Realtor Magazine asked buyer agents what their top pet peeves were when showing a home. As a buyer agent myself I can tell you that these common offenses can and do turn prospective buyers off your home. The idea is to appeal to the masses, so please remember NOT to make these mistakes.
1. Lurky Loos
I can’t tell you how often my clients are turned off and feel uncomfortable when viewing a home because the sellers have not left. As an agent I understand that it isn’t always convenient to leave your home when an appointment is made, but as much as possible please do. Buyers will feel more comfortable talking freely and taking their time in your home. If you have no other option then to stay, consider going in your yard if weather permits and whatever you do DO NOT follow the prospective buyers around your home while they are viewing it!
2. Animal Farm
I recently showed a home where there was a crated large dog as soon as we walked in the door. The dog growled and barked throughout our time in the home. What was most offensive to my buyers ( a huge animal loving family) was the state of the crate. The dog had went to the bathroom numerous times so that the entire area under the crate was covered and the dog was sitting in its own urine and feces. My clients spent most of their time concerned about the dog, complaining about the smell and little time viewing the home. The initial first impression had already turned them off.
I am an animal lover and a cat owner, but I also know that not everyone is. As much as possible remove dogs from the home (not everyone is comfortable with them) and ensure that all litter boxes are clean.
3. Gas Mask Please
I know it seems absurd that someone could overlook a home because they do not like the smell, but trust me it happens. We live in our house and we want to enjoy it, but try and remember when you sell it you want to contribute to the big picture of a fabulous home and that includes fresh scents like apple pie, cookies baking or just fresh air. Smoke can be a huge deterrent because buyers will feel like they have to repaint and rip up all carpets ( a comment I always get!). Ditto for animal smells. Prior to listing think about any potential issues and consider remedying them before the for sale sign goes up. Short term pain can contribute greatly to your bottom line.
4. Creepy Crawlies
Yes it happens and it can be an issue. A recent client of mine was absolutely in love with a home and during the second showing (while we were talking about putting in an offer) I stuck my hand on mouse paper at the bottom of the closet while trying to determine if there was hardwood under the carpet. Gross for me, but much worse for my client who was petrified of mice! Do yourself a favor and make sure all problems (ie: ant infestation, racoons/squirrels in the attic, mice, etc.) are all dealt with professionally before you list your home!
5. Do It Yourself No More
Know your limits and repair within it! A comment I get from clients often is the quality of workmanship throughout a home. I notice people will pay for great quality work, but they will not pay for do overs. Basements that have been haphazardly thrown together with toilets in the utility room do not appeal to the masses. Horrible paint jobs throughout scream work to prospective buyers. Give your house an honest, critical once over and consider tackling issues that you see (even ask others to be objective for you) and do what you can if your budget premits. Again it can lead to more money in your pocket later and a smoother sale.
6. Shoes On
I once showed a student housing rental that was listed at $350,000. As I walked in the door I was greeted with a huge sign written I assume by the tenants that read “Shoes Off Please.” I’m a polite person, but after a quick scan, the thought of taking my shoes off scared me (and my clients). The floors were filthy (picture the wild west of dust balls floating in the wind). It was summer and no socks and we all opted to leave our shoes on despite the sign. We were glad we did when we continued on. As we continued on we were greeted with a sink we couldn’t see under all the dishes, over flowing trash cans, soiled carpets, unflushed toilets (true story), mattresses everywhere (and not clean looking ones) and dirty laundry everywhere. My clients didn’t make it through the house.
Obviously this is an extreme situation and was a tenant occupied house, but two things to take away here… 1. If you own a rental, consider hiring a cleaner while you are showing it or offer your tenants and incentive to keep the place in show worthy condition and 2. If you are the homeowner make sure your home is clean and tidy.
7. Too Much Information
Yes you leaving your personal information hanging around. While my job is to keep my buyer on task, they are easily distracted by your life. That includes your important documents like the next house you’ve already purchased, bank or credit card statements, mortgage pay off notices and all your personal photos.
8. Bring Your Own Flashlight
Because a) you forgot to pay your hydro bill or b) you didn’t change your light bulbs. People love light… well at least most people and another great, easy way to showcase your lovely home is to have enough of it. So please change the lightbulbs, open the blinds and if you are only leaving during the showing time frame consider leaving all your lights on. ( I know that is not a very green comment, but I am trying to help you here!) At the bare minimum if it is night time, leave the exterior lights on. We may be arriving with our buyers in which case we do not have time to turn all the lights on before they get there.
9. Ummmm what’s up with …
… that photo? Really nudey calendars, magazines etc. should not be displayed anywhere in your home or garage. Ditto for any other offensive item that may be in your home (tasteless jokes etc). You may think it’s funny, but your prospective buyer(s) may be coming through your home with children. Don’t turn them off, before they have a chance to see it all.
Posted by Rachelle Aurini at 9:35 AM