5 Things to avoid when you’re selling your house

Ask a realtor professional why your house hasn’t sold and they’ll blame it on everything from fluctuating markets to nose hairs. If you give them coffee and make them comfortable, they’ll explain conflicting theories about the house market until the Butterfly Effect seems easy in comparison. Untrained and inexperienced, I have a much shorter check list to help you sell your home in a snap.

5. Don’t over-clean. Over-cleaning is a made-up word I’ve come up with to describe the frenzied, possessed-like behaviour I exhibited while trying to sell our house. Having declared war on dirt, I inspected every inch of space for dust with a magnifying glass as if the Marine Core Inspector was coming instead of potential buyers. Forget dusting and cleaning the floors, my new routine included such insane activities as scrubbing the grout between the floor tiles with a toothbrush.

How did it work? Not only did it not sell the house, viewers claimed our home smelled like dog.


4. Don’t schedule a viewing for Saturday at 8 am. No matter how reasonable that time slot sounded to me on Monday afternoon, Saturday morning I was cursing the sky pink and blue. To help things along, my dogs had a fight in the kitchen that dirtied most of the area and my hubby woke up sick. How did it work? Disaster doesn’t even cover it.


3. Don’t listen to comments from buyers who didn’t buy your house. Hearing that our house smelled of dog might have done something to my brain because I went into scent-overdrive. Never mind that it was November and snowing, I opened up every window and ventilated the entire house. I cleaned every floor twice, then the walls and added air-freshers to every plug I could find, then every corner of each room. Not to miss a single cubic millimetre of air, I also bought Febreeze sprayers and emptied two of the things in our house for each viewing.

How did it work? It got so the dogs didn’t want to come inside.

2. Don’t hire a professional decorator. Fearing our decor might be discouraging buyers, we hired one. Ours was named Pauline and her outfit alone should have been a warning sign. The woman had managed to colour coordinate her clothes not only to her earrings and her nails but also to her car. Pauline took one look at our living room, raised very thin eyebrows and told us we needed new furniture…and towels, blankets and accessories. When she told me our dogs were a problem, I opened the backdoor and let the wet hounds jump all over her dry-cleaned suit.

How did it work? Check out number one for more insight.


1. Don’t try to understand paint colour names.  Following Pauline’s advice, we tried to repaint our house a neutral beige and found ourselves at the paint store staring at paint chips. Turns out, paint doesn’t have normal names like red or orange. What you get is strange things like ‘Happy Clown’, ‘Mermaid Dream’ and ‘Flamingo Sneeze’. After half an hour of eye-straining over shades of beige until even my hubby started to look that shade, I grabbed a paint chip and ran from the store.

How did it work? The chip I got was called something like ‘Crazy Monkey’ and apparently it was the wrong shade because it almost made Pauline faint when she saw it on our walls.