Every agent has seen it before: a client walks through the front door into a home and is all of a sudden completely disengaged. You can see it on their face and in their body language — your client is NOT buying this home. This can be even more frustrating when you know the home fulfills all of their needs and deserves heavy consideration.
Your client saw something in the home that they decided was a deal breaker.
Here are some of the most common errors that sellers often find to be ‘deal breakers’:
You don’t have to bake cookies before every showing, but give as much consideration to the smells of your home as you do the visuals.
Odors like ashtrays, litterbox, damp basement, and dirty hamster cage are some of the usual suspects. But the nameless ‘what-is-THAT??’ smell that hits you the moment you walk through the door can easily kill a deal.
People have a hard time getting over any pungent odors and will decide for themselves that the smell will never go away. And once they have made this conclusion, it is almost impossible to convince them otherwise.
If you are unsure whether or not you have a smell, call a relative or a friend to come over and investigate. At some point we all get used to the smells in our own home, so let someone else’s nose be the judge. If they detect something, figure out where it’s coming from and fix it.
Lastly, don’t cook any pungent foods the 24-hours before your showing. We know you’ve been dying to try that chicken curry recipe, but DON’T do it.
Buyers don’t want your pets to be there when they are looking at your home.
We know Sparky is harmless and just wants to kiss us to death, but it is vital that you get him off the property. Putting him in his crate, or the laundry room, or even the backyard will not suffice. He needs to be gone.
Pets are a huge distraction when trying to show someone a home, and they can also be a liability. Call up a friend and see if they can pet-sit for a few hours, or let Sparky have a spa day at the groomers. No one wants to be jumped on, barked at or stalked by your pet.
The Dirty ‘____’
Some of the most telling signs of how well a home has been maintained over the years are actually in the little things.
Stained carpet, dusty vents, cobwebs, smudgy windows, a messy basement, disorganized closets, a leaky shed… These are all giveaways that the effort put forth towards the upkeep of the home has been less than stellar.
Once you have cleaned your home until it shines and smells like fresh linens, hire a cleaning crew. They will work their magic on places you didn’t even know were dirty, and you will be truly grateful for it. This is one of the best investments anyone selling a home can make.
Wallpaper can be a maddeningly difficult feature to change in a home yourself — especially if it covers the majority of the walls. The entire removal process is time-consuming, and it can end up doing more harm than good to any underlying sheet rock.
Personally, if I see a home splashed with 1980’s wallpaper, I immediately scroll past it. And although not everyone has the same sentiment, most people will avoid a home with more than one room of wallpaper.
If people are coming to look at your house, do yourself a favor and leave before they get there. Your presence, even your perceived presence, will make the buyer feel uncomfortable and will therefore cost you money.
People aren’t buying a house, they are buying a home. And when someone is looking for a home, they are also looking for a feeling. If you are present, then the home is still yours and the buyer is unable to feel as if it could ever be theirs.
Be prepared to de-personalize your home. This goes along with that feeling a buyer is looking for. It shouldn’t be sterile and cold, but make sure it’s not so ‘you’ that it can never be ‘them.’
Too many photos, suggestive art, political propaganda, shrines to pets or anything that draws attention away from the home should be minimized, if not removed. You never know who is coming to view your home, and you certainly have no idea what their political affiliations, religious beliefs, lifestyle choices, etc. are going to be. And keep in mind, they might bring their children along with them.
Although art is a great way to stimulate the mind and start conversation, this is not what you want to happen while your home is being shown. I have seen more controversial art pieces during my time as a realtor than you can imagine — some of which have been borderline pornographic. And that political sign great if you are a proud member of the ‘_______ Party,’ but imagine the buyer looking at your house is a member of the opposite party and is now angrily talking about the upcoming election and no longer paying any attention to your home.
The more difficult you make it for people to feel comfortable in your home, the more trouble you will have finding a buyer that is able to envision it as their own.
Hard to Show
If you plan on putting your home on the market, you must be prepared to show it on short notice. You will not always get enough notice as you would like, but try not to get frustrated. Everyone is has their own busy schedule, and sometimes things come up at the last minute.
If your agent gets a request to show your home, respond to them promptly. Your house is most likely going to be part of a 3-to-4-home tour schedule that is sequenced by locality during a specific time frame, and trying to change that time frame means the buyer’s agent will probably just opt you out altogether.
We understand that emergencies happen and guests come to visit, but even then, try your best to accommodate. Having a home on the market is inconvenient and a nuisance, but having to keep your home in show-ready condition for months is far more painful than allowing easy access and selling it quickly.
If you want to sell your home as quickly and pain-free as possible, make it easy to show.
Selling a home is disruptive and tiresome, so don’t drag out the process.
If you are going through the effort of putting your home on the market, then don’t make unnecessary mistakes that will prolong the marketing time and in turn drive down the price. Talk to your agent and listen to their advice objectively. The suggestions they make are only going to help you.