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Toxic Seller Syndrome: Do You Have It?

Without realizing it, you could inadvertently be sabotaging your own home sale.

Selling a home is a stressful process — the pressure is on to move the home quickly and at a good price. Ideally, you’ve done your homework and selected a great agent, and spent time making your home sparkle, and now it’s practically HGTV-style ready to sell!

“Then what’s the holdup?” you may be wondering when your listing lags. You complain to your friends, “Why is my home not selling when the market is so hot right now?”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but have you considered that you may be the issue?

You may disregard this notion as ridiculous, but hear me out — if your home isn’t selling and the obvious bases are covered, it may be time to look in the mirror to see if you may be the root of the problem.

Here are a few of the most notable ways you could inadvertently be sabotaging your own home sale. Read carefully through the “symptoms” below to see if you are indeed suffering from Toxic Seller Syndrome.

Limiting property access

A key component to selling a home is allowing interested parties to actually view the property. (Gasp!)

I know, it sounds like a no-brainer. But if you are limiting viewing times to the point that potential buyers are having trouble scheduling a showing, you may be driving them away.

I understand that weekends may not be ideal and evenings aren’t “good” for you, but remember the goal is to sell your house! So loosen up the calendar and make it easier for buyers to tour your home and see all the great improvements you’ve made.

House-showing drama

Trust me when I tell you that if you insist on being present for house showings, you are negatively impacting the sale of your home.

Buyers want to speak honestly and openly about the condition of the home with each other and their agent. Having you present for this process is just plain awkward — like first date with lettuce stuck between your teeth kind of awkward.

I’m sure your agent has already told you this was a bad idea; she was right. There’s no need to be a proverbial third wheel; let the buyers walk through and view your home without your looming presence.

Ignoring advice

You are working with your agent for a reason, presumably because of her proven track record and ability to sell your home at fair market price with favorable terms. Then why wouldn’t you follow your agent’s advice?

Repairs and upgrades, pricing and contract items; these are all areas of an agent’s expertise. If you find yourself consistently ignoring her input, it’s time to ask yourself why you hired her in the first place.

Pro tip: If you continue to rebuff your agent’s suggestions for selling your home faster, at some point your star agent is going to walk away from the deal altogether, leaving you high and dry.


Selling a home can be an emotional roller coaster. You love your home and you’re attached; an inability to let go is a common hiccup when it’s time to sell.

Maybe you remodeled it from top to bottom and built up a considerable amount of sweat equity. Or perhaps it’s been the family home for over 30 years. Whatever the case, sometimes this love for a home can manifest itself to buyers as inflexibility.

Rigidity can easily cost you a sale: refusing to come down a few thousand dollars on an inflated listing price, unwillingness to fix a couple of minor issues revealed in an inspection report, or staying firm on the closing date when a day later would have cinched the deal. The list goes on and on.

There are many tiny contract negotiation points along the way that can make — or in this case break — a deal.

Take a good hard look at the “sticking points” that have come up when negotiating with buyers. If you start to see a pattern of your unwillingness to compromise, it could be that you are suffering from inflexibility, a symptom of the dreaded Toxic Seller Syndrome.

What now?

After having carefully read through the above symptoms and honestly assessing your behavior, it’s time get real with yourself.

If you have indeed contracted Toxic Seller Syndrome, the first step toward a cure is admitting you have it. The next step is to trust your agent and heed her advice. Talk with her about why your home hasn’t sold and develop a plan for how you can work as a team to expedite the process.

The faster you make these steps a priority, the sooner you will be sitting at the closing table signing documents.