Sellers’ Four Big Sins: 
Music, Mirrors, and Masking Scents & Paint

It’s been a long time since Richard Nixon and Watergate, but it remains true — at least in real estate — that “the cover-up is worse than the crime.”

In that vein, here are four things that home Sellers misguidedly do to throw Buyers (and their agents) off the, umm . . . scent.

One.  Too-loud Music.

Tasteful, background music can set a nice mood — and show off the home’s built-in speaker system.

However, too-loud music invariably arouses suspicion:  what nearby nuisance is the Seller trying to divert your attention from?

House of Mirrors

Two. Mirrors (plural). 

One mirror — especially over a fireplace — is textbook staging.

However, an overly large mirror — or too many of them — immediately suggests a Seller who’s trying to compensate for a too-small room.

Three.  Masking scents, i.e., air fresheners, etc.

In my experience, Sellers are trying to cover one of two things:  mustiness (typically in the basement), or pet smells.

The problem, of course — besides how conspicuous air “fresheners” are — is that there are usually multiple, other clues betraying the problem.

Like clogged gutters, chalky concrete blocks (called “efflorescence”), and water stains on the basement floor or walls.

Four.  Touch-up Paint.

Aren’t all home Sellers advised that fresh, neutral paint is a great way to get their home ready for sale?

The problem is when the fresh paint is limited to a strategic area — for example, a ceiling that may have sustained damage due to a leaky roof or an ice dam. 

As with water in the basement, the catch is that multiple, other clues usually give the problem away (if not to the Buyer, then their Realtor or the Buyer’s home inspector).

Then, the Seller not only has to account for the underlying problem — but has a major (if not fatal) credibility problem with the prospective Buyer.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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