Have you ever walked into a house and immediately wanted to leave? I have and more importantly I’ve watched clients run out of houses like they were on fire. So what causes these visceral responses? I’ll give you a list of what I’ve seen to prevent you from making the same mistakes. Here’s the top reasons potential buyers will hate your home:
1. Unleash your inner Picasso.
A home my firm was selling had a hand-painted picture on one of the bedroom walls. The picture was a rather poorly executed portrait of horses with a classy red duct tape frame around it. I had both Open Houses and showings on the home and every time clients walked into the bedroom their interest level plummeted. It’s not a difficult fix but it’s enough to kill a sale. The same rules apply to dated painting techniques, bold accent wall colors and borders. Get rid of them.
2. Fido and Fluffy run the place.
You can’t smell your pets because you live there. News flash: Everyone else can. You may have to invest in carpet cleaning, some fresh paint and commit to spending every morning with your vacuum. Animals may need to be crated or even temporarily relocated for a few weeks, especially if the animals are very young or very old.
4. Experimenting in the kitchen
A client of mine was hoping to buy a mixed-use commercial property which featured a restaurant with apartments above. The restaurant was an ethnic place which ironically was the same ethnicity as my client. The food smell in the apartments was so strong he couldn’t stand to live in it and worried that he would have a hard time renting the units. The same thing can happen in your house, try to minimize the amount of strong odors of any kind you have in your home.
5. Unfinished business
Starting a project and leaving it half done is far worse than not starting it at all. No one wants to buy a house with half of a half bathroom or a unfinished partially finished basement. Building materials in the garage, sloppy paint and missing items like trim & flooring are a huge red flag for buyers. If you can’t finish it, don’t start it.
7. Critters big and small
I once had a very high end house with a racoon infestation. When I say infestation I mean a giant racoon jamboree in the attic which required the insulation to be bagged up and a full decontamination of the space. It was expensive and of course the homeowner knew racoons had been in there before, they just didn’t bother telling me. My own home was subject to a yearly antvasion in the Spring so before selling we made sure we called an exterminator. Take care of the problem well in advance, potential buyers don’t want to see your house tented when they drive by.
8. Supervising the showings
As a buyer’s agent there’s pretty much nothing I like less than seeing the home owner on showings. As a listing agent I know it’s also going to hurt. Why? I need (And any other agent needs) to be able to honestly communicate with my clients about the home, that may be difficult with the owner folllowing us around. Now there are moments where it can be useful for the owner to answer questions and point out features but in the end, it makes all parties a bit uncomfortable.
9. Not disclosing financial problems
This can take all kinds of forms from liens, unpaid taxes, foreclosure or bankruptcy. If you want to sell your home be honest with all parties and disclose any financial issues that may effect the sale of the home. Many of them can be remedied with a good plan and they won’t go away on their own. As a listing agent I need to know.
10. Refusing to fix material defects.
I had a nice client whose house I sold in just a few days after listing for a great price. Then the inspection revealed significant issues with the construction of the home, they didn’t have an insepction when they bought the home from the builder. The bill to fix these issues was steep, and unfortunately my client refused to budge even after it was discovered that the furnace was leaking carbon monoxide into the home. In the end I paid to fix some of the issues with the home simply to ensure it closed. There’s a time to dig in your heels and a time to accept reality. A good agent will help you know the difference.
Be realistic, be honest and be smart about the sale of your home. And be sure to hire the right agent