Selling your home? Real estate agents say you'll sell it faster if you avoid the most common mistakes that sabotage a sale. For example:

  • Bad landscaping. It may sound obvious, but you'll instantly improve your home's appeal if you mow the lawn, trim trees and shrubs, and plant some colorful flowers around your yard. Experts say it's also worth hiring a professional landscaper to help, because if your yard looks like the set from a haunted house movie, potential homebuyers will drive by and never come back!
  • Quirky paint jobs. Chrissie Sutherland is a home stager who offers this rule of thumb for painting your home: "Fun colors are for living, neutral colors are for selling." In other words, you're less likely to sell if your rooms are painted scarlet-red, lemon-yellow, or forest-green, because rooms will look larger, and more attractive to buyers, if they're painted with warm, neutral colors, like beige, ivory, or light gray.
  • Brass fixtures, like brass switch plates, railings, or chandeliers. The experts say those are "out," while chrome, bronze, and black fixtures are "in" right now.
  • Popcorn ceilings. Experts say those went out of style in the 1980s, when a study found that one of the materials used to create that "popcorn" look contained asbestos, which is linked to causing cancer. The fix? First, hire a licensed inspector to test your ceiling for asbestos. You can find one at Then find a good contractor to get rid of your popcorn ceiling.