6 Worst Mistakes Homeowners Make When Listing To Sell the House

6 Worst Mistakes Homeowners Make When Listing To Sell the House

August 29, 2022
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
common mistakes to avoid when selling your home

Even in a seller's market, which the US has maintained over the last few years, there are plenty of missteps that can be made when listing a home for sale. Mistakes like choosing the wrong real estate partner to pricing incorrectly can mean your home stays on the market longer than necessary and you don't get the money you deserve, and as the market begins to shift in favor of buyers, it's key for sellers to understand how to play in this market. To protect yourself from common home-selling mistakes by knowing what to watch out for ahead of time. It's imperative to make the right upgrades and make the right home improvements in your home. For example, choosing to install french doors in San Diego can immediately elevate your home's curb appeal and get more buyers interested. Here is a list of the six worse mistakes homeowners make when listing their houses.

1. Skipping the Pre-Sale Inspection 

Knowing what problems your house might have will help you set the right price for it. Understanding problems with your house can help when setting the right price. Many real estate agents recommend their clients get a pre-sale inspection. This will provide sellers with information that buyers may present them with during the home inspection period. If a seller knows in advance what may be problematic, they can consult with professionals and either make repairs or, at minimum, get quotes for the repairs.

Never try to hide major problems with your property. Any problem will be uncovered during the buyer's inspection. You have three options for dealing with any issues. Either fix the problem ahead of time, price the property below market value to account for it, or list the property at a normal price and offer the buyer a credit to fix the problem.

Remember, if you don't fix the problem in advance, you may eliminate a fair number of buyers who want a turnkey home. Having your home inspected before listing is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises after the home is under contract. Further, many states have disclosure rules.

Some require sellers to disclose known problems about their homes if buyers ask directly, while others decree that sellers must voluntarily disclose certain issues.

2. Hiring the Wrong Real Estate Agent

The right listing agent will serve as your partner when it comes to selling your home and will always put your interests first. Although real estate agents command a hefty commission—usually 5% to 6% of the sale price of your home—it's probably not a great idea to try to sell your home on your own, especially if you haven't done it before.1 It can be tempting, especially if you've seen all those "for sale by owner" signs on people's front lawns or on the Internet. So does it pay to hire an agent?

house listing

A good agent generally has your best interests at heart. They will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home, increasing your odds of a quick sale. An agent can also help tone down the emotion of the process by interacting with potential buyers and eliminating tire kickers who only want to look at your property but have no intention of making an offer.

Your agent will also have more experience negotiating home sales, helping you get more money than you could on your own. If any problems crop up during the process, an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly. This means there won't be any delays or unforeseen legal ramifications in the deal.

3. Putting the Wrong Price Down

When you set the value of your home too high or too low, you hurt the chance of making the most out of your home. Pricing a home can be tricky! If you price it too low, you could miss out on thousands of dollars in profit. Price it too high, and you could turn away serious buyers or run the risk of wasting weeks or months before you have to reduce the price to get an offer.

Don't trust the Internet. Ask a real estate agent for a comparative market analysis that will show you how much homes like yours are selling for in your area. Setting the right price from the start can make all the difference in how quickly you sell your home and how much money ends up in your pocket at the closing table.

4. Choosing Poor Photos in Your Listing

Most people will use the Internet to look for their new home, and photos are critical to attracting attention. A great list of photos can make or break how potential buyers receive a property online. Make sure that your real estate agent hires the best of the best to take your listing photos because clean, professional images showcase the unique and beautiful elements of your property the best.

Think about the way you want your home to appear on the MLS, on online listing sites, and on open house flyers. Grainy, vertical shots from a Realtor's cell phone won't get buyers in the door. 

Great listing photos can make a huge difference in a sale. How do you get great list photos? Do your homework before hiring your real estate agent. Ask your agent how important they feel listing photos are, if they use a professional photographer and if you can take a look at the photos from their past listings.

Many real estate agents will cover the cost of professional listing photographs, but even if you're not using an agent, professional photos are a must. After all, the majority of buyers search for homes online, and listing photos are your home's first impression. Most professional photographers only charge a couple of hundred dollars, and the result will be photos that are crisp and clean with lots of natural light, highlighting your home's best features.

5. Not Preparing Your Home 

You need to show potential buyers that your home is a perfect choice. Consider decluttering, de-personalizing, and repainting using neutral colors. Staging a home may not sound like a big deal, but skimping on this step is a huge home-selling mistake. Most sellers' agents report that staging a home has a dramatic impact on selling it faster. Also, a quarter of agents said staging increased the dollar amount of buyer offers by 1–5%, while others said it kicked that amount up by 6–10%. In other words, if you stage a $200,000 home, your offers might bump up an extra $2,000–20,000!

Sellers who do not clean and stage their homes throw money down the drain. Don't worry if you can't afford to hire a professional. There are many things you can do on your own. Failing to do these things can reduce your sales price and may also prevent you from getting a sale at all. If you haven't attended to minor issues, such as a broken doorknob or dripping faucet, a potential buyer may wonder whether the house has larger, costlier issues that haven't been addressed either.

Have a friend or an agent (someone with a fresh pair of eyes) point out areas of your home that need work. Because of your familiarity with the home, you may be immune to its trouble spots. Decluttering, cleaning thoroughly, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and getting rid of any odors will also help you make a good impression on buyers.


Beyond the prep that goes into making necessary repairs and replacements to your home, cosmetically prepping for showings is also key in getting a buyer hooked. Here's what you should be taking on at a minimum.

Repaint with neutral colors:

Do yourself a favor and repaint your home with neutral colors—creams, whites, and grays. Home buyers often have a hard time using their imagination when they've seen dozens of houses already. By letting them start with a clean slate, you can make it easier for a buyer to see the potential of the home.


Take down family photos, put away toiletries, take down your kids' drawings, and store personal collections out of sight. The goal of de-personalizing your home is to help prospective buyers envision their own lives in the space.


Clean your house. Get rid of clutter. Put away what you can, but don't just stuff the closets because they'll look there too.

Address interior cosmetic issues:

Broken light switches, stains, holes in walls, chipped or cracked glass, etc., should all be addressed before you list your house. Get your house as close to pristine as you can to help prospective buyers envision its potential.

Don't neglect curb appeal: It's common for potential buyers to judge someone negatively for having unkempt landscaping. Remember, those prospective buyers will already begin to form an opinion of your home before they ever cross the threshold. Make a good impression by doing some landscaping, repairing cracked and broken sidewalks and driveways, and painting the exterior (if it needs a fresh coat).

6. Being there During Showings

When a realtor gives a tour of your house, give your potential buyers the chance to imagine it as their own. Go out to the mall or to a coffee shop at this time. Sometimes, sellers think they know their home more than their agent and can share that information with the buyer. However, when the seller is present at a showing, it can and does make the buyer a little uncomfortable. If you're not there, they'll be more comfortable, honest, and open. If you're there, the buyer might be afraid to give that honest feedback because they don't want to offend you.


When a realtor is showing your house, leave. Don't close yourself off in an office or a bedroom. Instead, grab the kids and go to the park or hop out to a coffee shop.

Potential buyers like to imagine themselves in the home. There's nothing more uncomfortable than running the buyer out faster than a seller walking right behind them. 

Choose US Window and Door for Window Replacement 

The road to a successful closing date can be filled with potential mistakes. Making them can prove costly and can lead to a path of frustration. Avoid these mistakes, and you'll be in a much better position to get the sale you're looking for. 

If you're concerned about the overall curb appeal and functionality of your home, consider a window and door replacement for your home. Adding beautiful doors can help to elevate the home's exterior and give your home a wow factor. Hire a professional team like US Window and Door to help. We offer high-quality aesthetic doors and can replace them in no time. Schedule a free in-home consultation today.