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Dont Do These 35 Things If You Want to Sell Your House

When the housing supply is tight, you don't want to make any mistakes selling your home. But you definitely don't want to do these things.

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Don't Spend Big Money on Improvementsrina Kvyatkovskaya/Shutterstock

Don't Spend Big Money on Improvements

A good rule of thumb for improvements is if it costs you $2,500 to update your bathroom, you should see a market gain of $10,000 to justify the improvement. The philosophy to not spend big money on improvements to sell your home is really geared toward those major improvements that are purely cosmetic. "I recently had clients who had a home that needed in excess of $20,000 in updates to get in line with the competition in the area that was attracting the higher prices," saidJared Hoylo, Realtor at Remax. "The homeowners knew if they did the repairs they wouldn't get an $80,000 increase in value, and they elected to simply list below the competition by $10,000. The home sold within 25 days." With the price of improvements, the homeowner must consider the disruption to the household, cost overruns, and the general headache of dealing with the remodeling process. If a seller knows that an item is on its last leg, get bids from contractors before listing your home and be prepared for buyers to ask for a repair as a result of the inspection. The buyer always thinks improvements cost three times as much as they really do. These are the most bang-for-the-buck home improvement projects out there.

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Don't Disregard Curb AppealArtazum/Shutterstock

Don't Disregard Curb Appeal

Having a good landscape contractor in your back pocket can help sellers out when preparing the home for sale.Mulching,bush trimming, tree branch removal, and simple plantings can go a long way in setting your home apart from the competition. These projects are generally affordable and can be done by the DIY weekend warrior as well. "I recently had a client reach out to me late last summer when they knew they were going to be moving the following spring," said Hoylo. "We had the professional photographer come out and snap a few exterior photos for our listing that was going to be active during January. These home pictures went a long way for the seller to convey what they had for plantings and curb appeal during the dead of winter." Here are some ideas on how toimprove your curb appealfor selling your home.

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Don't Ask for More Than Your Home is Worthcreate jobs 51/Shutterstock

Don't Ask for More Than Your Home is Worth

When residential real estate inventory is low, the market is hot for sellers. However, that does not mean buyers are going to overpay for a home. Too often some sellers treat the real estate process like they are trying to sell something online, and will leave room to negotiate. "A home that is priced correctly regarding market history will receive an offer in the normal amount of time," said Hoylo. "Correct pricing allows the market to dictate how much the home is really worth by creating the possibility of multiple offers. The seller who shoots for the moon and asks for more than their home is worth ultimately loses out on ready, willing, and able buyers. The home can then become stigmatized as over priced and buyers may choose to skip the property outright. Plus: Check out these 20 ideas to make your home sell faster.

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Don't Leave Clutter in Your Closetvarandah/Shutterstock

Don't Leave Clutter in Your Closet

Buyers will open the fridge, test the cabinetry, open the pantry closet, and view the bedroom closets. Remove and storepreferably off siteall valuables, medications, firearms, and other memorabilia that may have a monetary or personal value. Here are some DIY ways toorganize and clear the clutterbefore you put your home on the market.

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Don't Forget, Odors LingerBestPhotoPlus/Shutterstock

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," said Hoylo. "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 twoDIY tips for cleaningandeliminating odorsbefore you sell your home.

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Don't Forget the DetailsNARONGRIT LOKOOLPRAKIT/Shutterstock

Don't Forget the Details

When buyers are looking at a home, they are looking at the details. Do light fixtures work, appliances, doors. Are thewindows clean? Paying attention to fixing these little details shows the buyer the home has been cared for and loved. This attention to detail can increase the home's value. Here is some advice on howto repair a light fixturein your home.

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Don't Decorate with Your Political Affiliations, Degrees, Family Portraits, or Bear RugsZdenek 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." Check out our 14 best practices for DIY home staging.

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Don't Add Urinalsohmmzz/Shutterstock

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. Instead, opt for any of these 16 cheap bathroom updates with wow factor.

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Don't Add a SunroomLorna 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. Adeckorpatiois a much better idea.

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Don't Get Too TrendyDaxiao Productions/Shutterstock

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 somepainting tipsto check out before you pick up a brush. According to Zillow, this paint color can help you sell your house for $6,000 more.

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stockfour/Shutterstock

Don’t Avoid the ’99’ Strategy When Selling a Home

Inreal 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 neighborhoodand 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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Solis Images/Shutterstock

Don’t Get ‘Creative’ with Your Asking Price When Selling a Home

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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NicoElNino/Shutterstock

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 theyll 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 When Selling a Home

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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Family Handyman

Don’t Be Unprepared for Closing Costs

Additional costs during closing caninclude 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 atclosingmeans it might make sense to putless money down in order to pay for the added expenses. Often closing costs are paid by the seller, but in competitive markets, its 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 theres 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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fizkes/Shutterstock

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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CapturePB/Shutterstock

Dont Take Your Own Photos

Your Instagram account might be lit but chances are the interior of your house wont 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

Dont 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

Dont Force Brands on Buyers

Similar to avoiding leaving personal items around the house, dont 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 comboand how to save buckets of money when buying a washer/dryer combo.

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Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

Dont Get Offended by a Low Offer

Its all part of the game and youre supposed to meet in the middle at the end, right? A low offer shouldnt 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

Dont 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 shouldnt 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

Dont 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. Its always better to be safe than sorry.

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

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Dont Agree to a Purchase Contract with an Unqualified Buyer

Some home buyers will overlook getting pre-approval before house hunting so its 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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Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Dont 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. Itll 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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DFH17APR054_shutterstock_259834478-1Photographee.eu

Dont 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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VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

Dont 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 whos 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

Dont 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.