Are you having trouble selling your house? Perhaps you are sure that the price is just right. You know that your agent is marketing the hell out of it and you are even getting quite a few showings. But how come you are not getting any offers? It could be that you are inadvertently scaring away your buyers. Now we don’t want that to happen. So let’s take a look at 5 mistakes that sellers make that scare away buyers.
Seller Mistake #1: Being at the house during the inspection.
Buyers don’t want to be reminded that this is your house. They find it awkward if the seller greats them at an inspection. Worse yet, if you follow them around explaining this or that feature or how you did this upgrade, it is going to make them nervous. You want your home to generate in the buyer a sense of peace, tranquility and safety. If they leave feeling bothered, stalked or spied on they will equate that feeling with the house and it will factor in on their decision.
Solution: At a showing, leave before the buyers come. Go to Starbucks or run an errand for an hour.
Seller Mistake #2: Evidence That You Live There
I know it sounds ridiculous – you do live there. But a buyer wants to pretend that you don’t. They want it to be their home, not your house. That means that before each showing you have to make it look like you moved out. Put away all the clutter, clothes, dishes, family photos and knick-knacks.
Make all of your closets half-full – it gives the buyer a sense of lots of storage space. Kitchens should have no more than 3 items on the counter. Bookshelves should be one-third books, one-third vases or decoration and one-third should be empty. In fact, why not make your life a little easier and just permanently pack them away the day after you list the house. It will make moving a little easier. Right before a showing walk around with a laundry basket and grab all the kid clutter, throw blankets, spurious socks and mail and then shove it under the bed. If after you’re finished you feel like the house is “naked,” then you’ve accomplished your mission.
Solution: Remove all personal items, loud decorations and clutter.
Seller Mistake #3: Dirt, Mold and “Ewww what is that?”
If your buyer is going to think twice about removing their shoes – there’s a problem. Nothing will turn off a buyer quicker than seeing other people’s filth. We know that you picked up the house and mopped the kitchen floor, but you need to do more.
Before listing your home, you need to do the deepest spring cleaning you have ever done. We are talking cleaning every crack and crevice with an old toothbrush; whitening all the grout, getting the grease off the cabinets; making that stove looks like the day you bought it; and getting a professional to clean the carpets.
That extra effort will pay off in a quick offer and an offer for more. Just tell yourself that you are getting paid $1,000 to deep clean your house – and who knows – the buyer might even pay more.
Solution: Don’t just surface clean, get every speck of dirt out of the house – and keep it out.
Seller Mistake #4: Odors, Stink and “What’s that smell?”
Cooking odors can linger in a house for days. Some real estate agents advise their sellers not to fry any sort of food – especially fish – while their house is on the market. If you own a pet, you need to remove all evidence that they share your house. Put the litterbox temporarily under the porch. Pack up all of Fido’s toys, beds, dishes and the like. (By the way, make sure you take Fido and Garfield with you when you go.) If you smoke, have all the curtains and upholstery cleaned and consider smoking outside – just for now.
Whatever you do, don’t try to cover up a stinky trash can or an accident on the carpet with a floral air freshener. All that says is, “I’m trying to hide something.” It is much better that your buyer smells Lysol, Pine-Sol or a light sent of bleach than a fake cover up.
Solution: Empty the trash, remove evidence of pets and skip the air fresheners.
Seller Mistake #5: Tarnished, Dingy and “How old is that?”
Your buyers have been obsessively watching HGTV, so they know what is modern and what is not. Your old tarnished doorknobs, shaky ceiling fan and ancient microwave could be sending your buyers looking elsewhere. Would you be willing to spend $1,000 to make say, $2,500 or even $5,000? Then update your old cabinet knobs, door handles, lights, fixtures and faucets. Talk to your real estate agent about the impact putting in new energy efficient appliances would have on the sales price of your home.
Solution: Update all the hardware and fixtures to make your house look more modern.
Yes, these take effort and perhaps it goes against your grain, but this is about impressing the seller and getting them to pay you more, or heck it is about getting an offer in the first place. Dirt, smells and walking into someone else’s mess is a sure way to keep you from selling your home. Don’t make these mistakes.