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Mrs. Fales says she and other Realtors make recommendations to sellers about making the small repairs and improvements necessary to sell the home, but not all sellers listen.

“Sometimes they won’t listen to me, but then I will give them the feedback from other agents and their clients, and they will begin to realize they need to fix up the property,” Mrs. Fales says. “It is understandable, since you are dealing with people’s homes, that they don’t want to hear criticism. But it is our job as agents to help them understand what they need to do.”

Some sellers fear the time and expense of making major improvements, but they may be able to make smaller changes and still sell the property.

“Sellers should meet with a Realtor prior to doing work on their home, especially if they think they need to redo their whole kitchen or their baths,” Mr. Burgess says. “They might be able to do a light fix-up rather than spending more money than they can get back. A Realtor can figure out the price range for the neighborhood and show you things you can do that will improve the look of your home without going above the other homes in the area.”

Mrs. Fales says sellers who don’t want to do any work and put their homes on the market “as is” likely will sell their home for a lot less than if they had done some minor things to improve the property’s appeal.

Limiting the availability of the property to potential buyers

Some sellers try to control the hours their home is available for viewing, but this can hurt their chances of a sale.

“No one wants to have to make their home available all the time to buyers, but sellers definitely inhibit sales if they don’t allow a lockbox to be put on the property,” Mrs. Fales says.

Mrs. Elias recommends sellers leave the home when potential buyers are there so the buyers can take their time looking at the property and asking questions of their agent.

“Buyers won’t spend as much time in the home if the sellers are there because they feel as if they are intruding,” Mrs. Elias says.

Ms. Casey says if sellers make their home too difficult to see, some agents and buyers will simply take it off their list of potential properties.

Choosing the wrong real estate agent

“Realtor fees are similar no matter which agent you choose, so sellers should hire the agent who will work the hardest for them,” Ms. Casey says. “Sellers should hire an experienced agent with a respected firm who will market their home to buyers and to other agents. The Realtor should know your neighborhood and be able to advise you on price and the condition of your property.”

Listening to the wrong advisers

“Sellers who really listen to their agents, price the home right, improve the condition of their home and make it accessible will sell it faster, so this means the discomfort of living in a home for sale will last a shorter time,” Mrs. Fales says.

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