 3: You’re down in the dumps about everything right now

Little white lie: ‘Everything’s fine’

Sometimes, a move isn’t due to a happy occasion, but out of necessity. Maybe you lost your job, went through bankruptcy, had a death in your family, or are grappling with a serious illness. All these reasons should evoke sympathy, but that doesn’t mean you should share them with a possible buyer.

As harsh as it sounds, “some buyers will attempt to take undue advantage of the situation,” says Kyle Alfriend, managing partner for Alfriend Real Estate Group Re/Max Achievers in Dublin, OH.

Hard truth No. 4: You made an offer on a new home—and must close ASAP

Little white lie: ‘We’re looking’

Perhaps you’ve already found the next home of your dreams, but your offer for it is contingent on your selling your house. That’s all fine—and very common—but don’t announce it.

“If I was to tell a buyer that my seller was already in escrow on a property, then [they] know that my seller needs to sell quickly,” says Tracey Hampson, a real estate agent for Century 21 Real Estate in Santa Clarita, CA. “The buyer could come in with a lowball offer or ask for the world because they know the seller has to sell.”

Hard truth No. 5: You haven’t gotten any serious offers yet

Little white lie: ‘We’re expecting an offer soon’

There’s no need to confess that your house hasn’t seen much traffic during open houses or that you haven’t entertained a single serious buyer.

“When I’m asked if we have any offers, I usually respond with, ‘We’ve had a lot of interest and are expecting an offer soon,’” says Hampson. “I didn’t lie, and I’ve stayed loyal to my seller.”

Regardless of how many offers you have or haven’t received, you should “communicate that you love your home, are sad to leave, and the price is fair,” Alfriend says.

The post 5 Little White Lies That Are OK to Tell Potential Buyers appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

6 Home-Selling Mistakes That Make Real Estate Agents Cringe

PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock

Not everyone has a knack for salesmanship, and this can become painfully apparent when homeowners try to sell their homes.

Want proof? Just ask real estate agents—who are hired expressly to lend their home-selling expertise, often to no avail. Try as they may to get their point across, sometimes home sellers just don’t listen.

Some mistakes might incite behind-the-back eye rolls, while others are so bad, agents felt compelled to reveal them, right here, in the hopes that they might persuade some of you more open-minded sellers to see the light—before you botch yet another sale.

Curious about the home-selling mistakes agents see time and again that make them cringe? Check out these six doozies below to know what not to do when selling your own digs.

1. Your home smells funny

“Sometimes sellers don’t understand how offensive their home smells. I’ve had sellers who smoke like chimneys, and buyers freak out when they go through the house. There are others whose homes smell like they never clean—or bathe. And plenty of sellers don’t understand that the pet smells in their house are overwhelming. If your agent tells you there is an offensive smell, believe it.” – Blayne Pacelli, Rodeo Realty, Studio City, CA

2. Your home has way too much ‘personality’

“I have sellers whose homes are way too customized to their taste, which is going to turn off lots of buyers. It’s hard to sell a property when there are red, orange, and dark brown walls—and so frustrating when a new coat of paint could solve the problem. Granted, some people have uniquely charming taste, but I’ve found that introducing some supplemental staging to soften and neutralize the rooms helps a ton.” – Justin Paulhamus, M Squared Real Estate, Washington, DC

3. You turn down a showing

“When sellers make the home difficult to show, they’re often increasing the amount of time the house will spend on the market, which can reduce their pool of buyers, and ultimately end up attracting lower offers. We understand that kids have nap times or that you prefer to relax on your day off, but buyers aren’t a patient bunch. If your home is unavailable to see on the day they are making visits, they might not make an effort to see it again. The same is true for sellers who constantly cancel showings at the last minute. It makes everyone look bad.” – Rae Dolan, Champions Real Estate Group, Katy, TX

4. You set up cameras to spy on buyers

“I’ve found that many home sellers these days have hidden cameras that they use to watch buyers tour their home remotely. It puts us in a bad spot as the selling agent, because buyers will make unfavorable comments, and we can’t respond. Even if the buyer is not our client, it’s important for agents to build a relationship of trust. For example, we would like to agree with them that the bright-green carpet is hideous. With this new seller tactic of recording, we cannot speak freely for fear of losing the listing. We have to either disagree with buyers—which they hate—or find a way to skirt the issue. But either way, in the end, there are no winners.” – Sarah Findel, Engel & Völkers, Colts Neck, NJ

5. You hang out during your open house

“Nothing makes a buyer want to exit a house faster than a seller who is following them around the home. Some sellers think they can ‘sell’ the buyer on the home, but in reality, it makes the buyer feel uncomfortable. It can also backfire, of course, as sellers overshare, maybe about an unfinished project or a reason that they are selling the house, which can instill doubt in the buyers’ mind.” – Rae Dolan, Champions Real Estate Group, Katy, TX

6. You pose as a buyer to try to drum up interest

“Last year I had a seller stay at an open house in his own apartment, pretending to be a prospective purchaser. He pushed his baby around the apartment in the stroller while loudly talking up all of the attributes of the property in front of other people. Frankly I wasn’t sure whether to cringe or laugh.” – Steven Gottlieb, Warburg Realty, New York City

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