12 Ways to Botch Your Home Sale

I have never bought or sold a home, but my parents have been looking for a couple months, and they tell me about their experiences. My dad showed me a pretty hilarious picture of a basement “half bath” in a house they looked at. It was just a toilet up against some drywall, with no sink, no door, and no second, third, or fourth wall. The weirdest part was that there was a roll of toilet paper, meaning somebody actually uses that toilet.

That house also had cabinets painted royal blue and shower curtains that matched the bathroom wallpaper, but none of that stopped some old lady from offering above asking price for the place. I guess my point is, Yahoo! Finance needs to try harder on their list. A lot of the things they listed will probably be overlooked if the house is near some great schools. I thought I’d show them what’s what and come up with my own list of 12 ways to botch your home sale. So, I did. Here are 12 ways to botch your home sale:

  1. Too much talk about how your house “isn’t haunted at all.”
    It doesn’t matter whether or not ghosts are real. Most people are dumb enough that “possible presence of ghosts” is their top concern when evaluating a house.
  2. Your house is alive and it eats people.
    On the one hand, I can see why you’d want to sell the place. On the other hand, how are YOU still alive?
  3. Uncomfortable flirting with potential buyers.
    “While your husband is in the bathroom, let me show you the bedroom… or the other bathroom… heck, any of these rooms is spacious enough for us to get to second base!” No. Stop it.
  4. Enormous replica of the Millennium Falcon in the basement that you refuse to remove.
    I don’t care if there’s a functional Space Chess set inside; that doesn’t qualify as a “finished basement.” Also, moving is obnoxious enough without having to excavate some stranger’s hobby.
  5. Any potential buyers end up murdered on the premise (even if you didn’t do it!).
    Aside from the fact that 1. a dead body will mean extra cleaning work for you and 2. dumb people will worry about the house being haunted now, nobody wants to enter into a business transaction worried that they might be murdered.
  6. Overt racial discrimination.
    Yeah, I know, the housing market has historically been one of the most racist parts of the American economy. That doesn’t mean it’s okay. Also, when you are paying by the letter, it doesn’t make financial sense to add “Japanese and dogs need not apply” to your listing in the local paper.
  7. Your roof is still covered in popped balloons from when you tried to fly to south america.
    If you didn’t get this reference, don’t tell me. I’m getting sad just thinking about the possibility of people not seeing that movie. Now I’m getting sad thinking about that first scene. So good.
  8. You forgot to put your house up for sale.
    Classic mistake.
  9. Meth lab explosion
    This is doubly true if it occurs during an open house. See #5.
  10. Anything in the house is visibly held together with duct tape.
    When I was in China, I stayed in a hotel that had patched leaky pipes with packaging tape. I flushed the toilet, was sprayed in the face, and immediately set out to find a different hotel. THIS IS A TRUE STORY.
  11. You modeled the decor on the house in the movie Mouse Hunt, and the Nathan Lane you built out of discarded meat scraps is starting to get pretty ripe.
    If you are thinking about moving some time soon, wait to do this at your new house.
  12. You don’t own a house.
    I am pretty sure that attempting to sell a house you don’t actually own is a type of fraud / extremely illegal.

It turns out I am overflowing with advice for potential home sellers. With the help of my friend Adam, I came up enough “ways to botch your home sale” to publish two of these articles. However, brevity is the soul of wit, so I’m only going to give you a few bonus ways to botch your home sale:

  1. Failure to remove landmines from the yard.
    If you live in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, this will be a major sticking point for potential buyers.
  2. No one seems to find your asbestos jokes amusing.
    One time in college I got in an argument with the rest of my class over whether or not cancer can be funny. It definitely can, but there’s a time and a place.
  3. You use mayonnaise as a cleaning agent, and it is starting to smell like it.
    Click on the article that the linked article is making fun of if you want to learn some weird ways to use mayo to clean your piano.
  4. Your listing says “lots of light.”
    Fuck you. We all know that means it is small. This is very NYC specific, but still hilarious. My friend Adam lives in New York.
  5. Unflattering or rude hobo chalk messages on the fence.
    Hobos have a complex set of coded messages that they write on the side of buildings, to warn other hobos. For example, maybe the owner of the house is an asshole. Or, maybe there is plenty of good jewelry to steal. Go read Areas of My Expertise to learn more. You should learn these if you are interested in buying a house in the 1930s.

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