4 Easy Ways to Sabotage the Sale of Your Home

Home sellers generally do what they need to in order to prepare their homes for sale, and to put themselves and the property in the best position for being sold in today’s market quickly and for the best price.

But sometimes sellers sabotage their sale, unintentionally, or even without realizing it. In other words, there are things that are done that make it tough for the home to sell. While as a seller you cannot control the market or your home’s location, there are some traps that you can definitely fall into that threaten the sale of your house. Here are 4 of them.


It goes without saying that pricing your home may be one of the most important things you must do to get your home sold. Holding out for a price that does not reflect local market conditions and demand, and in light of other issues like condition and location, can sabotage your sale.

While you may need money for buying a new home, feel your home is worth more than other sales for some reason, or you trust the estimate that Zillow provides despite evidence to the contrary, what is value in your eyes is not necessarily value to buyers. Despite your home being pristine and in a great location, overpricing will kill your chances of selling.


Making it a challenge to tour your home can make it tougher to sell. Does that make sense?

First, showing instructions need to be clear and easy to understand; problems can sometimes be the fault of the agent when stated in the MLS so be sure to check on this. It’s important to be as flexible as possible regarding times and days that showings can take place, even if personal life makes it tough – kids, work at home, visitors, dogs, laundry, etc.

If your primary goal is to sell your house you need buyers to see it, even if it means adjusting your normal lifestyle. It’s really not about your convenience but about buyers…within reason, of course.  Do you REALLY need 24 hours notice? What are you accomplishing by stating the home can only be seen 3 days a week between 3 and 4 pm? Put yourself in the buyers’ shoes…would the showing schedule you are imposing make you happy if you were an anxious buyer?

Other issues about access to your home that can sabotage your sale include a front door that doesn’t work well, a locked interior door without a key, a lockbox key that doesn’t work, one or more locked rooms (e.g., a teenager’s) or closets and storage rooms, and, unfortunately your pets. We’ll talk more about the pet issue later.


How your home appears conveys a strong message to buyers and you want it to be the right one. Here are some possible wrong messages: Message 1 – the home is poorly maintained inside with lots of obvious repairs including leaks, holes in screens, stained and/or torn carpet, cracked and chipped tiles. Message 2 – you will need to spend a lot of money to fix up the yard so it’s usable. Message 3 – the storage is horrible (every closet is filled to the brim and the garage is inaccessible due to an abundance of stuff!).

Failure to recognize these potential negative messages, even if you have been living with them, will impact your home sale.


While you may love to cook, and of course care deeply for your pets, cooking odors and pet smells are often a huge problem for buyers and could send them back out the door. Cigarette smoking is another major problem for many buyers. You live with these and other smells day in and out and likely don’t notice them, but I can tell you buyers surely will and they won’t like it.

Some sellers light lots of scented candles, stick those smelly things in all the receptacles, or place dishes of pungent (i.e., smelly) potpourri in every room. Unfortunately, while you may have good intentions, these efforts are not likely to go over well. These smells can also be offensive to many buyers, but, worse, they make buyers wonder….what ARE the sellers covering up? It’s important to take care of odors before you go on the market, or risk losing buyers over them.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the rest of the simple ways you could sabotage your home sale!