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Top 10 Things Not to Do to Decorate Your Home to Sell

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It's tempting, when you're thinking of selling your home, to spend money on renovations or fix-ups to really wow potential buyers. But beware! You might want to make some changes that you've dreamed of since you moved in. Your home will so beautiful that you won't want to move out.

Some major renovations will never pay off. See what they are and don't waste your decorating dollars by making these really big mistakes! Save your money for your new home!

1. Put in Expensive New Carpet

Private home, exterior with gray siding, and front lawn, summer
Peter Gridley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
If your carpet is dirty and dated, it is a good idea to pull it up. But don't replace it with the best money can buy. Find a modest quality carpet at a modest price and get it put in. Whatever you choose will make the home look cleaner and better cared for and you can save thousands of dollars over pricey carpet. The buyers will probably replace it, anyway, with what they want.

2. Install Top-of-the-Line Appliances in Your Kitchen

There's no doubt about it! New appliances are a good selling point. But don't buy gourmet cook-style top-of-the-line appliances. If your stove and dishwasher are dated, get new ones. Many home buyers want to use their own appliances, especially refrigerators. And the features that are important to you might not be to them. Remember, you're doing only what you have to do to sell the home.

3. Retile Your Bathroom with Carrera Marble

The point here is that the bathroom should look clean and fresh. It doesn't have to look like a bathroom in a 5-star hotel if you have a modest home. Maybe you'll get the result you need by simply removing old dirty caulk around the tub and replacing it with fresh caulk. Or do a good cleaning with the proper cleanser to get the tile sparkling.

4. Put in a Swimming Pool

You may have a wonderful back yard that would be the perfect place for a swimming pool--and you've dreamed of having one since you bought the house. But the expense can be prohibitive, installation can take forever, and many buyers just don't want to be bothered with pool maintenance. Instead, spend several hundred dollars with some colorful landscaping. Clean up the weeds and trim the trees. Plant some sod in the bare spots. You'll get your money back with a happy buyer.

5. Paint Your Child's Bedroom to Match the Bedspread

Home buyers are looking for their new home, not yours. Keep the walls neutral and buy inexpensive bedding or window treatments to show off the room they'll live in. If your daughter's favorite colors are lavender and pink, do not paint the walls for her. The buyers will just look at them and think of all the work they'll need to do as soon as they move in.

6. Install Expensive Custom Draperies

More and more, fussy, heavy, floral window treatments are out. If you must put something on the windows, choose simple side panels or cut-to-measure blinds on all the windows. The look will be uniform throughout the home and the buyer will see a clean pallet to decorate to their own taste when they move in. Keep it simple and see the offers come in.

7. Paint the Outside a Color to Make Your House Really Stand Out

It's true, you do want your home to stand out on the block. But it should attract buyers by how well it fits into the neighborhood, not by how it sticks out like a sore thumb. The exterior might need freshing up and perhaps a good power wash might do the trick. Then consider re-painting the front door, since that's the first thing a buyer will see. If you must paint the house, choose a color that is in harmony with the neighbors.

8. Cut Down All the Trees So People Can See the House

If your home is set in the middle of a jungle of weeds, bushes, and trees so that no one can see it, by all means, trim everything back. But mature trees on a property are worth their weight in dollars. Professional tree-trimming is costly, but it's better to get it done so that potential buyers can see what they're buying.

9. Put in Custom Garage Organizers

Who wouldn't love to have a fully-organized garage space, with tools hanging neatly against the wall and the floor clean of oil spills? Dreamy! But not worth spending money on. Get everything in order, put stuff in storage boxes that you can take with you, clean the floor, get rid of junk.

10. Fill in Empty Walls With Family Portraits and Your Child's Artwork

You have an empty wall in the living room and lots of great family photos, framed and ready to hang. But don't! In fact, you should remove as many family photos as you possible can. For one thing, you don't want a lot of strangers looking at pictures of your adorable kids. In addition, home buyers should be able to visualize their own family pictures on the walls, not yours. Get rid of them!

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