18 Ways to Ruin Your Home Listing

Ruin Your Home Listing

In recent times, there is a steady pace in the housing industry, causing more and more homeowners willing to put their houses available on the market.

Do not mess up the situation.

If you have been reading the news, you are probably aware that it is a “sellers’ market” in many places today.


even though the market is high, as the selling rates are up and the inventory is low, do not get too excited and get careless with your decisions.

Yes, this is crazy.

But there are various ways you can  foul up your home sale:

1. Opting to Sell Your House Through FSBO (For Sale by Owner).

Here’s the deal.

Attempting to market your property all on your own is pure insanity.

Lots of homeowners think that it is easy to accomplish given that market is hot while you save money on commission.

Sure, it is tempting that there is no need to pay an real estate agent a commission, but these professionals are there for a reason.

You need an expert who knows how to get around the piles of needed paperwork. An agent can also make a deal for on your favor.

According to statistics, an agent assisted housing sale has reached $215,000 compared to a FSBO sold for $174,900.

2. Pricing Your Home Incorrectly.

It is not ideal to overprice your property as it could risk you some money.

Although the housing industry is hot, it is not hot enough for you to price your house much higher than the comparables do.

The main point here is, do not ask for a ridiculous amount as it can backfire on you. Your home could sit for weeks (or months) on the market and finding yourself with a house that just get stale.

What you should do is place the right price, study the competition, and never think someone will overpay for it unsuspectingly.

3. Posting Bad Photos.

About 90% of home buyers begin their search on the internet. It goes without saying that terrible photos can easily ruin the home sale.

For example, taking pictures of your house on your mobile phone on a cloudy day, for the purpose of posting them on online listings.

For this, your photos will likely get disregarded for a home sale with better photos.

The secret to this is you should present your house on its best look.

Take a picture of it when the light is shining perfectly through your windows, and when the interior looks clean and warm.

Never let your agent take pictures of your home with scattered items on the background.

Produce “wow” photos.

4. Neglecting to Make Home Repairs Before the Sale.

Not taking appropriate care of the home repairs before it becomes available on the market can lose you some money.

I believe you will agree with me that it is a major turn off to the prospective home buyers, checking it out, to see unsightly stains on the ceiling, leaky faucets, hot water heater that is not working, cracks on the floors and walls, etc.

In case there is a buyer who is willing to deal with those needed repairs, they will surely ask for credits or discounts that are much higher than making the repairs yourself.

5. Holding Onto Your Junk and Clutter.

You may be telling your agent “My house looks spick and span,” while thinking to yourself “The buyers will overlook my shelves stuffed with knick-knacks, the boxes and all sorts of collections lying around the house.”


you are probably explaining to your husband that you need a lot of time to pack and clear away all your extra junk.

Let me tell you, it is not the ideal way.

If you want to sell your house as fast as possible, devote one weekend to depersonalize, de-clutter and get rid of all the items that need to go.

Clutter tends to make a home look congested, which can only kill deals and eat equity. Do an inventory of all your belongings and figure out if you should throw, save, sell or store.

6. Disregarding Your Backyard

A great house curb appeal at the front sells easily, and the same goes to the back.

People usually turn their attention to the back spaces, especially in the fall and summer months, and imagine warm outdoor fun.

Maximize and make the most of your backyard to avoid losing a big part of the warm weather living areas.

Do not look at your backyard patio as just the place for storage of broken furniture pieces and old bikes.

You know what, it can be the best area in the house in the eyes of the buyer. With that, make your backyard area as nice as you have with your interior.

For example, put some flowers, grass, potted plants and trimmed bushes.

7. Keeping Buyers in the Dark.

Disclosure is the key. As soon as you have agreed on an offer, make sure to produce disclosure statements.

This includes disclosing you had some renovations done to your house without any permit.

Disclose that you have a roof leak in the attic a couple of years ago.

Disclose that if you use the microwave and dishwasher at the same time, the fuse blows.

Why? Because the buyers will still find out about them before long.

Purposefully keeping things from the buyers, creates an unpleasant and stressful closing. Worst of all, you are putting yourself accountable for the liability.

8. Involving Your Ego in the Negotiation.

Real estate dealings are considered business transactions. And because of that, there is absolutely no need for ego in this industry.

If you get a low offer, do not make the mistake of throwing insults, otherwise, you may lose out a win-win situation.

Keep your ego out of the picture and be sensible instead. Do not take things personal.

Always remember, getting your property sold and obtaining a smooth closing should be your ultimate goal.

9. Claiming Your have a Special House.

It is natural to be a proud owner of your home, and see it as the best one in the neighborhood.

Maybe it is because of the money and time you invested beautifying it. You may have handpicked every detail to improve your house. But, I hate to burst your bubble.

Your house does not make it worth more, just because you shell out a huge amount for its amazing features.

When a potential buyer is looking at your property, they are actually trying to visualize it as their own.

They will not think that your yellow kitchen walls match the blue counter-top.

In fact, they are probably calculating in their mind the amount of money they would have to spend to repaint, refinish and remove wherever needed.

Here’s the deal.

Acknowledge the fact that you are the only one who thinks your house is extra special.

Therefore, give consideration to your buyers and show them the cleanest and most simple form of your house.

Clean the place until it sparkles, paint, do necessary repairs, maintain the garden and throw all the clutter away.

Simply give your trust to your real estate agent regarding where you can price your house.

Do not forget one critical point; You will never get the exact amount you spent on home remodeling, even though you have a box stuffed with receipts to prove it.

10. Proclaiming Yourself as a Salesperson.

As a homeowner, you are just being helpful when you want to hang around every showing time in an effort to help your agents showcase how special your home is to the potential buyers.

You may be thinking the agent cannot present  your home as good as you can because you know all your home’s focal points.

So you stubbornly refuse to leave, you have a big smile and you are extremely pleasant to everybody.

You point out all the wonderful things about the house such as the custom wallpaper and hardwood flooring, simply because you are more effective at selling than the real estate professional who has not lived in your house.

Well, you really got it all wrong.

The truth is, you come off as annoying rather than ultra nice. You also give off an arrogant, if not creepy vibe.

Don’t you know that as you get too excited over the things you like about your home, the buyers do not share the same sentiments.

The proper thing for you to do is go out to give the potential buyers the space they want. Generally speaking, home buyers wish to have some privacy.

They would prefer to be alone than engage into an uncomfortable conversation with the homeowner.

Give them the time to think things carefully, as it is probably the most expensive decision they have to make.

11. Assuming the Prospects Will Return.

Imagine this scenario: You had just finished a tiring day at work. You are stuck in the traffic, while the kids at the back seat are bickering as usual. Everyone is hungry.

Suddenly, your real estate agent is calling to schedule a last-minute showing with a potential buyer, in half an hour.

Tough right?  And yet, you want to sell your property fast.

There are two options for this:

Option A: pleadingly reschedule the showing, and expect the agent and buyers to adjust their schedule for you.

Option B, keep in mind that these people may only have limited time to check out as many properties as they can prior to making a choice.

The buyers may be transferring from another state. And of course, you want to close the deal at the earliest opportunity.

The ideal solution is the Option B.

Regardless of what kind of day it is for you or what your current mood is, you should always be available and accommodating.

Sometimes, bend over backward to the buyers. These people are the ones who are paying you money and have the power to make your home sale happen.

And so, load up your restless kids,and go to the nearest drive-through to address all your hunger.

As you chose to meet the agent and the buyer on this rough time, you realize that your house must available all the time. Suck it up considering that buyers hardly ever return at your ideal time.

12. Not Willing to Compromise.

As you received a deal on your home sale, you likely approved the offer excitedly.

No matter how long your property was up on the market or what the terms and conditions are, it is an amazing moment for you because it would mean the showing is coming to an end and there are approximately one month away from the closing.

Following the home inspection, sometimes, the buyers would ask you to do some repairs, or give them a home warranty, or help them with the closing expenses.

The majority of buyers ask for these stuff and it is normal for the seller to cater to these requests.

As the seller, let the buyer know that you are serious about selling and willing to meet half way.

If you don’t, you may risk the deal and get stuck with a house that you spend money in repair and maintenance in the long run.

Of course, it is possible to list your property again, but expect it to sit on the market for one to three months or even more.

It goes without saying that there is a need for you to keep your house spotlessly clean, to go through more showings and lose sleep a result of all this pending home sale.

In addition to this, this pending sale comes with contingencies, which can go downhill for different reasons.

The home inspection is a contingency and the assessment is a different one.

Each of them may need you to be accommodating and willing to make a deal. You only have yourself to blame when the deal fails to work.

Moreover, your initial offer is normally the best one, and possibly the only one.

As soon as you get a buyer who is showing an interest, trust your real estate agent and work together with them to get your home sold in no time, minus the argument over a $400 home warranty or $200 light fixture.

13. Pets.

Almost everyone loves pets. But still, there are people who are allergic to pets, or have sensitive noses that do not like the smell of litter boxes and animal urine, or simply afraid of them.

If you have pets in your house, make sure your home does not any evidence that you have one.

That couch that is a favorite of your cat has to get scraped off by using a lint roller.

Remove the pet beds, food bowls, pet toys, scratching posts, and so on.

Do not forget the fur babies too. See to it that your backyard is clear of any landmines. It is better to hide the litter box in a garbage bag, closet or in the garage. In any case, just keep them out of sight (or smell).

First impression really lasts, so make yours a good one. Do not disregard the fact that a pet and pet odor can be a deal breaker, even though your house is perfect.

14. Adamant to Be Present in Every Showing.

You can hurt your sale being this stubborn, whether you realize it or not.

Sometimes, your real estate agent may just be too polite to tell you to leave and trust them with your own home. This can give you a long list of problems.

It can affect the negotiating skills of the agent, keep them out of the communication loop, and could probably cause you some legal liability.

15. Failing to Maintain Your Home.

Any home will sell sooner or later.

However, in order to maximize your profits from the acquisition of your home, you should maintain it accordingly.

A buyer notices every little detail and can have a negative effect on them if they see something they do not like. When this happens, they automatically think to themselves, “What else have they been neglecting.”

In most cases, the buyers ask for a discount on the cost of the house much more than what it would cost you to maintain your property.

Your home does not need to be in top condition, but it sure does help to sell it for a premium price.

16. Be Aware of Smells.

The day of a showing of your home is not a good time to cook. Even though your food tastes great, the smell could be powerful and lingers for quite a while.

Avoid giving your house the impression of a restaurant because of its smell.

17. Dispose of Personal Items.

Potential buyers usually imagine living in your own home during showing.

Therefore, hide anything too personal, such as family photos visible in the living room, or an artwork project of your child on the refrigerator.

18. Never Quit Your Job During Escrow.

Home buyers usually believe that if they have been authorized for a home loan, they can quit or change jobs shortly after.

However, that could be the reason to be denied for a home mortgage. Remember, banks confirm salary and employment before they finance your house loan.

If there is no verification, there will be no funds, then certainly no sale for you. Funding normally takes about two days prior to closing on your new house.


Martin - Head of Real Estate and Finance at RateTake
Martin is Head of Real Estate and Finance division at RateTake. He creates content that helps people understand and make the right decisions for their financial future.

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Written by ratetake


Martin is Head of Real Estate and Finance division at RateTake. He creates content that helps people understand and make the right decisions for their financial future.