The following are articles written by Janet Davison
have been published in the
10 Ways to Make Home Buyers Hate Your House!
Spring is a optimum time to sell a home! With plenty of choices available, make sure you are not doing any of the top ten things that can make a home buyer look past yours!
1. Unappealing "curb appeal"
- Statistics say it only takes 10 seconds for buyers to form a first impression. The view of your home from the curb must capture the buyer's interest so they want to come in to see more. Potential buyers will keep on driving when they pull up to a house with an unkempt yard, peeling paint, plants growing in the gutters or garbage cans that haven't been put out of sight.
- A "For Sale by Owner" Sign may be another curbside deterrent. Many buyers question why a home is not being listed by a Realtor--Was there something the Realtor wanted them to fix before taking the listing? Is the home owner trying to cut corners on cost? They may have fears that everything--including paperwork--might not be done correctly without a Realtor.
- Nowadays, the computer is likely to be the place where buyers get their first introductions to your home. Make sure your online photos are taken after cleaning, de-cluttering and staging when the home is picture perfect! Photos of empty rooms do not evoke the emotional responses that lead to sales.
- Dogs that meet buyers at the door or in the driveway are a poor welcome to a home that is for sale. Don't give Rover the chance to frighten your prospects away!
2. Something smells fishy to me!
- House odors are a major turn-off for potential buyers. The smells left by smoking, pets, smoky fireplaces and even food make buyers question the care given to the home. The smell of mildew conjures up thoughts of more serious problems. Because people tend to acclimate to the scents around them, homeowners can become desensitized to the odors in their own home.
- If odors are evident, do not try to cover them up with perfumes, but rather, eliminate them with extra cleaning. If this is not effective and you want to sell your home, you will need to replace any carpet or other surfaces that retain an offensive odor.
3. Clutter it up!
- The first step in preparing your home for sale is to make it clutter free. When the flat surfaces of a home are, for the most part empty, it leaves a clean canvas to create a simple, coordinated, compelling look - that sells! Remove all items you do not REALLY NEED to use: personal toiletries, knick knacks, anything that gives the appearance of clutter. These items will have to be packed eventually, so unless they have an "everyday use" they night as well be packed sooner than later!
- Clutter refers to decorative items as well. Normally the amount of books in bookcases and items on shelves needs to be reduced by at least a third. Create a neutral environment by taking down personal collections and family photos. The goal is for the home buyers to "picture" their family in your home, not yours!
- Too much furniture makes a house seem small and should be viewed as "clutter." A steadfast rule of thumb is "less is best!"
4. True Grit
- Houses that sell quickly are squeaky clean--windows washed inside and out, base boards, walls, carpets, tile grout, closets, drawers...everything. This is so important that if cleaning is a chore to you, a professional cleaner might be the best solution.
- Bathrooms and kitchens need to sparkle. No one wants to picture living with someone else's grit.
5. Dated appearance
- Walk through your home with a critical eye to notice easy fixes to update your home. Oftentimes fresh paint is the solution. Multiple rooms with busy wallpaper are not appealing to most home buyers. Better to remove it and paint the wall in a warm but neutral color. Wood paneling, old cabinets and even fireplaces can be given new life with a coat of the surface-appropriate paint.
- While silk trees and greenery add an element of coziness and life to a room, silk flowers have gone the way of shag carpets. Floral swags above art and doorways are a part of the previous decade.
6. Dimly lit rooms
- No one wants to live in a dungeon. Dark rooms appear dreary. Sometimes it is as easy as brightening up dark corners with lamps! Other times it may be necessary to install additional light fixtures. Replace dim light bulbs with new ones.
- Trim trees and bushes that create too much shadow in the rooms.
- Repaint dark rooms with colors that reflect light. Bold, dark colors may be your preference, but they can be a game-stopper in a sale. Serious buyers try to imagine their furniture in the home. If the paint colors would be too conflicting, their second thought is of how much work, time and money it would take to repaint.
- During the Open House and Show Times light the lamps, pull up the blinds, open the curtains and let the sun shine in.
7. Unfinished Repairs
- Neglected repairs position your home as a "fixer upper." This significantly decreases both the number of interested buyers and the price they expect to pay. Go through your home with a notepad and a pen and write down every item that would appear on a "honey-do" list -- ant then, honey, do it! (Or hire someone!)
8. Show an empty house
- Only 10% of buyers can visualize living in an empty house. Martha Webb, author of Dress your House for Success, says, "Empty houses do not sell more quickly or profitably. Lifelessness is not only a difficult negative to overcome, it also attracts low offers because it sends the message that it MUST SELL; the owners have moved on and need to unload their house."
9. Stage it yourself
- Staging refers to the process of positioning the furniture, color, accents and accessories into "vignettes" that reflect comfortable living. The process is designed to create a memorable feeling that lasts beyond the tour so buyers will want to come back to the home...to live there! Because of the personal attachment to their homes, most often sellers lack the objectivity need to see their homes as a commodity being prepared top "appeal to the masses!"
- With staging, the bath can be presented as a spa-like experience waiting to happen! The set table and counter accessories in the kitchen create the thought of enjoying time spent together here with family and friends. Stagers have the necessary inventory to supplement your own belongings if the house is being occupied while it is on the market. If the house is vacant, stagers can place just the right amount of furnishings and accessories to make buyers feel at home.
10. Owners being present during showings
- While you would never leave your home unattended, you, the owner need to vacate the premises during showings! Buyers are much more comfortable inspecting a house if the owner is not there. In the presence of the homeowner, buyers feel like "guests" and are likely to feel awkward about opening closets and poking around to take a really good look.
- In an effort to be friendly, homeowners tend to engage potential buyers in conversation--about their home, their history the neighborhood or their families. These conversations divert the buyer's attention and make them feel as if they are imposing.
- During Open Houses and Show Times leave your home in the hands of a professional Realtor. Since most home buyers tour in pairs, they appreciate the liberty to talk about your home candidly with each other and the Realtor. S/he knows how to keep a professional distance while still pointing out the highlights that will sell your home.
Most of the items on this "Top 10 List" have easy remedies that will make buyers fall in love with your home. Make sure your home is totally ready before you list it. First impressions are lasting impressions. If your house gets tagged as the "house that smells" or "the one with the electric blue living room" it may be too late. Agents want to show houses that they know buyers will love -- and, as the homeowner, so do you!