If you’re planning to sell your home, you’re more than likely concerned about how long it will take. In August, homes were on the market for an average of 46 days before they sold, according to Realtor.com data. That’s a time period that’s five days longer than a year ago but an average of 13 fewer days than what was common before the COVID-19 pandemic.
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While the possibility of having your home under contract within roughly a month-and-a-half may seem encouraging, it’s important to note that not all homes sell so quickly. Unfortunately, some may linger on the market due to easily avoidable mistakes made by sellers.
To help, here are five things that make your home hard to sell, according to a real estate agent.
It Has a Distinct Smell
Erin Hybart, a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana with Clients First Realty, said that the majority of homeowners get used to the smell of their home. “Their home may smell either really good or not so good,” she said. “Either way, it could overwhelm the buyer’s senses.”
What To Do
Hybart recommended using an ozone machine for smoke or pet smells and cleaning all fabric surfaces. She also recommended avoiding an overload of plug-ins or air fresheners, because they can irritate buyers who are sensitive to smells — plus, she said that it also could make them wonder what you’re trying to cover up.
It’s Too Cluttered and Disorganized
“Less is more when selling a home, and organization calms the mind,” said Hybart. “The number of items in your home and their disorganization will collectively be new stimuli to the buyer. The buyer must experience and tour your house and take in all the stimuli they are experiencing. This can overwhelm the buyer without them even realizing it.”
What To Do
Hybart recommended removing as many items as possible and organizing as much as you can. She said she always encourages sellers to have a basket to throw things in from countertops, tables or even children’s toys.
“This basket can be shoved into a cabinet or closet for the showings,” she said.
“Buyers can more easily spot dust and dirt, because they are taking in all the visual stimuli of the space,” said Hybart. “They will see the spider webs on chandeliers, grease on the stove, dust on window frames and dirt in grout. It is very easy to become desensitized as the homeowner.”
What To Do
Hybart said to clean, clean and clean some more. “I have never had a buyer complain that a house is too clean,” she said. “The extra time and attention to cleaning every inch of your home will be worth it.”
It’s Dark Inside
Face it, a dark or dimly lit home is not inviting. “If a house is dark and closed up when a buyer enters the home, it will affect the first impression and cause them to process more information as they go from room to room,” shared Hybart.
What To Do
Hybart recommended leaving all the lights on and the blinds and curtains open for showings.
“The less the agent has to do to find light switches, open curtains, etc., the more they can focus on showcasing the home and engaging the buyer,” she said. “The buyer will also remember the home as light and bright, which could create a calming effect.”
Your Pets Are Annoying or In the Way
You might think kenneling your pet is a good solution for showings, but it might not be. “While we can’t take our pets to work with us, if your pet is one to make a scene with strangers coming into the home, it could startle the buyer,” Hybart said. “A loud barking dog could distract a buyer from focusing on the best part of the home.”
Hybart also said that it could be even worse if your dog is roaming the backyard, which could prevent the buyer from visiting the outdoor space.
What To Do
“If you cannot take your pet with you or board it during showings,” Hybart said, “try very hard to get a neighbor to come get the animal for showings. I have seen many buyers become so alarmed and go into a fight-or-flight stress mode from the sound and uncertainty of a pet. It may be a good idea to limit showings to when you can take your dog away from the space to ensure the buyer has the best experience possible.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I’m a Real Estate Agent: These Are the 5 Things That Make Your Home Hard To Sell