4 Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make

As a decor stylist/ stager in numerous houses and condos every week to give advice or roll up my sleeves and rearrange, I fix common mistakes many of these sellers are about to make until they understand what effective market preparation means today.

Mistake #1 Expect buyers to be won over by a clean house. There was a time, and not that many years ago, when clean, tidy and in good repair was considered exceptional prep for selling. Today, this is a great start but there is so much more needed to wow a buyer. We use lifestyle selling, current styles and colours, and flow details to grab the attention of the property’s likely buyers.

Mistake #2 Assume the buyer will want what the seller wants. In fact there’s a good chance your target buyer will want very different things than you because of a difference in your age or lifestyle. Your stager and Realtor can tell you what usage, colors and materials your target buyer is looking for. If you always wanted bookcases in the family room, that’s not a reason to set them up for selling. It may be that the room will show much better with the added space without them. You may like heavy, solid wooden stools at the counter however your buyer may connect better to a trendier style.

Mistake #3 Scent the home for selling. Whether this is the use of plug-ins, a spray scent, or the baking of an apple pie, almost any smell can actually drive a buyer away. Chemical smells are toxic to anyone with sensitivities, and raise the question of what they are hiding. What we think of as a great fragrance may bring on a terrible memory for someone else, and smells can distract the buyer from the house entirely if they activate hunger. Unintentional smells such as last night’s fish dinner can also be a real turn-off. My advice? Strive for clean, fresh air.

Mistake #4 Showcase the challenges of the home. Instead, pay attention to subliminal messages you give to buyers and avoid pointing out any challenges. Do you store kitchen appliances and extra food stuffs on a shelf in the basement? This tells buyers that you have no room in the kitchen; store them off site instead. Are your clothes in messy piles on the shelves in your closet, telling buyers the closet is inefficient? Show obsessively neat piles instead, or even better baskets that hide the clothes. Does the front step need scraping and painting every year? Ensure pristine condition when buyers come through; work required should not be the first message they get as buyers view the home.

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