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It can seem deceptively easy to sell your home—simply place it on the market and wait for the offers to roll in. But even homes in the hottest of Canada’s markets can sell for less than they are worth if owners commit some basic, and all too common, mistakes.

Read on for five things you should never do when selling your home.

Don’t overspend on improvements. Sure, it makes sense to cover up any small scuffs and dents, and to invest in a new coat of paint. But you shouldn’t be shelling out thousands of dollars for a home you’re looking to sell anyway, especially if the changes you’re looking to make are purely cosmetic. Draw up a budget between $500 – $2,000 for minor improvements to give your home an extra edge. Anything more than that may be more difficult to recoup.

Don’t overprice. Ideally, your agent will guide you here, but it’s a good idea to do your own research as well. Look at what other homes in your area have sold for in the last three months, and consider what a reasonable listing price might be for yours. It can be tempting to choose the absolute highest price, but go too far and your home could languish on the market, scaring off buyers until you eventually have to relist.

Smell is important. If you’re living in your home while you’re showing it—and let’s face it, most sellers are—you need to be conscious not to let your home appear lived in. One of the biggest overlooked factors? Smell. Clear out any obvious items like kitty litter and garbage, and make sure you’ve got candles burning and cookies in the oven well before any potential buyers walk in the door.

Clutter is not your friend. What may seem cosy to you will likely look cluttered to buyers. The only thing that should be visible during a showing is the furniture itself, and a few carefully chosen accessories. Magazines, shoes and unopened mail should all be carefully stowed away, where would-be buyers won’t notice them.

Keep it simple. It can be tempting to impose your own personal style on your home while prepping it for a sale, but remember, buyers want to imagine themselves in the space. That means any original artwork, bright paint colours and funky furniture have to go. When in doubt, go for a simple white background with the occasional pop of colour. Works every time.

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