You really can’t put a price on working alongside a professional when selling your home.
And before you scoff at the average six percent commission working with a realtor will cost you, consider how much longer it will take to find a buyer when your do-it-yourself home listing is bogged down with mistakes — often meme-worthy, laughable mistakes that totally could have been avoided had the you just coughed up the extra dough.
After countless hours of scouring the interwebs, here are 10 of the most common rookie mistakes we’ve found in for sale by owner home listings. You’ll be ready to rule the galaxy with your pro-looking home listing after perusing our top 10 (knowledge is power, right?). May the Force ever be in your favor, or something like that.
1. This listing’s got legs
We head over to Pioche, NV for our first listing and our first rookie mistake. Here, you can “get away from the people, traffic, heat and crime of city” in this 800-square-foot, one-bedroom home. Best of all, it’s fire proof, weather proof and critter proof — who could ask for anything more? The enthusiastic homeowner has a video walk-through on the YouTubes, but their mistake is clearly visible in their listing photos. When photographing your home, always make sure the coast is clear before snapping the perfect shot. Otherwise, you’ll end up with Uncle Buck’s bare legs propped up as he takes a load off in an easy chair, thus ruining your otherwise acceptable shot. These boots were made for walking, and we’re walking on over to our next listing.
2. Might I have some more please?
Our next listing comes out of Stateline, NV and is a perfect example of how something that seems innocent enough can look completely different in a photograph. The listing features a five-bedroom, two-bath, 1,920-square-foot duplex home in the woods. If you’re the great outdoorsy type, this home might just be up your alley. Mountain views, skiing and hiking are all included in the sale price. However, the kid cleaning the windows is extra. Always keep your kids out of your listing photos because, well, kids do the darndest things. In this instance, the child in question might either be getting ready to open the sliding glass door to pester his folks, or is cleaning every glass panel on the rustic charmer to earn his keep. While we don’t know which it is for certain, we’re going with the latter because it’s a far more interesting story. The lesson here is, again, keep people and pets out of your photos. They always upstage everything.
3. Design fail
We head on over to Newton, KS for our next listing, which features something we hope is not a new design trend. The four-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot home has been well documented by the homeowner, perhaps a little over-documented in some instances — we don’t need to see six slightly different photos of your bed, it’s a home listing, not Tinder. But what really has us scratching our heads is the home’s odd washer, dryer and toilet placement. Literally, there’s a toilet opposite the laundry machinery in what looks like a closet. Now, we’re not one to scoff at time-saving, multi-tasking hacks, but some things just shouldn’t go together, like ever. Toilets and clean clothes are just one example. We’ll just use some hand sanitizer and head over to our next listing, shall we?
4. Chocolate for the eyes
This “lovely” listing comes to us from Herington, KS and it features 2,044 square feet of space. And the homeowner has used nearly 2,043 square feet of the space for all their stuff. We’re talking hats, knick-knacks, statues, collectibles and enough crosses to ward off a horde of blood thirsty vampires — even the hot tub is surrounded by shelves jam-packed with stuff, how is that relaxing?! A good rule of thumb to remember is that while you may love your stuff, a prospective buyer may only see clutter and, dare we say it, endless stacks of junk. More practically, it makes even large spaces look deceptively smaller. So unless your home is the Tardis (it’s larger on the inside), put your stuff away neatly and store it until you’ve snagged a buyer. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so think about how happy you’ll be when you unpack all your miscellaneous treasures in your new abode. We shudder to picture it.
5. Weekend at Bernie’s
Our next listing comes out of Hanover, NH. It features a fully-renovated, 2,800-square-foot, three-bedroom house with two fireplaces and a built-in wine fridge. This homeowner made a few gaffes in their listing photos, like uploading more photos of the exterior than the interior, but there is one glaringly obvious rookie mistake — the outline of what resembles a human body under the covers of a poorly-made bed. We’re not saying it’s a body, just that it looks like one. And while our mind instantly races to some complex Agatha Christie explanation or a more jovial Weekend at Bernie’s scenario, we’re mostly curious as to why the homeowner didn’t just make the bed properly? Maybe the child in listing number 2 could be enticed, for a price? Just thinking out loud here.
6. That’s not what this means at all
This next listing out of North Haverhill, NH could be a place “where friends and family would love to gather.” After all, it features three-bedrooms and 1,800 square feet of living space. Not to mention it is close to hiking trails and also has “plenty of storage space for your toys.” But our favorite feature is the shower that has two seats. The homeowner even supplied a picture of said shower, only it’s a toilet seat — one toilet seat, thankfully. We really can’t get “behind” matching side-by-side toilet seats. The lesson here is always proof your listing before publishing. There might be a sorely disappointed couple out there expecting matching toilets.
7. Safety first?
We head over to Columbia, MO for our next listing, a 4,300-square-foot, six-bedroom ranch-style home. It features a fenced in yard, speakers throughout, a security system and while the hot tub is not included (d’oh!), it is negotiable (score!). We do have a few safety concerns, however. Check out the placement of the trampoline. Under a tree may not be the best location for a trampoline, and that got us wondering where the homeowner installed the hot tub. On second thought, probably better that we don’t know.
8. Alexa, what is the definition of an ‘eat-in kitchen?’
Our next listing comes out of Shelbyville, IN and features a “beautiful, craftsman style home” that’s been updated and is ready to live in now. The 100-year-old, 2,800-square-foot, four-bedroom home also boasts one of the strangest eat-in kitchens we’ve seen in all of our travels on the interwebs. The eat-in kitchen looks like a porch…because it is a porch. This is another example of proofing and lazy labeling. And while the results aren’t as giggle-inducing as the labeling gaffe in listing number six, it is still amusing to imagine your porch being inside and your kitchen being outside.
9. ‘90s rewind
This Lorain, OH home is “the century home you’ve been looking for, but not in century condition.” Well, okay then! The 1,800-square-foot, four-bedroom home was “rebuilt from the basement up” and features tasteful landscaping, a new porch that is not, strangely enough, also an eat-in kitchen, and vinyl siding with new gutters. The home is alleged to be “amazing” and in “turn key move-in condition.” However, we take issue with the quality of the photographs, namely that they look like they were taken in the 1990s. The decor, the furnishings and the quality of the images all scream “Hey, Macarena” or “Ice, Ice, Baby.” Also, taking a photo of the exterior from the backseat of a car does not instill much confidence in a buyer, for the record.
10. There are no words
We’re honestly not sure what to say about our final listing, other than just don’t do it. This listing comes out of Maylene, AL and features a 4,321-square-foot, five-bedroom home. While we’d love to say more about the home, we’re at a loss for words. The one supplied photo is a color print-out with a bold headline that reads “click photo to enlarge or multi-view options.” We kind of wonder if the homeowner is aware that you lose those options when you print out a screenshot and take a photograph of that printed out screenshot. Aside from being ridiculously unprofessional looking, a listing photo like this is only really good for one thing — an internet meme (see below). To borrow from the famous Nike slogan — just don’t do it.