Designers Share 8 Things You Should Never Do Before Selling Your Home

Traditional Style Home Fronted By For Sale Sign
Design experts share tips on what to do and (what not to do) before selling a home.

No matter the state of the real estate market, when selling your home it’s essential to present it at its best. There are many mistakes that sellers make which can turn off buyers, ultimately lowering the sales price. But a little professional guidance can go a long way. I spoke with three top experts to find out what you should never do before you sell your home. Don’t make these mistakes before your property hits the market.

Overshare With Neighbors

There are plenty of reasons for selling a home, not all of which are positive. But if you personally can’t wait to move on from your current home, Alexis Rodgers of Home With Alexis says it’s best to keep this to yourself. While it might not feel like a major issue, sharing too can turn off potential buyers. “Don’t complain to your neighbors about why you can’t stand to live one more day in your house. You never know who the potential buyer may be, and it may end up being a friend or acquaintance of that neighbor.”

Home Under Construction

Making major, unpermitted changes to a home before selling it can have major consequences.

Renovate “The Wrong Way”

While it might be tempting to put up an ADU, install marble countertops, or add a few USB plugs, Rodgers warns against attempting any major changes without the proper permits.

It’s also crucial to make sure you only hire licensed professionals and never do the work yourself, explains interior designer Caitlin Scanlon. “Never start a do-it-yourself home renovation project—no matter how small, unless you are super experienced! These projects can take forever and there’s nothing worse than a half-finished powder room or pergola to turn a buyer off!”

This can also lead to a lower quantity of offers or worse, less than what you anticipated they would be.

Over-Personalize Your Home

“When it’s time to sell your home, the number one thing that we recommend doing is de-personalizing your home,” says interior designer Anna Franklin of Stone House Collective.

“Your personal interior design choices could potentially turn off potential buyers. For instance, even if you like bright colorful spaces, not everyone feels the same. That’s why it is essential to create a neutral look that appeals to a whole variety of buyers, so they can envision themselves living there.”

Contemporary Living Room Decor Red Couch

Open space is often atop buyers’ checklists, making a decluttering a must.

Have Clutter Everywhere 

It’s essential to declutter your home before it hits the market. Remember, you will have to do this anyway when you move. So why not start early? “This immediately can turn off a buyer, as all they will see is the clutter instead of the home. Before putting your home on the market, take the time to clean and tidy up your space. If you have extra clothes or decor you do want to keep, keep them in storage in bins, so they are out of sight,” says Franklin.

If you aren’t ready to get rid of things, consider renting a storage unit in the meantime.

Use Dark Or Vibrant Paint Colors

When it comes to paint, it’s best to keep it neutral. Frankin explains, “You may enjoy the moody green walls in your home, but when it comes to selling, neutral is best. We recommend painting your walls white or greige [a combination of gray and beige] to not only open up the space but also to appeal to more potential buyers.”

Turquoise Office Bonus Room

When it comes to paint, it’s often smart to avoid bold colors.

Skip The House Cleaner

Although you may be less motivated to keep a space clean that you don’t want to live in, no one wants to buy a dirty home. A house cleaner is worth the money and may end up paying for itself.

Use Harsh Chemical Cleaners

Harsh chemical cleaners you buy at a typical supermarket or drugstore can have a scent that lingers, which may be irritating to someone viewing your home in person. Try to buy organic, eco-friendly, or unscented products instead. Scanlon suggests, “If you must do hardcore cleaning and the organic stuff isn’t cutting it—do these chores far in advance of an open house.”

White Dining Room With Large Picture Windows

Consider purchasing a few inexpensive succulents or houseplants instead of fresh flowers.

Consider Flora Options

“Even a single vase in the entryway of sweet-smelling flowers, or structured greens can make the vibe more inviting,” says Scanlon. If you’re not into flowers, consider purchasing a few inexpensive plants instead. Make sure they are properly potted in a neutral style or in a way that is complementary to your decor.


I am a writer, design expert, host of the podcast Bougie Adjacent, and comedic performer. I am absolutely fascinated by all aspects of décor and design. It once took me six months to choose a soap dispenser and I can’t even remember what it looked like. I like bright prints, southern exposure and any location you can call a “village or town.” There are currently over 100 episodes of House Hunters on my DVR.

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