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When you're trying to sell your home, it can be difficult to understand why buyers can't just see past things that they are going to change anyway — like the furniture. But the first step to successfully selling your home is to accept that potential buyers WILL judge your home based on their first impression. So it's important to make the best first impression you can, says real estate agent and "Listing Impossible" star, Aaron Kirman.
"What we have to do is tell people: to sell a house, you have to spend money to make money," Aaron says. Of course, no one likes to hear that, but Aaron wouldn't say it if he didn't have years of experience to back up his claim.
Aaron says his advice is to keep your house in great shape for yourself while you're living in it. "That way when you go to sell it, you actually don't have to make that many changes [and] it's an easy process," he explains. "But a lot of people just don't know that concept and we have to change a lot to get it sold."
Aaron is sharing the two biggest mistakes people commonly make when trying to sell their homes, and giving advice to one viewer who hasn't been able to sell her home for a year and a half.
COMMON MISTAKES SELLERS MAKE
1. OVERPRICING THE HOME
The first mistake people often make is overpricing their home, according to the "Listing Impossible" star.
"People tend to always think their house is worth a lot more than it is," Aaron says. "And they always give reasons why."
2. FAILING TO PREPARE THE HOME
The second big mistake is simply not preparing the house. "A lot of times houses are dirty, they're cluttered," Aaron says. You want to make the home feel personal, but not too personal, he explains. You don't want people envisioning you in your home, so definitely get rid of clutter and clear out personal photos before showing your home.
On the flip side, potential buyers should still be able to envision someone living there — ideally themselves! So it should still feel warm and inviting, like they could kick off their shoes and make themselves right at home.
"In order to sell a house, a buyer needs to feel really comfortable and see themselves in it, want to sit down, want to relax and want their family there," Aaron says.
To help illustrate this point, Aaron is helping out Alex, one of our viewers, whose house has been on the market for a year and a half.
"The thing I always tell people is, you can love your house and your friends can love your house, but if you're not buying your own house and your friends aren't writing you a check, it means nothing," the real estate agent points out.
ROOM-BY-ROOM CHANGES THAT WILL HELP YOU SELL YOUR HOME FASTER
IN THE LIVING ROOM: MAKE BUYERS WANT TO SIT DOWN
The white is great, Aaron says about Alex's living room. "People like that neutral color. That's actually what sells houses," he says.
Aaron's suggestion for Alex's living room is to change up the placement and scale of the furniture, which will make the room feel less cluttered. He recommends putting in smaller-scale furniture that will make the room feel bigger, like two smaller loveseats in place of the large sofa.
"If a buyer sits down on a couch, there's a good chance they're going to buy your house," he says.
IN THE DINING ROOM: SIMPLIFY + LIGHTEN DESIGN
A dark color like this in a small room makes the room feel even smaller, Aaron points out. And the blue paint on the walls is also very specific, eliminating a large pool of buyers who don't like blue.
The framed artwork is lovely, Aaron says, but the pieces are very specific and they are competing with each other.
"You have a lot of colors going on," Aaron tells Alex. In general, the goal is to "get a thematic, easy flow going so a buyer can imagine that it's them living in the space." Here, there's too much going on and the design elements are very specific, according to the real estate expert.
Aaron also says that the furniture feels heavy and dated for the space, especially the chairs. "We always recommend light furniture," he says. Again, when in doubt, go for white or other light, neutral tones.
IN THE BATHROOM: TONE DOWN BUSY WALLPAPER, STRONG COLORS AND/OR DESIGN ELEMENTS
It may sound harsh but when you have busy wallpaper, bold colors, a strong theme or eccentric design elements it can turn a lot of buyers off. "Buyers are going to hate this room. Get rid of the wallpaper, paint the wood white, this is a very heavy piece of furniture that doesn't go with the theme of your house," Aaron says.
You can watch new episodes of CNBC's "Listing Impossible" Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT.