These are the five things that make it difficult to sell your home

If you’re planning to sell your home, you’re likely concerned about how long it will take. In August, homes were on the market for an average of 46 days before selling, according to data. That’s five days longer than a year ago, but an average of 13 days fewer than was common before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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While the prospect of going under contract on your home in about a month and a half may seem encouraging, it’s important to note that not all homes sell that quickly. Unfortunately, some may linger on the market due to easily avoidable mistakes made by sellers.

To help, here are five things that make it difficult to sell your home, according to a real estate agent.

It has a distinctive smell

Most homeowners get used to the smell of their homes, said Erin Hebart, a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana with Clients First Realty. “Their house may smell very good or not very good,” she said. “Either way, it can overwhelm the buyer’s senses.”

Read more: 5 Expensive Renovations Homeowners Always Regret

what should be done

Hebart recommended using an ozone machine to get rid of smoke or pet odors and clean all fabric surfaces. She also recommended avoiding overuse of add-ons or air fresheners, as they can irritate buyers who are sensitive to scents, plus they may also make them wonder what you’re trying to cover up.

It is very crowded and disorganized

“Less is more when selling a home, and organization calms the mind,” Hebart said. “The number of items in your home and their lack of organization are going to be a new incentive for the buyer. The buyer should experience your home, walk through it, and enjoy all the stimuli they are exposed to. This can overwhelm the buyer without them even realizing it.”

what should be done

Hebart recommended removing as many items as possible and organizing as much as possible. She said she always encourages vendors to have a basket to throw things in from countertops, tables or even children’s toys.

“This basket can be placed in a closet or display cabinet,” she said.

It’s dirty

“Buyers can detect dust and dirt more easily, because they take in all the visual stimuli of the space,” Hebart said. “They’ll see spider webs on the chandeliers, grease on the stove, dust on the window frames and dirt in the plaster. It’s very easy to become insensitive as a homeowner.

what should be done

Clean, clean and clean some more, Hebart said. “I’ve never had a buyer complain that the house was too clean,” she said. “The extra time and attention to cleaning every inch of your home is worth it.”

It was dark inside

Face it, a dark or dimly lit home is not attractive. “If a home is dark and closed when a buyer enters the home, it will affect the first impression and cause them to process more information as they move from room to room,” Hebart said.

what should be done

Hebart recommended leaving all lights on and opening blinds and curtains for performances.

“The less an agent has to do to find light switches, open blinds, etc., the more they can focus on showing the home and engaging the buyer,” she said. “The buyer will also remember the home as light and bright, which can create a calming effect.”

Your pets are annoying or getting in your way

You may think that raising your pet is a good solution for shows, but it may not be. “Even though we can’t take our pets to work with us, if your pet is the type that makes a scene with strangers entering the home, that could scare off a buyer,” Hebart said. “A loud dog barking can distract a buyer from focusing on the best part of the home.”

Hebart also said it could be worse if your dog wanders into the backyard, which could prevent a buyer from visiting the outdoor space.

what should be done

“If you can’t take your pet with you or ride it to showings, try hard to get a neighbor to bring the animal for showings,” Hebart said. “I’ve seen many buyers get very anxious and go into fight-or-flight stress because of the pet’s voice and uncertainty.” It may be a good idea to limit the showing to a time when you can walk your dog away from the property to ensure the buyer has the best experience possible.

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This article originally appeared on I’m a Real Estate Agent: These Are the 5 Things That Make It Hard to Sell Your Home

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