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The 10 mistakes home sellers make

Thinking of selling your home in today's highly competitive market? Read these tips from real estate expert Barbara Corcoran before you put your place on the market.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

According to the latest National Association of Realtors (NAR) report, sales of existing homes increased for the first time in February by almost 3%. But sales prices are down 8.2% from a year earlier. If you're thinking of selling your home in today's highly competitive market, you need to avoid the following mistakes:The open house

Hosting an open house is one of the most popular ways to let people know that you're home is for sale. There are, however, certain instances when they can be a big mistake. Hosting lots of open houses is not good. Very often open houses are used as an expression that you are doing something, or hosting something special. It's an event. If you have an event that constantly happens, it loses its allure. They have to be well planned and there should be a reason for them, like a considerable drop in price. If they are not well utilized, they can be a waste of your time, and reduce excitement and expectations. Also, you tend to have a lot of timewasters coming, which can make your home look like a shopworn and unwelcoming.

2. When you're selling your home, ensuring it is always available for showings can be inconvenient. When it comes to setting appointments, sellers often make the mistake of being inflexible. Compared to any other age group, generation Y buyers are the most likely to purchase a home in the next two years. They're young professionals under 30 who work long hours and have limited spare time. Not showing your house in the evening is like sending away a big chunk of your market.

3. Don’t hang around like a bad smell during the open house; it makes buyers uncomfortable. Buyers need to see themselves living in your home. With you there, watching their every move, you make this leap of imagination all but impossible. The negotiation
4. A major mistake sellers make when they put their house up for sale starts with their language. How would you feel about a seller, or real estate broker who says, "the price is firm"? It conveys many things in one breath. It says, that they are unreasonable. It also says that their home is overpriced. Most importantly it says that they have laid out an "unwelcome mat".

5. Negotiating can be really stressful, especially when it deals with something as important as what your home is worth. A big mistake sellers make is not considering every offer presented, even the low ball, and possibly insulting offers. The way people bid has nothing to do with the property itself, so you need to allow for people's differing styles. You should consider every bid, and offer a counter bid. You should never take a bid personally, it isn’t meant that way. Granted, there are wise guys out there but more often than not the bidder will move up, they just want to get the ball in the air as low as they can.

6. Many sellers refuse the first offer, which can also be a big mistake. First bids often create a sense of confidence in the seller. They think that if one person has bid, there will surely be more and better bids to follow. The very first bid is often the best one you will get. Whatever the bid is, however low you think it is and however insulted you might be, you need to consider that you may not get another hat high. Home interiors

We all have it, that leaky faucet, or the doorknob on the back door that needs repair. If you’re selling your home you need to know how much these minor things matter. Buyers have something you don't have; a fresh pair of eyes. They see things that you don’t see anymore. Make every possible change you can make. If you don’t you will pay dearly. The buyer will want to be compensated for every little defect and will negotiate your price down, essentially getting you to pay for those repairs yourself anyway, but by their terms. It is better to have everything fixed beforehand when you can control what it is going to cost.

8. We all take pride in our homes, we like artwork on the walls and we like to be surrounded by photos of people we love. In fact we think these things give the house plenty of appeal to visitors. This is a mistake when it comes to selling. People need to visualize how they can make the space their own. Get rid of your photos and replace the art you have with something more neutral.

9.  A big mistake sellers make is having a home that looks more like a dungeon than a place you’d actually want to live. We get comfortable, we close the blinds, our lampshades get old and dirty and our windows blacken with dust. Before you let any potential buyer into your home you need to let in the light. Go crazy: clean the windows, replace the lampshades, up the wattage of your light bulbs, pull the curtains down — remember, the lighter the better.Pets
10. Pets are a big no-no when it comes to sellers. They are like the ugly in-law nobody likes; they have to be taken away, or hidden. As much as buyers smile and say, "cute dog", they are gritting their teeth and don't want the dog in the way when they are looking at a new home. Also, animals leave odors in your home. People think a house with animals is less clean, even if it's not. If you can hide or ditch the pets, do. For more of Barbara Corcoran's real estate tips and advice, visit