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30 Secrets Your Real Estate Agent Isn’t Telling You

From throwing an open house to listing your home at the right price, these real estate secrets can help you sell your home faster in any market.

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Your open house helps me more than it helps you

Open houses might be a better way for an agent to gain more clients than sell your home. "An open house does not sell the house," explains Jeff Peterson of Excel Real Estate Consultants. "Open houses are a tool for newer agents, or any agent looking to get more buyer clients. In my 15 years of experience, an open house consists of neighbors that are curious about the pricing or people driving by who stop by on a whim." Don't miss these smart ways to sell your home fast.

Bright red open house real estate sign in nice suburban neighborhood, sunny day.RebeccaPavlik/Shutterstock

But open houses can be beneficial if done right

"Open houses work—sometimes," says Katie Wethman, a Realtor licensed in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. "It really depends on the location and price point of the house, and how quickly things are moving in your market. We find that open houses are critical in a fast-moving market and when the house is at an entry-level price point."

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Scents matter

Who can resist the alluring smell of freshly baked cookies? Turns out many home shoppers can. According to a study done by Eric Spangenberg at Washington State University, complex scents like potpourri and cookies can backfire for open houses. Spangenberg also found that shoppers spend 32 percent more in stores with a simple orange scent rather than stores that used a mixture of scents. Another trick is to use the same scent at every open house so return viewers can create a connection with the scent. You'll also want to try these things that make your home look more expensive.

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Don't turn people away because of a mess

If you want to sell your house faster, than a good decluttering is key. However, if you get a last-minute request to show your home, and you didn't have time to Marie Kondo it, don't turn down the offer. An interested buyer will be more concerned about the layout of the house then a few dirty dishes in the sink.

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Don't push away a low offer

"When you're selling a home, it's better to accept an offer early on rather than waiting for the perfect buyer to come along," says Carmen Palma, a Realtor in New York and Florida. "The longer your home sits on the market, the less likely you will receive a full price offer. Buyers are leery of a property that has not sold for months—and you can still counteroffer."

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Ask to get what you paid for

Did you hire the best real estate agent in your area thinking you would get star treatment? Think again. A bulk of your work might be passed on to an assistant or a junior agent. Ask your agent how involved they will be with the process and how you can know if they are worth the cost. Watch out for these ways that moving companies scam you.

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Read before you sign

Make sure you read your agent's listing or buyer's contract carefully before signing it. John Myers of Myers and Myers Real Estate warns about hidden fees for both buyers and sellers. "Some real estate brokerages are charging hidden fees in addition to the commission they earn. They have a variety of names like Real Estate Transaction Fees, Administrative Fees, and other fancy names," he says. It is always a good idea to ask about fees upfront. It's also a smart idea not to fall for this costly home-buying mistake either.

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Don't skip the final walk-through

You might be eager to discuss sofa placement rather than perform a final walk-through, but don't skip this important step. It's your last chance to make sure that repairs were done properly, that the owner's personal items have been removed, and that the items you agreed should stay (washers and dryers, light fixtures) are still there. Follow this checklist to make sure all your bases are covered.

Building Inspector Looking At New PropertySpeedKingz/Shutterstock

Don't bypass inspections either

It can be tempting to skip costly inspections, especially if the home looks in pristine condition. However, skipping the inspection can be a costly mistake. "To allow for full transparency, always use an inspector of your choosing and never be pressured to use an inspector your agent recommended to you," says Lukasz Kukwa, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Not convinced? Check out these 12 crazy things found during a home inspection.

Real Estate: For Sale Sign In Front Of HouseSean Locke Photography/Shutterstock

Beware of seller's agents who overestimate your house's selling price

You have your heart set on a high price, and your agent just wants your business. In order to keep you as a client, an agent might take on what's called "buying the listing." This means that an agent will list your house high, knowing that you will be desperate to reduce the price later on. Meanwhile, the agent gets to enjoy free advertisement through your yard sign and open houses. Real estate agents warn against these mistakes you're making with your home.

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