Spaces Blog

Home-Selling Disasters and How to Avoid Them

As full time Realtors, Ken and I get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to home sales.

Whether showing clients a beautiful, pristine home that has been lovingly cared for, getting chased out of a home because a seller’s snarling canine is present, or inadvertently walking into a bedroom of a snoozing college-age tenant who had no idea we were coming over, we have seen it all.

We advise all of our sellers on the basics when it comes to showing and selling their home, but this post feels like it should be written for posterity.

All sellers need to know the following 4 points when it comes to their sale. Read on for the absolute non-negotiables you may need to know one day when it comes to selling your place.

1. Sellers Must, I Repeat, Must Leave Their Homes When Buyers Are Coming By for Showings

It is polite and common courtesy to let buyers come over with their licensed Realtor to have a quiet and private showing of their potential new home. There are a couple of problems with sellers being present.

First and foremost, if the seller is present for a buyer’s showing, it is highly likely the seller will unwittingly over-share about their personal situation and life circumstances. Without even knowing it, they may give away any leverage they would have in a negotiation.

Just last week, a seller’s very nice, super sweet father was present at a home I was showing a client. In the first 30 seconds I saw him, he told me that his daughter was under contract on a home in Longmont and needed to sell her current home in one weekend. Can you see why this may be an issue?

Sellers are not used to keeping their personal information close to the chest and all too often they share what they should have kept private.

Secondly if a seller is present, the showing can take much longer than needed. Sellers like to explain and highlight every detail of the home they have lovingly cared for. And that is great-but it has a time and a place. For one thing, sometimes buyers can tell they are not interested in purchasing a home in the first few minutes. If a buyer knows they are not going to buy the home in the first 5 minutes, there isn’t any use in the sellers taking the buyer through their home and showing them each nook and cranny. Buyers can tell if they like a home or not and they do not need a seller there to persuade them.

If you, as a seller, ever have to be present for some reason at a showing of your home, let the buyers in, and go for a walk or sit on the front porch while they take their time to view your place.

2. Sellers Must Also Take Their Canine Friends With Them

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I am a dog person, so I get it. Sellers want to let their dogs stay home during showings, in a crate, in a second bedroom, or in the yard. It is a pain to cart dogs in and out of the home for showings. There are a couple of issues with leaving the dog at home though.

Not everyone is a dog person and having dogs present can be a turn off. For one thing, dogs do what they do-they bark. It makes it hard to concentrate and sometimes, it is so distracting and loud that buyers just want to leave a home prematurely before seeing all of it.

Also, if a dog is loose in a second bedroom, garage, or yard, their presence limits what buyers can see. Buyers and their agents don’t want to wander into a space with a loose dog.

Buyers should be able to have a private, quiet showing of their potential new home. And they will want to see every part of it and take their time. All dogs and people should go.

3. For The Best Results, Get a Professional Cleaner

We have seen last night’s dinner still on the stove, a raw chicken in the oven, and bathrooms that have not been cleaned for what could be years. While the bones of a home might be great, if buyers see that kind of disarray, it is highly unlikely they can concentrate on seeing the positive amenities and attributes of a home. In this scenario, it is likely sellers would take a pay cut due to the condition of the home.


To get the most cash for their sale, sellers should take their time, de-clutter the home as well as possible, and get a crew of professional cleaners to come through.

4. If Possible Get the Renters Out Before the Sale

As someone who has personally walked into a room with an oblivious and unknowing, college-age renter asleep in the bed, it is likely sellers will get the best results if they go ahead and let the renters move out before listing. Most of the time, renters won’t take care of a home the way an owner would and the home will probably show worse for it.

Also, renters are less likely to clean up for showings, leave the home, or even communicate to each other that potential buyers are coming over. You can imagine these issues comes up a lot with our CU friends. It can make for some awkward situations- let me tell you.

Once the renters have moved out, a home can be cleaned, staged, and will be open and ready for showings.

As always, if you have questions about selling your place, don’t hesitate to reach out! Have a great Memorial Day weekend!