Just the other day, Greg and I went to a couple of open houses.  Now, before you start lecturing me about vapid lifestyle inflation, let me set one thing straight.  We aren’t moving…we’re just bored.  Since we’re on FALL FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN, we’ve been trying to find fun (and free) things to do.  We’ve taken the kids to the park, gone on walks, and taught our four-year-old the joy of playing cards.  Hell, we even had a picnic in the park the other day, which was totally fun and free.  Anyway, I see open houses as just another form of free entertainment.  We can walk around stranger’s houses, look at their furniture, and critique their home décor…just for fun.

Although we’re not currently in the market to buy a new home, I absolutely love real estate.  I totally love going to open houses and I think it’s so fun to see what’s really going on behind people’s closed doors.  However, I have noticed some specific details that are often overlooked.  When you’re trying to sell your home, there are just certain things that you absolutely shouldn’t do.  So, without further adieu, here are five ways to NOT sell your home:

Stay Home During the Open House

I swear that I couldn’t make this up if I tried.  At one of the open houses we went to this weekend, the owner chose to stay home and serve as a host.  Big mistake.  We barely got in the door before she bombarded us with a whole boatload of TMI.  Then, she followed us all around the house pointing out where the bathrooms and bedrooms were…..AS IF we couldn’t figure it out ourselves.  In my mind, all I could think was “we’re not going to steal anything, lady!”  And, even after we told her that we didn’t need a tour, she forced us into certain rooms for shared memories and awkward moments.  Unfortunately, the poor lady probably has no idea that she could be scaring potential buyers away.

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Don’t Clean

There is something disconcerting about a dirty house for sale.  Why?  It makes me wonder whether the owners ever did any of the required maintenance on their home.  It also makes me wonder if buying the home might lead to a multitude of disgusting discoveries.  And really, who wants to buy a home that needs a top-to-bottom bleach bath?  Not me. 

Leave Up That Wallpaper

I know, I know.  That purple paisley wallpaper was all the rage when you had it professionally hung twenty years ago. Oh, and that apple border in your kitchen?  Totally bitchin’.  Unfortunately, potential buyers may not feel the same.  I’ve personally been there and done that with the whole wallpaper thing and Greg and I promised each other that we would never go down that road again.  Do you know what I see when I enter the open house of a wall-papered home?  Work.  Stress.  Mess.  To this day, my mom jokes that “we throw terrible parties” since she spent New Year’s eve 2007 helping us steam and scrape wallpaper at one of our rental propertiesNever again.

Leave Your Pets At Home

At one of the open houses we attended, the owner’s dog was locked up in the laundry room.  It wasn’t a big deal except for the fact that we couldn’t see the laundry room.  I mean, maybe I’m wrong but I have to assume that potential buyers might want to see the laundry room of any home they make an offer on.  In my opinion, leaving any room “off limits” during an open house may make people wonder what you have to hide.

Leave Personal Items….Everywhere

Having an open house is a great way to showcase all that your home has to offer.  However, potential buyers don’t necessarily want to see your prom picture from 1998.  They may also be less than amused by the pot leaf-inspired décor that you have so creatively displayed in your garage.  Oh, and that bottle of feminine wash left in your shower?  It made me feel uncomfortable.  If you want to sell your home, put your stuff away. Please.

What crazy things have you seen at an open house?  And, what home selling tips do you have to add to the list?