Fab Real Estate Blog: Top Seller Mistakes - Negligent Houskeeping

Top Seller Mistakes - Negligent Houskeeping

In an effort to reduce the stress of selling your home, and to make the process fun, enjoyable and profitable for home owners, we need to discuss the common mistakes made by some sellers.  Previously, we discussed overpricing, which can certainly turn off prospective buyers and their agents.

As we continue our discussion of mistakes sellers make when selling their home, the presentation of the house itself must be discussed.

Negligent Housekeeping
Take a good, objective look at the condition of the interior and exterior of your home. Is the paint fresh on the walls and trim? Is the carpet clean? Are windows sparkling? Are yards and walkways free of trip hazards and surrounded by bright, cheerful plantings? Clean, well-kept homes with an updated appearance always have an advantage, and a little decorating appeal can go a long way. Be sure to remove any clutter.  Allow buyers to be able to envision themselves living in the home.

You don't have to buy new furniture to create charm, but you can put toys and knick-knacks away, freshen up paint and carpets, make the most of window coverings, add a few key accessories, and trim back and replace landscaping plants as needed.  Blooming, flowering plants near the walkway and front door always add to a beautiful ambience.  Open those curtains and turn on those lights! You want your home to appear clean and comfortable.  Work with your real estate agent to determine what items need your attention.

Prior to your home going on the market, start packing for your move.  Rent a storage space if needed, and

  • Store that excess furniture
  • Thin out your closets and remove the excess clothing
  • Put some kids' toys away (then they'll be new toys again when you move into your new home!)
  • Remove unneeded cookware and gadgets from the kitchen cabinets
  • Eliminate everything from kitchen and bathroom counters that you don't need to use every day
  • Clear out tools and your workbench from the garage or basement
  • Hide away unneeded garden and lawn equipment
  • Remove any expensive or sentimental items that you do not want damaged
  • Hide all prescription medications
  • Remove any guns or other weaponry that could upset potential buyers

And, of course, don't forget to clean every day, or at least prior to every showing of your home.  Vacuum and/or mop the floors.  Wipe down all kitchen and bathroom counters and sinks.  Take out the garbage - every day.  Don't allow dirty laundry to accumulate.  Sweep up leaves and dirt from the driveway and walkways.  Keep the lawn neat and mowed. 

Most of these items can be done before your home goes on the market.  Then, set up a daily morning routine for regular maintenance of cleaning issues.  Once you begin, it becomes a lot less work than you imagine.  Keep in mind that selling your home is not the same as living in your home.  With a little concerted effort, you can maintain your home as a shiny, sparkling show place that buyers will put at the top of their list, generating a sale quicker.  And remember, the faster your home sells, the less cleaning and upkeep you will have to do in the long run!


Comment balloon 6 commentsDon Fabrizio-Garcia • December 28 2006 08:39AM


... don't forget, no taxidermied cats.
Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) about 12 years ago


I usually think the non taxidermied cats housekeeping is the most important....   Not that I am a fan of taxidermied cats or dogs..  but they are probably much less odiferous... and never jump on buyers or real estate agents.  

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 12 years ago

I find it's the clutter more than anything else that hinders a house sale.

When they have 7 items on the mantel instead of 3. When there are piles of magazines on the side table. When the kitty litter smells. When they've been cooking with garlic, onions and strong spices!

And, they can hire a cleaning service to do a really big, bang-up job...but only after they've removed, donated or stored (off-site) their "junque."

Posted by Eileen Landau, ABR, CRS, e-PRO (BAIRD & WARNER, NAPERVILLE) about 12 years ago

Chris - You're right.  No taxidermied cats!  I was actually thinking of adding to the list: no taxidermied hunting specimens, either.

Maureen - cats are a problem for me - I'm allergic to them.  If a cat uses its litter box, then there's no problem.  But, if that cat has had accidents, I can usually tell as soon as I walk into the house.  By the time I leave, my eyes are red and swollen and I have a major headache.

Eileen - It's all about clutter, clutter, clutter.  Have to remove it, remove it, remove it!  As for spices, I once had to tell a seller to avoid cooking with curry while her house was on the market.  She then demanded I pay for her to eat out until the house sold.  Didn't happen.  But she did stop using curry for a few weeks until the house sold.

We should add:  no frying your foods, no cooking of fish.  What else?

Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) about 12 years ago

I would add don't forget to flush the fish n' flush.  

Don, welcome to AR.  I am late in stopping by to say Hi.  I haven't seen you since I disappeared from RT about 6 months ago, so its great to have you here. 

Posted by Maureen Francis & Dmitry Koublitsky, Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel (Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel) about 12 years ago
Maureen - I saw your post on the Fish n' Flush.  I don't think I ever commented - I was too busy showing that to everyone I know.  You'll think I'm nuts, but I SO want one of those for my kids' bathroom.  Except that I can see my 5-year old trying to take the fish out and really flushing them!

For those who don't know what we're talking about, take a look at Maureen's post about the Fish n' Flush here.
Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) about 12 years ago