4 things you should not do when selling your house this year

When potential buyers drive up to your home, they can already imagine themselves baking in the kitchen and their kids playing in the yard, says Seeff Properties.

They’ve already done research on your neighbourhood and know your asking price. Now they’re just driving by to see if your home has the ‘it’ factor.

Then they look closer. They see a mess by the driveway and peeling paint near the roofline. Very quickly, they ask the agent to keep driving – and keep looking, according to Seeff’s Elaine Chetty.

The property group outlines four main mistakes that you should avoid if you want to sell your home in 2016.

1. Ignore curb appeal

How your home appears from the curb is extremely important. It is the proverbial first impression. If your home looks inviting from the outside – the yard maintained, the garden manicured and the paint fresh – potential buyers will take an interest in it. If not, they might think the interior is probably also unkempt – and they’ll move on.

2. Crowd the buyer

When you sell your home, take yourself out of the picture. If you happen to be home, greet any potential buyers and then allow them to walk through your home undisturbed with the agent.

Give them a chance to picture their couches in the living room or their dining set in the dining room. Let them have space to discuss what they’re seeing. Some sellers crowd a buyer, thinking that any newcomer will want all the details of every renovation and every nook. Don’t do this. Let the buyer be.

3. Offer that ‘lived-in’ look

Prospective buyers don’t want to see your clutter. It’s distracting and makes it hard for them to picture themselves in your home. A mess can often hide aspects of the home that would entice someone else to buy.

When you’re selling, keep a tidy home and tuck away all your family photos and memorabilia. Try to create as many open, clear spaces as you can. Clean off counters and other surfaces.

Even the toaster and blender should be stored away when you show your home.

Ideally you will also have time to give all the rooms a fresh coat of paint. You don’t need to hire an interior designer, but do look over your home with an unbiased eye. Is it warm and inviting, and pleasing to the eye?

4. Let odours linger

If you smoke or have pets, your home is likely to have an odour. Although you might be used to it, others may not appreciate it. Removing pet urine smells out of carpets takes care; you’ll likely need to use special solutions or a steam cleaner.

With rugs, you may just have to buy new ones. If you have a litter box, change it daily while showing your home.

If you smoke, try to smoke outside as much as possible. Most non-smokers are sensitive to the smell of smoke. Not only will they want to leave, they may also find the prospect of cleansing a home of smoke odour a turnoff.

If there is a heavy smell in the home from years of smoking indoors, try washing the walls and don’t forget the curtains, shades and anything else that might collect the tar and resin from the smoke.

For any unwanted smells, try baking soda. Sprinkle it around the house, on the furniture and on the carpets. Let it sit for a day so the granules can absorb the odours and then vacuum it all up. You may have to do this a few times.

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4 things you should not do when selling your house this year