A lot of times owners want to be there at the showings to point things out," DeSimone says. "They think, 'It’s my house, and I know it better than anyone.'" But buyers want to dig through the cabinets and closets, peek behind doors, comment on likes and dislikes, and be comfortable—and that won’t happen with you around.
Before buyers arrive, try to make your house appeal to all the senses. Open up windows and doors to air out any unpleasant scents. Couple the soothing breezes with a freshly cut bouquet from the backyard to create a memorably warm welcome.
Sometimes what seems like just the right amount of seating for entertaining in your living room can feel overstuffed to potential buyers. They like big, wide-open spaces, not closed-off rooms. The less furtiture in a room, the larger it feels.
"As much as you can make it seem bright and light, do it," DeSimone says. "This means taking down dark, heavy window coverings if they're blocking light."
When remodeling, eschew trends in favor of simple updates that hold appeal for the widest possible swath of buyers. In rooms with an idiosyncratic style, prioritize toning it down. Trying to anticipate other people are going to like is a losing proposition. As Kelly says, "Every time new homeowners move in, they have their own ideas."
While framed family photos are warm and inviting when you have guests over, they only turn off potential buyers. House shoppers want to envision their own family in the house. Before visitors arrive, do yourself a favor and take down all family portraits, diplomas, and children's art.
If a potential buyer makes an offer but maintenance problems are encountered during the home inspection, you could lose the sale. At that point, your home would get relisted—and that doesn’t look good to future buyers. "I can explain away that the first couple changed their minds," Rogers says, "but the next potential buyer is going to wonder, 'Why would anyone back out of this beautiful home? What’s wrong here?'"
In today’s digital world, you open your house to visitors as soon as you list it online. "The photo shoot is the new first impression," DeSimone says. Your mission is to ensure that your home is open-house-ready even when you're taking the photos before the house officially hits the market.