Top 10 biggest Home Seller Mistakes

If are are about to sell your house and want to avoid the biggest home seller mistakes then this latest survey from Active Rain* makes timely  reading.

Active Rain asked 1000 real estate agents to rate the top 3 mistakes made by home sellers. An infographic of the top 6 mistakes is below. The full list of 10 follows.

Its interesting to note that of the 10 top mistakes, half of them are related to the presentation of the home – and this is why staging your house to sell (whether you do it yourself or use a home stager) is vitally important.

Here’s the full list

1. Overpriced home

I tell my clients that the 3 keys to house selling success are price, presentation and promotion. Like a 3 legged stool if one of these is out of alignment the stool will fall over. Price is a key factor. No matter how good your agent and your home stager your property won’t sell if it is overpriced.  An even worse mistake is being greedy about the house price yet ‘tight’ with the money you spend in preparation.

2. Showing availability

Imagine that your house is a coffee shop. If you aren’t open when your customers want  a coffee, and, to continue the analogy, didn’t tell people where your coffee shop was or even the price of your coffee then your customers would get their caffeine fix elsewhere.  If you are serious about selling you need to make your house available and easy to find.

3. Cluttered space

Within 5 minutes of starting a home staging consultation I have usually asked ‘do you have a storage unit?’  When preparing a house to sell you need enough furniture to show the purpose of the room and enough art and accessories to make the house feel like ‘home’. You don’t need the rest of the paraphernalia that clutters up your house. Remember, your buyers want to buy your house not your things.

4. Unpleasant odors 

This subject is one of the most popular search terms on my blog. Real estate agents often find it difficult to tell their clients that their house smells as they want to keep the relationship and the listing smelling sweet. I don’t mind! If I smell something I will say so. I’m an objective pair of eyes and nose. Here’s some great research on  ‘smells that sell’ 

5. Unwilling to negotiate

The majority of house sale are completed in 3 steps: Offer, counter offer and final offer. This is not personal, its business. Being stubborn or overly emotional will not help your house sale.

6. Won’t make repairs

Buyers want to buy your house not your ‘to do’ list and over estimate to the power of 3 what a repair will cost vs the actual cost. Remember, for buyers its not just a monetary cost they are considering, its a time cost too and they are busy people. The reason they don’t want to do your repairs is the same reason you don’t want to do them. Make the repairs and you will be closer to a quicker sale at a better price.

7.  Bad listing photos

With most buyers looking on-line for their new home your listing photos are of huge importance. Great presentation is the starting point. Professional photos are the indispensable icing on the cake.  For a funny look at how not to take a listing photo see terrible real estate agent photos

8. The home is just plain messy

This links back to the cluttered mistake in point 3 but it also relates to how you look after your property whilst on the market. There’s no point presenting your property beautifully for the photos only to let the presentation slide across the weeks. This is the reason that a lot of my business comes from busy families with kids who don’t want to live in the house whilst it’s on the market. How I stage their property is how it stays. Problem solved!

9. Sellers Who Like to Play Tour Guide During Showings 

This doesn’t happen in Australia (or not that I’ve seen) but in England it’s very normal and we’re all very English about it. It’s very uncomfortable being taken into the owner’s bedroom only 2 minutes after you’ve met whilst they say “this is the bedroom” (Really?!)  Even if you hate the property you gamely follow the owner round making polite comments. As my daughters would say “awkward!”

10. Picking the Wrong Agent

Your agent and their marketing and negotiation skills are key when selling. Its easy to work-out who is selling (not just listing) properties in your area by going to the sold section on and tapping in your suburb. Speak to 3 agents and look for agents that listen to you not talk at you.

And finally….

Writing this post bought to mind a blog post I wrote after a frustrating day in real estate. It’s called How NOT to sell your house in 10 easy steps Enjoy!

* ActiveRain is an online community of real estate professionals who exchange best practices, write real estate blogs, and get free education from the industry and their peers.

I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you want to sell quickly and for a great price without making the above mistakes then give me a call on 0432994056 or contact me through my website

3 thoughts on “Top 10 biggest Home Seller Mistakes

  1. Berta Fatso says:

    I also made few mistakes when I was in process of buying my house but everything turned fine. makarska real estate

  2. Caleb says:

    I think that you configured an accurate list. Many of these have a harmful impact on selling a home. Many who are selling a home often make multiple mistakes that are listed. This is good information for those who will be putting their house on the market in the near future.

    1. ib69 says:

      Hi Caleb. Agreed, it is often multiple mistakes! Thanks for commenting

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