Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Make Home Buyers Hate Your House

Did you know that buyers will turn around and walk back out of your door if they notice one or more of these?

Any odor applies, even what you might judge as an “excellent” odor. What are the worst offenders? How about cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke, pets, with mildew not far behind. If you smoke indoors--the non smoker will know as soon as they open the door. If you have pets, the house may smell bad--even if you don't notice it. Eliminate the odor, present potential buyers with a clean, fresh atmosphere, not a house full of perfumes to cover up the odors.

Dogs that Meet You at the Door or in the Driveway
Control your pets--dogs, cats, mouse, snake, whatever. Some people are frightened and others irritated. Did you plan to put them in a bathroom, bedroom or garage and ask people not to open the door? Would you buy a house you can't inspect? Remove pets during showings. If you can't, contain them in crates for their own safety and to show respect for the feelings of potential buyers.

Dirty Bathrooms
You may be comfortable with your filthy bathrooms but they are an instant turnoff for a buyer. Scour them, paint them, purchase a new shower curtain, rugs and towels, and make them shine. Who knows, you might be so impressed you begin a new habit.

Dimly Lit Rooms
A buyer is visiting to SEE your house. Can’t see, do you honestly think they will make an offer to purchase. Brighten it up:
  • Replace dim light fixtures
  • Install additional light fixtures
  • Install (quality) sun tunnels or skylights
  • Remove heavy drapes to let the light stream through windows
  • Repaint dark rooms with colors that reflect light
  • Trim trees and shrubs that shade the house
Dirty and fogged windows are another buyer turnoff. Clean them inside and out to bring in more light. If possible, replace any double-pane windows with broken seals. You can find them by looking for a foggy residue that cannot be removed.

A House Full of Busy Wallpaper
Busy wallpaper turns off most buyers. People who love wallpaper will rarely like what you've chosen. You must appeal to the masses when selling your home. Don’t paint over it, because it will be obvious that you did. Buyers know that paint makes removing it even more difficult.

Damp Basements
Dampness or damp smells in the basement screams leaks! Most problems we find are not caused by faulty foundations. They occur because rainwater is being diverted towards the foundation instead of away from it.

  • Grade slopping toward the home
  • Clogged gutters and underground drains
  • No rain gutters along roofline or leaking gutters
  • Downspouts aimed the wrong way
How difficult is it to go outside the next time it rains and determine where runoff water is going. Don’t have an umbrella? Buy one!

Roaches, spiders, and insect that shouldn't be in the house. Get rid of them.
Poor Curb Appeal
If you can’t grab a buyer from the curb you will not sell your home for top dollar. Minor repairs, a fresh coat of paint, new front door, and new garage doors to mention a few ideas make a world of difference. The last house I sold I did all of the above and went one better with a new $600.00 mail box as the curb which screamed “look at me I’m special”. There was a much better house than mine across the street. Which house do you think sold first and at a better price?

Gutters with Plants Growing in Them
Seriously, some people never clean their gutters. What do you think buyers wonder about other issues with the house when a tree is growing out of your gutter? Remember the drainage issue above? Cleaning clogged gutters might help.

Sellers Who Hang Around for Showings
Yes, you... leave the house during showings. Home buyers feel awkward about opening closet doors and lingering for a really good look at the house if the seller is home.

Fascinating, most of the items home buyers hate are issues you can correct without spending a lot of money. Remember this, if your house develops a reputation among agents as the house that smells, the house with the huge barking dog or the house where the owner won't leave people alone, it will be too late. Your house will be last on their list to show potential buyers.

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