Tuesday, March 06, 2007

10 Buyer Turnoffs

Here are a bunch of great tips for home sellers that a Realtor put together after having to show just too many houses to buyers. Take heed for a faster sale.

I show a LOT of houses. I am not one of these agents who refuse to show a client more than 3 houses and I KNOW agents that will drop a client if they have to show over 5. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I've ever showed less than 5 to one person. I have shown as many as 125+ (I lost count around 123ish).

This brings me to our subject- What really grosses a buyer out or turns them off to buying a certain house? Let me tell you...

10. Too much STUFF. Picture 2 people with an agent or an agent team trying to bob and weave their way from room to room. Do you have more than one couch per room? 12 antique tables that you just LOVED at that flea market and HAD to have? Please do our hip bones a favor and put them in storage. We want to see your house, not your STUFF!

9. Pet distractions- I have a pet, I love my dog but not everyone feels the same way. Cat people often find dogs smelly and needy. I know because I used to be a 'cat person'. When pets of any kind are at our feet during a showing, we NEVER look at your house. We worry your cat will escape or your dog will attack but we are NOT looking at the features of your home. As a matter of fact, your house was probably forgotten 10 mins after leaving. BUT we remember how cute your pet is!

8. The weed yard- the weed yard is something that lets us know you don't take care of your grass so chances are your house is neglected as well. If we need a machete to get to the front door, the house automatically becomes unkempt in the mind of the buyer, no curb appeal means less dollars in your pocket as a seller. Hire someone to cut your grass and keep things under control if you are too busy. Unless you are about to go into or are already in foreclosure, there is no excuse for this look.

7. Nasty carpet. I have walked into houses that look like the kids eat, sleep, drink and maybe worse on the floors and there is nothing more disgusting than filthy carpet. Spend that $200 to have the carpet cleaned and restretched if it needs it. You may think a 'carpet allowance' is going to be a big bonus for a buyer but newsflash- most buyers don't have that much imagination. If I feel like I need to go home and wash my shoes, your carpet is NASTY.

6. Bad paint decisions- picture an excited buyer coming into your house, they have just bought a brand new olive green couch and loveseat and they can't wait to picture it in your living room- but wait, your living room is royal purple... not good. Resales are in direct competition with new construction. If my buyer can go down the street and get a brand new house, neutral tones, AND clean, why would they want to come in and do a ton of painting and changing to get your house like they want it?

5. That brings me to number 5 which is - Bad Wallpaper. Unless you have had some foo foo designer in your house hanging silk or grasscloth at $40 bucks a roll, your wallpaper is probably outdated and probably NOT for my buyer. I know that grapes were all the rage 10 years ago but again, new construction..... think new, think blank slate...

4. The Dirty Bathroom- Granted, the dirty bathroom is subjective but if I even see a hint of body hair of any kind, I'm already grossed out. It may sound extreme but even something as simple as a water stain in the toilet just is not a good image to have. No soap scum in the shower or tub. Flush those unused toilets and pour some pine cleaner in there. Make it smell clean! Selling a house is HARD work and Lord knows I had to clean my way out of my house every day before going to work when I was selling mine.

3. The Dank, Mildewy Basement- Many buyers go down into the basement and immediately start sniffing for mold or mildew. There is not much you can do with an unfinished basement- let's face it, they smell but if you know you have moisture issues, get a de-humidifyer and run it to take that out of the air. You can easily run a buyer off if they suspect you have 'water issues'.

2. The basement leads in to what I call general "House Whiff". That is my word for a strange unidentified smell that is inherent to every house. If you go away for a couple of days and come back home you can usually detect your own house smell. If it is too offensive, get some plug ins. don't burn a bunch of candles because candles are too conspicuous. It looks like cover up. Dust regularly and open those windows. A carpet powder will help take some of that weird smell out too. Sprinkle it before you vacuum.

1. The top buyer turn off is THE OVERPRICED HOUSE- You won't even have buyers in your house to worry about if you think your house is worth more than everyone else in the neighborhood. You may love your house and have sentimental attachment to it. However, others are viewing it as an investment and not the place where you raised 4 children. Did you know that Realtor Magazine statistics say for every $10,000 you go down in price, you increase buyer exposure by 50,000 people via the internet and other sources? That means if you are at $260k and you go down to $250k, 50,000 MORE people are checking out your listing. If you have a lifetime to wait, leave it as is but keep in mind -the house still has to appraise.

Kim Chitwood is a Realtor in Atlanta, GA. Call today to discuss your relocation 770-328-9169 or Click here for a 'no hassle' MLS search of Atlanta Real Estate, no registration required!

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