8 Mistakes That Keep People From Selling Their Home

Selling a home isn’t always simple … Why make it more complicated than it needs to be? 

Most people take the time to think about the things that they should do before selling a home — 

finding a realtor, setting a price, and dealing with repairs. But few people think about the things they shouldn’t be doing.

When selling a house, there are certain things that should be avoided at all costs — are you guilty? If so, it could be preventing a speedy sale.  

8 Mistakes That Keep People From Selling Their Home

Pricing your home too high

Real estate is an investment. It stands to reason that you’d want the best return on that investment. However, when it comes to setting a selling price, you’ve got to be realistic. 

Often, there’s a big gap between what you think your house “should” sell for and what it’s actually worth in the current market. You’re biased — you have a sentimental attachment to the home, plus you’re motivated by getting the best price possible. 

Unfortunately, you can’t just set the price sky-high and hope for the best. That will only turn off buyers and make them look elsewhere. Ultimately, you’ll probably have to lower the price anyway. 

Most sellers don’t have enough knowledge of the market to set a fair price without help. Seek the advice of experts like real estate agents and home inspectors. These experts can give you unbiased advice based on market knowledge that’s a whole lot more accurate than your gut feelings.

Not budging on price

This point builds on the last one. Maybe you’ve set a price … But you’ve taken on an attitude of “I’ve chosen my lane and I’m sticking to it.” Nobody’s going to bring you down on that asking price.

But you’ve got to remember — the process of homebuying is a negotiation. That means you’ve got to be willing to play the game. 

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They’re shelling out a lot of money — of course they’re going to try their hand at saving a few bucks when it comes to making an offer. 

As much as you can, work with them. If a buyer feels like they’re meeting resistance, they might just pack up their purse and seek sunnier pastures — or at least another potential home with more flexible sellers.

Be willing to bend a little on the price. Consult with your agent about potential counter-offers. Remember, your agent wants to keep the price as high as possible as it increases their commission, so they won’t lead you astray when it comes to knowing how much to give.  

Showing a messy home to potential buyers

You never have a second chance to make a first impression. You might not think it matters how clean your home is for showings. But you’re wrong.

Don’t count on buyers to be able to visualize beyond the clutter. People want to envision their new life in this space. They don’t want the grim reality of daily clutter or dust or messiness.  

You want your space to appear clean and aspirational. That starts with cleanliness. Cleaning your home creates a blank canvas for the buyers to imagine themselves in the space. 

Don’t just worry about the interior of your house. People are going to be looking at the exterior, sidewalks, garden, and yard, too. So don’t have a weed-filled garden or trash on the sidewalk. It can really turn off potential buyers. 

Poor-quality photographs in your listing

Often, the first contact people have with the home you’re selling is through an online listing. If you think they’re reading the description first, you’re dreaming. They’re looking at the photographs.  

It might seem like taking your own photos is a great way to save money. But do you really know what you’re doing? Low lighting, unflattering shots, or blurry images can all reduce your chances of making a sale.

Hiring a professional to make your home look as good as possible might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can pay off in the long run. Not only do these professionals know how to maximize light and space, but they’re also better-versed than you in what types of details buyers like to see in photos. The more appealing your home is in photos, the more likely it is to attract buyers!

Leaving personal belongings in plain sight

Staging your home for showings is an art. You want it to look comfortable yet neutral. Basically, you want potential buyers to imagine their life in this home — not to be thinking about the life you’re currently leading there. 

To that end, it’s smart to put all of your personal belongings out of sight. Pay particular attention to anything that might showcase your personal political or religious leanings. Within the space of your home it may feel safe to have these items on view, but it can rub some people the wrong way. 

It’s not personal — it’s simply a matter of creating a blank canvas to let others dream. 

Attending your own open house

Nobody likes a lurker. Attending your own open house might seem like a great way to hasten a sale, but it’s not. A seller’s presence at the open house puts people on edge and can actually work against your goal of getting your house sold.

A buyer really wants to check the nuts and bolts of the place — that means opening cabinets, testing the taps, and turning on appliances. They may not feel comfortable really investigating in these ways with the seller in the room — and that could keep them moving to the next open house. 

Leave this one to the professionals. Your real estate agent can handle this!  

Making it hard for agents to show your home

Help your real estate agent help you. After all, you have a common goal: selling your home! 

Often, showings come up on the fly. Make it easy for your agent to show the place by giving them a key so they have open access. 

Flexibility is key. If you can be flexible about allowing showings on a moment’s notice, it could speed up a potential sale. Of course, this does mean that you’ll have to keep your home looking good at all times. Consider hiring a cleaner on a weekly basis, or just be responsible about cleaning as you go about your life. 

Leaving pets at home during showings

If at all possible, make sure your pet is off-site during showings. Not everyone is an animal lover like you — people have fears, allergies, and aversions. Even if a potential buyer is an animal lover, your pet could be distracting. 

In general, it’s easier to conduct business without a pet present. So if possible, try to take your pet with you when you vacate the premises for showings, or try to secure a different space for your pet to stay while your home is being shown. 


If you’re selling your home, you probably want to sell your house as quickly as possible and for the best price possible. To make that goal a reality, make sure to avoid these common pitfalls that could make the process drag on longer than necessary.

All of these common mistakes are easy to avoid — it’s simply a matter of being proactive and responsible, and turning to the pros for assistance when needed!

Have you ever made any of these common mistakes when selling a home?

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