Most experienced agents have developed a sort of open house modus operandi. They can almost set themselves on autopilot, whipping out scented candles and arranging one sheets with a mindless ease. That kind of comfort and confidence can be the mark of a talented agent, but all the groundwork in the world can be undone in seconds if you make one of these common home-showing mistakes.

We’ve rounded up six of the most flagrant sale-ruining offenses below. Which ones have you experienced first-hand?

1. Failing to Be Prepared

Buying a house is a huge decision, and people want to trust the person selling it to them. Agents who show up without key information, access to the house or detailed knowledge of the property come across as unprofessional and indifferent. A checklist or preshowing to-do list can go a long way toward nixing completely preventable errors that could otherwise scuttle a sale.

2. Stinky Surprises

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and trust us, home seekers are judging each property using all five of their senses. Leftover cooking smells, strong perfumes or incense, and cigarette smoke can all leave visitors with a decidedly nasty opinion of an otherwise pleasant property, but flowery candles and room sprays are often just as bad. A deep cleaning – including the carpet – is your best bet, and be sure to urgently recommend that the owners lay off the fish fries while showings are ongoing.

3. Stray Sellers

It is almost never a good idea to have sellers present at a showing. They tend to be overprotective of their properties, especially if there’s a long history associated with the home and, therefore, a lot of emotion at stake, and they tend to make buyers nervous. No one wants to openly critique a home in front of the person who lives there, and that kind of trepidation may make people at your open house less likely to explore and, therefore, less likely to buy.

If sellers insist on being present, establish some ground rules regarding what they should and shouldn’t say. While you never want to hide important details that ethically need to be disclosed, there’s no reason for an unwitting owner to blurt out information about price reductions or competing offers.

4. Letting Fido Lead the Way

An overeager owner doesn’t even hold a candle to an omnipresent pooch. A pet that follows buyers from room to room is not only off-putting, but the cute fur ball also serves as a constant reminder there may have been “accidents,” the tell-tale signs of which could be lurking under the carpet waiting to be spotted (or worse, smelled).

5. Leaving the Home Unlit

A dark home is a depressing home. More than that, a dimly lit property doesn’t show very well; buyers can’t see the details, and they may even think you’re hiding something. Arrive early to flip on a few lights and lay out a friendly welcome, and if some rooms are still a bit shadowy, stage a few floor lamps to brighten things up.

6. Eyesore Décor

Personal taste is a wonderful thing, but it’s also very subjective. Racy paintings, garish wall hangings, exotic statues – for some people they may be captivating, while others could find them distasteful. The bottom line is that they’re a distraction drawing attention away from selling points that have a much broader appeal.

Showing a home to its full potential takes talent, but avoiding the pitfalls above requires similar skill. The silver lining is this – for every pothole you successful swerve around, you’re that much closer to a sale.,,