Living in the right neighborhood, having a modern home, and listing it at a reasonable price do not guarantee you will have a quick sale. Buyers can be turned off by several things that reduce your chance of selling. To prepare your home for sale, avoid having any of these problems:

Dirty House

Clean every room thoroughly. Apply fresh paint to the walls, woodwork, and ceiling if they look dingy or are stained. The kitchen and bathrooms should be cleaned; wipe down the walls and paint if needed. Replace old faucets, apply new caulking if needed, and replace the toilet with a modern water-efficient model. Replace carpets if they are stained or look worn.


It’s true: the first impression can make or break a home sale. Buyers want a home with plenty of space to accommodate their family and lifestyle. When a home is cluttered, potential buyers cannot visualize living there. In a buyer’s mind, a messy home is an indicator of unseen problems. If the seller doesn’t have time to clean a house, could maintenance on the furnace, roof, gutters, and other areas have been ignored too?

Unpleasant Odors

Entering a home that smells is an instant turnoff. Cooking odors can linger for hours, especially fish. Avoid preparing fried foods and fish while your home is on the market. Pet odors are the worst offender. You are used to your pets and don’t notice the smell. Remove all litter boxes, food dishes, dog and cat beds, and playthings. Hide everything that says an animal lives here. Farm pets out to family or friends on days when buyers are visiting and be sure the house smells fresh and clean. Smokers must also remove ashtrays and cigarette lighters and eliminate every trace of odor.


Removing wallpaper is a huge job, and no homebuyer gets excited when they see it. If your walls are papered, remove it and paint your walls a neutral color. The potential buyer will not want to picture their home furnishings placed against the backdrop of your wallpaper. Painted walls are safe and promote the odds of a sale.

No Curb Appeal

What will a potential buyer see when they arrive in front of your home? A walkway with weeds and grass growing between the stones is bad news. The lawn should be mowed and edged regularly. Shrubs and flower gardens must be weeded and mulched to look their best. If your front door lacks appeal, replace it. Stand at the curb and see what potential buyers see, and then fix what needs to be fixed.

Don’t let any of these mistakes prevent your home from selling. A few hours of time and a small investment can turn your house into a buyer’s dream home.

Betty Most’s career in real estate began in 1984 and spans more than three decades. Contact Betty Today!  (715) 821-6491

REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, CRS, Edina Realty Short Sale & Foreclosure Specialist | Licensed in Wisconsin.