This is the second installment in my new series, “Mistakes in Real Estate – Top 10 Seller Mistakes”. I hope you find this guide informative. Please reach out if you have any questions, success stories from using the guide, or would like to schedule a conversation about how I can help you with your real estate needs.
Table of Contents
Not Recognizing And Addressing Any “Negatives” In Your Home
While there are definitely some “negatives” about a home that you cannot do much about – located on a busy street, size and layout of the home, schools that the home is zoned for, etc – there are many things that you can control. Having shown many different homes to buyers over the years, some negatives about a home seem to universally turn off buyers.
One the biggest turn off to buyers looking for a home is if there is an odor in the home. The smell of smoke (not just cigarette smoke, but sometimes wood smoke from a fireplace or wood-burning stove) in a home very quickly turns off many buyers because it is a smell that can be very difficult to eliminate. I had clients purchase a home (which needed a complete remodel to begin with) where someone had smoked in the home for many years. When they purchased it there was no flooring down in the home and many of the walls were covered with wallpaper. All of the ceilings in the home were yellowed from the smoke as well. It took a lot of time and money to get that home to a livable condition. They had to remove all of the wallpaper, paint everything with Kilz primer and paint, have all of the vents cleaned, and replace all of the cabinetry and sub flooring. They also had to have an ozone machine run in the home for a period of time to try to clear the smell as well.
While this is an extreme example of a smell in a home, other smells, such as pet odor or strong cooking smells can also be a turn off for buyers. Recently a buyer and I walked into the foyer of a home and were immediately overwhelmed by the odor of pet urine. She looked at me and said there was no point in going any further into the home. She wasn’t interested. Sometimes it is really hard to pick up on an odor in your home if you are used to it. It’s always best to ask friends and family or even your real estate agent if there are any smells in your home that need to be addressed before listing. One other thing to know is that plugging in air fresheners to try to cover up smells is not a good move either. Whenever I enter a home which has air fresheners all through it, I always wonder what odor they might be trying to cover up. The best approach is to address whatever is causing the odor in your home and then air it out before going on the market.
Another negative in a home on the market is too much clutter. When preparing a home to sell, I tell my clients that we want to physically and visually declutter their home. If you have too much stuff in your home, it can appear that the home is too small and doesn’t have enough storage. It can also distract the buyers who cannot imagine how they can live in your home. A first step when preparing to list your home is to go into each room and remove anything that makes the room look cluttered. You can start packing things in boxes and storing them in the garage or basement. Now is also a good time to sell or donate things that you don’t want to take with you when you move. Once you’ve done some initial decluttering, you can then go through your drawers and closets and do the same. The more decluttering that you do before listing your home the easier it will be for you when it’s time to move as well.
After you’ve decluttered your home, it’s a great time to deep clean your home as well. Buyers always pick up on if a home is clean or not and use that as an indication of whether a seller has been maintaining their home. If you don’t have the time for a thorough cleaning before going on the market, it’s worth hiring a cleaning service to do a deep clean just before listing so your home will be ready for buyer tours.
One other thing to think about before listing is if your home is too personalized. You want a buyer to imagine themselves living there with their own things. If you have lots of photos and collections and other personalized items throughout the home, it’s hard for many buyers to see past these things. While you are in the process of decluttering and thoroughly cleaning your home, go ahead and pack up some of your personal things. When in doubt, you can always ask your real estate agent if you should pack something away before listing.
No matter if we are in a buyers market, a balanced market, or even a strong sellers market, homes where the sellers have addressed and avoided any negative things that they can control always sell faster and for more money.
My mission is to guide sellers, from being potentially frustrated and confused, to confident and educated. Schedule a conversation with me today!
Thinking That Something That Doesn’t Bother You Won’t Bother Buyers
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into homes with two buyers and one of them points out a negative while the other one says, “oh that won’t bother me”. This is always a moment when I jump in and say, “Let’s talk about this.” Even if you are looking at a home where you think that you are going to live “forever”, you have to remember that life happens and things change. I always suggest looking at a home as if you are going to have to sell it at some point.
Now that you’ve been living in your home for a while, you’ve either been able to overlook some of these things or they have been driving you crazy the whole time that you’ve lived there. When you meet with your Realtor, you should discuss these things with him or her. It’s better to get them out there in the open and work together to come up with a plan to try to keep these things from being an issue with the sale of your house.
While some things can be mitigated with minor changes – landscaping or fencing to block views/noises from surrounding properties or streets or professional staging to help with an awkward layout – other things are just not able to be changed or overcome. Being located right next to a fire station or high transmission power lines is not something that you can change. When you are dealing with something like this, it’s best to listen to your Realtor when considering pricing and the best way to address these negatives. Your Realtor will need to do some research to see what the difference in sales price and days on the market has been for homes with similar negatives to yours versus homes that don’t have these same issues.
One of the biggest mistakes a seller can make is not acknowledging the things that will make their home unappealing to some buyers and not preparing accordingly with their Realtor to figure out the best path forward to get their home sold.
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Make sure you join me next week for Part 3 of series 2, Mistakes in Real Estate, Top 12 Seller Mistakes! Also, if you found this content helpful, I’d love it if you could help me get the word our by sharing with your family and friends on your favorite social network(s.)