Ten Ways To Sabotage Your Listing

October 28, 2015

By Angie Johnson, Daniel Island Real Estate Sales Associate

You’ve made the decision – it’s time to sell your house. Showings come and go, but months later your house still sits unsold. Perhaps it’s the market (sometimes that’s the case!), but sometimes there are other underlying causes that are keeping your home from selling. Here are ten common culprits that might be sabotaging your sale:

1. Neglect the yard. You may like living in a jungle but you want your house to be seen! Keep the lawn mowed and edged. Trim the shrubs. Freshen the mulch. Remove dead plants. Add seasonal color to beds or pots. Clean up trash and newspapers, as well. This is especially a concern on vacant houses. You don’t want your property to look like an abandoned home. Even vacant homes can have some color and life – curb appeal is important!

2. Fill every nook and cranny. Lots of people like to nest but when you’re selling your home you want people to believe it can be their nest. De-clutter. Remove unnecessary items. Clean out the garage, the bathrooms and the closets (yes, people look in your closets.) Refrigerators will be seen, too! Buyers are curious about how much space they might have, so clean out that old sticky bottle of ketchup and organize your leftovers. Open, organized space that is inviting is essential when trying to sell your home.

3. Block out the sun. Sunblock is great when you’re going to the beach but when you’re selling your home, let the sun shine in! Open the drapes and blinds. When you have a showing, turn on the lights, especially lamps for soft, ambient lighting. If possible, have soft music playing throughout the home. Play something neutral like jazz or classical. I once showed a home where AC/DC was blaring through the speakers!

4. Make scents. Fido and Fluffy are part of the family but no one wants to smell them when they walk in the door. The same goes for your favorite cigar. Distinctive odors can be difficult to remove from walls and carpeting so give your home a good cleaning before you list. The same applies to your garage. Consider hiring a professional service. If buyers smell something “funny” when they walk in, it can be an immediate deal breaker. Also consider removing pets and all pet-related items for showings. Beds, bowls and litter boxes can be a turn off for potential buyers who don’t have furry friends.

5. Post bad pictures online. Think of this like a dating profile. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and in today’s digital world, your online profile is usually the first opportunity you have to get in front of prospective buyers. If buyers don’t like what they see online, they have no need to come see your house in person. Pictures should be taken with high quality, professional grade equipment and uploaded when the property hits the market. Dark, blurry iPhone or Andriod photos need not apply, and the “coming soon” approach only works for well in movie theaters. First impressions are lasting impressions!

6. Require your agent to attend all showings. On the surface this sounds like a great idea. Why wouldn’t you want someone there to answer questions? Because the buyers never feel at ease enough to ask questions! Buyers often spend less time in a house where the listing agent is present because they feel like they are intruding and that they are being watched. You want them to feel comfortable in the home so they can envision it as their home. That’s when they bring an offer on the house. Have your agent call showing agents beforehand and talk them through the features of your home. If your home is more complex, your agent can equip the buyer’s agent by walking them through the house in advance of the scheduled showing.

7. Limit your showing window. This sounds like an obvious one. If your house is on the market, of course people will want to see it! Be ready for last minute requests, agents to give broad windows of time for showings, and for the occasional showing that goes over time. Never limit showing windows to less than an hour. The more flexible you are with showing time frames, the more likely agents will be to schedule a tour of your house. After all – it’s why you put it on the market! Let them see it – and sell it!

8. Refuse a Sentrilock Box. Agents are generally showing multiple properties. If they have to pick up and drop off a key at your agent’s office, chances are that your home may not make it onto their list. Sentrilock boxes are extremely secure and can be easily monitored. If you don’t want one on your front door, your agent can hang one somewhere on your front porch. As a courtesy to female agents who may be wearing skirts and heels, please have your agent hang lockboxes somewhere that is easily accessible and don’t make them hike through your backyard!

9. Be present for showings. Similar to #6, buyers do not feel comfortable with the owners or tenants present during the showings. This includes driving back-and-forth to see if the agent has left yet or having a video camera in an obvious place. No one likes to feel as if they’re being watched or stalked. If you work from home, perhaps you can take a coffee break during showings.

10. Expect the showing agent to read your mind. This one is more for your sanity. If you’d like the agent to turn off lights after a showing, leave a Post-It note requesting that they do so! Otherwise, they will likely assume there’s another showing and will leave them on. If you have something you want to make sure is highlighted, have your listing agent create a flyer with the top features of your home or place laminated cards in strategic places to draw attention to the items you want the buyers to see! If your cat runs out of the house when a door is left open, leave a note so the agent is aware. Have your listing agent convey any special instructions when the appointment is made to avoid frustration and misunderstanding.


Angie Johnson, Sales Associate
Daniel Island Real Estate
(o) 843.971.3522 (m) 843.810.3860

A twelve-year veteran of sales on Daniel Island, Angie has consistently been a top-selling agent. According to MLS statistics, Angie has closed over 500 transactions resulting in approximately $300 million in sales on Daniel Island since she began her real estate career with Daniel Island Real Estate in 2003. In addition to balancing her family and career with Daniel Island Real Estate, Angie is a member of the City of Charleston Planning Commission. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, the Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Board and the Board of Directors for the SC Association of Realtors. Angie is also active in her church where she serves in both children’s and worship ministries.