How NOT To Sell Your House

I’ve been thinking lately of all the weird things sellers do without thinking to put buyers off when they go to look at houses. If your house is on the market or you are thinking of selling, here are some do’s and don’ts (mostly don’ts):

1.  Don’t think we can’t smell your pets.  I’ve walked into homes where the first thing I thought was, “Cat.”  Then I go into the bathroom and think, “Oh man! So Cat!”  And then, in the tub behind the shower curtain, (always) is the kitty litter box. Pet odor is also a substantial liability: I’ve heard that buyers sue over cat pee more than anything else. 

2. Don’t cook a big Indian meal right before your open house. Or eggs and bacon. Or something with lots of garlic.

3. Don’t think people won’t open your drawers. I was at an open house once where I opened a drawer in a television cabinet and found it loaded with porn videos. I was terribly embarrassed and walked around the rest of the time with my arms plastered to my sides.

4. Don’t try to demonstrate how much furniture you can fit into a room.  When I’m in a hurry touring property on a Tuesday, I don’t want to run an obstacle course around your stuff. When our Sellers need to remain in the home during the marketing period, we usually recommend putting half their furniture and accessories in storage.

5. Don’t leave all your very favorite art up on the walls. I showed a home once where the entire living room wall was covered with snapshots of male body parts. It was highly entertaining, but a day later I couldn’t remember anything else about the house.

4. Don’t leave a joint and roach clip on your bedside table. This is another house where I remember hardly anything except that the guy’s bed had a great sunset view of Twin Peaks.

6. Don’t play your favorite Madonna music on a boom box in the kitchen. Some people might think this gives their house a cool aesthetic, but I’d go for something a little more neutral, like classical. Boring, I know, but very safe.

7. Don’t make sure everyone knows your cultural and political preferences. You may love that photo of you with Al Gore. I may love that photo of you with Al Gore.  But we’re trying to appeal to the masses here, and you don’t want your place to be remembered by a Republican as the “House with the Al Gore Picture.”