6 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make that Are Easily Avoided

Sometimes, it’s the little things that turn off potential home buyers. They might love your neighborhood, the architecture of your home and its location. But a lack of attention to the little things on your part might give the house down the street the advantage over yours. There are plenty of costly mistakes home sellers should avoid if they want to put their home at the top of the buyer’s list, and just like our previous article on Cheap Remodeling Projects for Under $500, the tips below are low-cost home improvements that have high impact when selling your home.

In this Remodeling Cost Guide we’ll share some tips that may just help you sell your home a little faster when the time comes. They are cheap, easy, and according to Bankrate.com, help you avoid turning buyers away in less than a few hours and a few dollars in one afternoon!

1. Greeting Home Buyers with an Ugly Lawn

An attractive lawn is green, weed-free and neatly maintained. An ugly lawn lacks vibrant color during the growing season. It may have brown patches of dead or dying grass. It is dotted or covered with dandelions or other weeds.Even if you never installed a lawn sprinkler system, try to keep your lawn looking good during the process of selling your home.

The appearance of a poorly maintained lawn is shaggy, not neatly trimmed and edged. To avoid all of these issues, make sure to apply weed and feed throughout the lawn’s growing season. Keep it cut as needed, or hire a lawn service if you don’t have the time to make sure it looks its best. A poorly maintained lawn will make some home shoppers wonder if the entire house is similarly neglected, and that’s the opposite of what you want them to be thinking as they pull up to your home.

Cost of Lawn Care: $100 or Less!

2 – Leaving Your Dirty Furnace Filters in Place

Hard to believe, but in the 5 minutes it takes to change your furnace filters, you could actually lose the possibility of selling your home! Old filters will not only hurt the performance of your home heating system, but they will allow a smell to build up and make your home stink.

The Gas Furnace Guide has a page of furnace repair costs that attribute several of the causes to dirty filters. The last thing you want is for the home buyer to relate a dirty filter with a $500 repair bill! In fact, they are one of the leading reasons repair costs are so high. Change your filters! It costs less than $10 and takes only 5 minutes.

Cost of Furnace Filter: $25 or Less!

3. Failing to Replace an Old, Crooked or Broken Mail Box

Does your mailbox lean noticeably to the left because the pole is bent? Is it held together with duct tape and string? It’s time to get a new mailbox! For the replacement, consider upgrading from a basic metal mailbox to an attractive and durable vinyl mailbox with an appealing design. Choose a 4×4 cedar post or a wrought iron post that coordinates well with your home and the mailbox you select. It is details like this that the home buyer with the discerning eye pays attention to! Consider a brick or stone mailbox if you want to make an even better impression.

Cost of a New Mailbox: $50 or Less!

4. Forgetting to Seal the Driveway and Fix Cracks

No potential home buyers want to think about replacing the driveway in the near future. They tend to avoid houses with a large price tag for repairs tacked onto the sale price of the home. Even if they get the home for less, most buyers would rather purchase a home that doesn’t need repairs. They want to invest their time and money-making changes that will increase their enjoyment of the home such as changing the carpet, repainting the walls or installing a jetted tub.

According to the Driveway Guide website, A driveway in poor condition is a major turn-off to home buyers. Start by filling large cracks. Then, if it’s an asphalt driveway, apply a fresh coat of sealer to give it a like-new appearance. There are many ways you can make your driveway look like new, and in most cases, in less than half a day! Check out our guide to Driveways and Sidewalks for more ideas.

Cost of Driveway Sealing: $200 or Less!

5. Letting Buyers Approach a Boring or Ugly Front Door

If you’ve got a plain Jane front door, do something to spruce it up before the first realtor comes by with clients. Dress up your walkway or the path leading up to the door. Roomzaar (HG Network) even has a full section on ugly front doors people have submitted… don’t get on that list! If the door is in good condition, it might just need a fresh coat of stain or paint. If the front door should be replaced, spend a bit more for something with visual appeal.

Front doors with small windows that don’t produce a security threat but do allow in some light are often more attractive than solid doors. Accent the front porch or stoop with potted or hanging flowers in season, a festive bush or tree in the winter and other tasteful accoutrements appropriate to the time of year.

Cost of Painting the Front Door: $20 or less!


6. Covering Windows with Cheap Window Treatments

Other Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make is when buyers approach your home, they’ll naturally look at the windows. If you have not replaced your windows, make sure you clean them and keep them in top condition. If they can see from the outside that the curtains or blinds are cheap, unattractive, dirty or in poor condition, it certainly won’t spark their interest in your house. Do what you need to do to make your home as visually appealing as possible from the outside. If this means you have to replace some window coverings, do so. At the very least, leave them open so that they don’t present an eyesore to potential buyers before they even get inside your home.

If your realtor has a good eye, ask him or her to evaluate the approach to your home. They can offer suggestions to improve the appearance of your home and help you avoid these and other mistakes that home sellers commonly make when putting their home on the market.

Cost to Dress Up Windows: $100 or Less!

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