While the market right now is moving fast, this can change overnight. Still, there are some general best practices to follow when selling your house. More importantly, there are a number of mistakes you should avoid when selling. Here is our selection of the top five dos and don’ts when it comes to selling your house effectively.


Do This

1. Have Proper Lighting

Having your home properly lit inside and out can make the world of a difference. Not only will is it more attractive to possible buyers, but it completely enhances the look of the pictures of your listing. Being that your listing pictures are your first impression on your buyers, you want to make sure you grab their attention. Remove your drapes and be sure to clean your windows. If possible, get light bulbs with higher wattage. This is sure to make your house more attractive and sellable.

2. Hide Your Pets

You may be thinking that buyers would be attracted by an adorable puppy, but unfortunately, there is a negative side. Keep in mind that not everyone likes animals. You don’t want your buyers to walk into your home only to see cat litter or dog hair. This will quickly give your potential buyers the impression that the home is not clean. So, when planning your showings and/or open houses, be sure to conceal indications of animals and maybe send your beloved pets to a friend or relatives house for the day.

3. Price it Properly

Make sure you are working with someone who can develop the best pricing strategy given current market conditions as well as your area’s home value trends. Even during slow moving markets, the correctly priced homes can and will still sell. It’s simply a matter of working with an expert listing agent who understands your area and has a track record of success. In some instances, an effectively priced home can result in offers that come in over asking price as well as multiple offers. In those cases, the seller reaps the benefits.

4. Tidy Up those Closets and Shelves

All buyers look for a home with good storage. We all could use some extra space in our homes. It’s smart to clean out your closets and then organize what’s left. Make the closet look appealing because buyers will tend to snoop. You can do the same for your pantries and shelves. Less clutter makes it look like there is more space. Strive to appeal to the buyer.

5. Make Your Kitchen the Show Stopper

Your kitchen is the jewel of your home. There is an endless list of benefits that come from remodeling your kitchen. Although a hefty investment, you are likely to get 85% of your money back from selling. A few thousand dollars for fresh appliances and new countertops is way better than a buyer asking to knock off $15,000. Some fast and inexpensive updates to consider include fresh paint and new cabinet hardware. Also, you could throw some cash towards stainless steel appliances. The bottom line, your kitchen could sell your home.


Don’t Do This

1. Sell Without a Real Estate Agent

Yes, it is possible to sell your home on your own, but you should do your research first. Without an agent you’d be responsible for your own marketing, dealing with the title company, handling legal documents, negotiations and more. At a minimum you will certainly need to hire a real estate attorney to assist with legal parts of the transaction and the escrow process. You are much better off avoiding all of these headaches and working with a professional that can represent your interests every step of the way.

2. Be Unrealistic with Your Listing Price

You may think your home is worth more while your agent is telling you exactly what you should list it for. Any agent will be quick to tell you that overpricing your home is the number one mistake sellers make. The listing price could easily be detrimental to selling your home. Your agent will take a look at homes in your area and see their value along with your appraisal. Price your home accordingly to attract buyers and get offers.

3. Let Simple Updates, Repairs Go Unfinished

If you’re ready to sell and you’ve got a list of minor updates you’ve been neglecting for some time, get this fixed ASAP. From replacing outlets and outlet covers to patching scratches and minor holes in the walls, when it’s time to sell, invest the few dollars and hours it takes to fix these issues. People buying houses notice are looking at your home with a critical eye. The more issues they notice, the less attractive your home looks to potential buyers, even if those issues are minor.

4. Cheap Out on Listing Photos

You want your photos to be crisp and clear. These photos are your chance at a good first impression on a potential buyer. If your pictures are dull, low quality, and terribly lit; you are likely to turn a buyer away in an instant. Do yourself a favor and hire a professional to capture the best assets in your home. This will make your listing much more attractive.

5. Not Accommodate Buyers to the Best of Your Ability

If a potential buyer reaches out and want to view your home, make it happen. Yes, even if it inconveniences you. Your buyer will feel welcomed and more interested. Make sure to tidy up the home before every showing. Remember, your buyer isn’t going to care that you just cleaned last week. Take pride in the presentation.

BONUS: Should You Sell In Winter?

There are differing perspectives on this. On one hand, winter time is always slow for the housing market. Fewer people are looking to move and the holidays are coming up. Also, families with children in grade school are already into their new school year, so moving isn’t ideal for them.

“There are a lot of people buying at this time [winter] and if someone isn’t looking year round, their perfect home could be missed,” said Kathleen Potter, real estate agent in Bloomfield Hills, MI. “At least in Michigan there really isn’t a bad time to list your home because of the number of buyers out there.”

On the other hand, a highly motivated buyer might be ready to buy your home and fast. Because many follow the logic that selling in winter isn’t ideal, that means there is typically fewer houses on the market. If your home is move-in ready, you might benefit from listing in winter. It all depends on your market and your particular situation. Ultimately, your real estate agent can help guide you through the process.


Keep in mind that in addition to selling your house, it’s likely you’re also hunting to buy a new home at the same time. This is w\here having a strong team surrounding you during this process is so important. Additionally, the amount of house you can afford might depend upon the sale of your existing house. Either way, it is important to speak with a local mortgage professional to make sure all the pieces are in place for this major life change.