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Eight Beginner’s Mistakes That Could Prevent the Sale of Your Home

Is your home failing to catch a buyer’s eye? While there could be a valid reason, many times your home could be sitting on the market because of a beginner’s selling mistake. The good news? These basic slip-ups can be easily corrected or avoided. Here, identifies eight common mistakes people make in trying to sell their home.

1. Overpricing your home

All sellers want to get top dollar for their house. Unfortunately, many people overestimate the value of their home. For example, if a neighbor sells their house for $400,000, you might automatically assume that your house is worth at least that much money, but that’s not necessarily the case. Price typically is the reason why a house doesn’t sell, and the last thing you want to do is list too high right from the start. That could cause your house to sit on the market, which might require you to make a serious price reduction in order to sell. Your best approach: Listen to your agent’s listing price recommendation, and try not to get too emotional if your agent’s suggestion isn’t as high as you’d hoped.

2. Not budging on price

Even if the price is right, you might need to be flexible—especially if you’re in a buyer’s market. So, if you receive an offer that’s below list price, you should at least consider making a counteroffer. After all, receiving $5,000 or $10,000 less for your house than what you wanted is a small concession in the long term.

3. Doing a bad job of cleaning

Your home needs to be spotless. That might mean hiring a professional to do a deep and thorough cleaning of the entire place. You might want to consider renting a storage locker to make the process of cleaning out the garage, closets and attic less difficult. But it likely will be worth it, because clutter distract buyers in a big way. Bonus: A clean house also will enable you to take great photographs for your listing.

4. Using unprofessional photographs

Unless you’re an artist with the camera, you’ll want to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your house, because nearly half of home buyers begin their search online, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors. A photographer will cost between $150 and $400—a good investment.

5. Leaving religious or political belongings in plain sight

You never know what type of buyer is going to look at your house, so put away all personal belongings—specifically, religious or political items that can be very polarizing. You don’t want anything in sight that will distract buyers.

6. Lurking around at your own open house

This is a huge mistake for several reasons. If the buyer knows that the seller is there, they might feel uncomfortable asking the listing agent honest questions about the home. Buyers also might also feel like they’re intruding if you’re present. People like to open closet doors and examine the home closely without someone hovering over their shoulder.

7. Making it difficult for agents to show your home

You’ll need to be flexible when buyers ask to see your home on short notice. To make it easy for agents to show the property while you’re away, let your agent install a lockbox with keys to the house.

8. Leaving pets at home during showings

Some people are simply scared of pets, or they might have allergies. So, don’t just crate your dog or cat during showings; instead, take them with you or drop them off with a neighbor while buyers are viewing the house. And because pets, like humans, tend to accumulate lots of stuff—leashes, collars, toys, water bowls—make sure you stow their paraphernalia in a cupboard or closet. And do a quick vacuum of pet hair before you go.