Smile if you are selling your home now.

It's a good time to have a home on the market because the usual indicators say it's a strong seller's market.

Consumer confidence is rising as unemployment dips down. The national economy is in a growth spurt.

According to's Market "Hotness" index, even traditionally struggling cities like Las Vegas and Rochester are seeing strong real estate sales, with California and the Great Lakes Region experiencing a particularly encouraging market.

It's not just primary residences that are selling. Spring 2017 data shows that about 9.26 million Americans own a second home, and with increased consumer optimism, more folks will likely take the plunge into purchasing a second home.

My message to you is, "Don't blow it." If you plan to list your home, please don't count on the rosy statistics to carry you through. You still have to make your home the one buyers want.

As I look at homes online and IRL, I am puzzled by the number of sellers who don't seem to "get it." I'm talking to you if you still have 47 decorative magnets on your refrigerator door, if you have any room painted with a different color on each wall, if your online pictures were taken with a cell phone, if shingles are loose on your roof. It's time to get into serious seller mindset.

So that you don't shoot yourself in the foot, let's review the three most common sins I see home sellers make.

Emotional attachment

I get it that your home is chock-a-block with memories. I get it that it's difficult to imagine someone else coming in to change the paint colors, furniture arrangement, and landscaping you've so carefully finessed over the years.

As soon as you decide to sell your home it's time to face that it's no longer yours. Focus on the future rather than the past. Until you detach yourself emotionally, staging your home will be difficult if not impossible. Fortunately, you don't need to spend a fortune to properly stage your home.

Start by packing up personal photos and memorabilia. Potential buyers need to connect with the home, not with your family. Then, remove whatever is especially distracting or unusual, like collections, oddly placed or excess furniture, controversial artwork, vivid wall colors, or clutter of any kind.

During negotiations, if buyers ask about making changes to the home, like repainting or swapping out light fixtures, shake it off rather than be offended.
Do photos of your home 
show its best features?

Poor photos

Everyone knows that good curb appeal helps sell a home. The new curb is the Internet. People shop online, so photos sell homes.

Your online photos offer a wonderful opportunity to visually brag about your property. Show it off. Don't be that home seller with poor quality, confusing or uncomplimentary photos.

You have one chance to impress buyers via the web. Here are my five best tips for making your home more photogenic.

One. Hire a professional real estate photographer. It will pay for itself in more viewings, a quicker sale, and a better selling price. Some Realtors will roll this cost into their cost of doing business. If not, spring for the cost yourself.

Two. Work with your listing agent to show the important features of your home. As an expert, she will know what buyers are looking for. Be sure these areas are clean, staged, and camera-ready.

Three. Don't waste buyers' time and patience with insignificant photos like a closeup of your dryer's control panel, or inside of an empty linen closet, or your collection of lawn ornaments. Each photo should have enough information in it that it helps anyone understand more about the floor plan of your home.

Four. Insist that photos be edited for quality and effectiveness. Sometimes cropping, contrast, color-enhancing, or retouching (without being dishonest) is necessary. This step is especially important if the photos were not taken by a professional. If your Realtor, or you, or a friend takes the photos, make sure plenty of pictures are taken and then select only the best. Include one or two images of each room and try to show different amenities in each photo.

Five. Prepare for your photo shot the way you would for your own glamour shot. Declutter like you mean it! Small items are distracting in photography. Aim for clear surfaces in all your pictures. No toys, grooming essentials, clothing, or small appliances, please. Think model home.

Even if your home is spotless and beautifully staged, photos that fall short will turn buyers away. Let your online listing make your home look irresistible to just about anyone.

A good photo will show both floor and ceiling. The lighting will be evenly distributed, 
and walls will be perpendicular to the floor, not bowed out. 
The viewer should be able to understand its relationship to other rooms.

Incomplete repairs 

Most home buyers want a turn-key property. Any buyer looking for a fixer-upper is looking for a bargain. Don't be a fixer-upper property.

Your goal should be a home inspection report that doesn't specify a hundred little quirks you never bothered to fix. A short, non-scary inspection report will keep the buyer and his lender happy. A long inspection report is a deal-breaker.

I can understand that you don't want to spend money on the home you hope to vacate soon. Remind yourself that every month you spend in your home costs you money in taxes, utilities, and insurance. Realtors and serious buyers know how long a home has been on the market, so a home that hasn't sold for months on end looks stale. You don't want to end up in the bargain bin! You want to sell quickly.

It pays to have your own pre-listing home inspection done. It's too easy to ignore or just not know about the simple (or complex) problems your home might have. Once you know what the red flags are, you can replace that back door lock that never worked right, or schedule a plumber to fix that leaky drain under the sink, or arrange to have the air ducts professionally cleaned (which should be done every three to five years).

Get more home staging advice in my eBooks on how to stage your home to make it sell fast for a price you like. I've been there, and I can help you stage your own home.

Top and bottom photos: Jaimee Rose Interiors