real estate

10 ways to turn off a homebuyer

9. Poor curb appeal

Much is made of curb appeal, and for good reason: It's your home's handshake, the critical first impression that lasts with most buyers.

"You have to totally trim and edge your yard to get it into the most immaculate condition you can," Goldwasser says. "It's a big mistake to not freshly mulch the beds and trim the trees. Every little detail counts.

"To not power-wash the exterior or leave mud dauber and wasp and bird's nests in your eaves and above your doors? You've got to be a fool to do that."

10. Clutter

Whether inside or out, less is more when it comes to clutter.

"I usually start in the closets," Dana says. "Your closets should be half-full with nothing on the floor. Why? Because most people looking for a house have outgrown their previous house. Showing them that you've still got room to grow gives them a reason to buy."

Kitchens and built-in bookshelves should showcase spaciousness by following the rule of three. For kitchens, there should be no more than three countertop appliances. Meanwhile, bookshelves should be divided into thirds: one-third books, one-third vases and pictures, and one-third empty.

The home office should be very generic so any type of professional can imagine living there, Dana says.

"Otherwise, it can be a distraction: 'What does he do for a living? How much money does he make?'" she says.

Dana's tip for toddler parents is to pack away extraneous "kiddie litter" and keep a laundry basket handy.

"When you get that phone call one hour before a showing, toss everything in that basket and take it to the car with you and your kids, and you're all set," she says.

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