There's a handful of things that universally turn us off from another human. Being rude and disrespectful likely tops the list. Those are followed closely by bad breath (or hygiene in general) and maybe even someone who is "dark" or scary looking.

Interestingly enough, those are some of the same traits that turn us off from a potential listing. We have talked a bunch about how to make your home shine for those listing appointments. Today, I'd like to explore a few areas that you can and should avoid (or fix) when you've got a showing on the books. Let's dive in.

One of the more obvious trouble-spots (though not the easiest to remedy) are your old tired fixtures. Replacing lighting and faucets is a quick and easy fix, but if your kitchen is super-outdated it will be a bit of an investment to update that.

In my current home, we were fortunate that the cabinets and flooring were in good shape and not terribly outdated. Replacing the sink, oven and fridge was a quick (albeit pricey) fix that brought the entire room up to snuff. If your kitchen really is that "tired," you'll be well-served to save your pennies and invest in that room.

Speaking of bad breath, nothing turns off potential buyers than those errant, awful smells. Pets, water damage, smoke, rodents, etc. can all contribute to a less than desirable experience during that walk-through.

"I always recommend having a (good) friend visit your home and evaluate the smells," Badger Realty agent Nubian Duncan said. "We tend to grow accustomed to our home's aroma and having a fresh set of nostrils do a walk-through can save you the embarrassment or, worse yet, a lost sale."

I know I mention this often, and it was nice to see it in print while doing my research for this article. Messy, cluttered rooms are a big turn-off for potential buyers.

Beyond the notion that buyers don't want to have to wade through all of your stuff to see a full room, they also don't want to see loads of pictures of you and your family. Treat this listing appointment like you are showing a hotel room or a bed and breakfast. The less of your "mess" is visible and the more the buyers can picture all of their stuff in the home, the better off you will be.

Just like the shady-looking guy on the dark side of the street, most buyers will not appreciate a dark, gloomy home. Now that we have more daylight, open up all of those window shades and turn on every light in the house.

You would be well-served to buy or borrow more lighting options if your home is particularly dark when the sun goes down. Not only is this a more inviting "scene," but it also shows that you are not trying to hide anything with your poor lighting.

We have all heard the notion of baking cookies and lighting a fire in the fireplace to create a warm, welcoming environment for showings. I agree with those ideas fully, but will go one step further.

A crackling fire in the fireplace does no good if the rest of the house is freezing cold. If you are planning on a handful of visitors, bump the heat up a bit higher than normal to account for the busyness of the front door. It also stands to reason that a warmer home is a more comfortable home, so this warmth can serve you well with only a single buyer visiting.

This last one is a bit sensitive, but it bears repeating (and heeding). One of the more critical things you can remove from your home during a showing is staring back at you in the mirror. Just like when you are test-driving a car, the last thing you want is the salesman riding shotgun. You want to test the car's handling, acceleration and overall feel.

None of us feel very comfortable doing that when the salesman (or owner) is sitting there staring at you. Let the real estate agent do their job and remove yourself from the home. You will inevitably make the potential buyers feel uncomfortable asking questions and you will most assuredly talk too much.

Showing a home is a bit of a delicate dance. You want to be forthright and honest, and you also want to show the best sides of the property and generate interest. Both of those can be accomplished by you tidying up and updating where necessary and then going out for a coffee while the buyers are there with your agent. Happy selling.

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