10 Things Buyers Hate When Walking Into Your Home

by Gary and Lisa Schoeffler on May 25, 2014

in Latest News

You’ve listed your home, and you want it to move fast.  In a perfect world, you’d have buyers engaging in a bidding war, and you’d sell for more than you’ve listed.

While that’s every seller’s dream, the reality is most homes sit on the market for longer than the seller expected.  The market is improving and houses are selling, but prices have stabilized and buyers are smarter.  They’ve done their research, and are looking for a good priced home that is turn key, and move-in ready.  If you want buyers to love your home, avoid the 10 things they hate most:

1. Bad Smells

Nothing is more of a turn-off to a potential buyer than walking into a house that has an overwhelming smell.  Before you open your house for potential buyers, walk through with a friend or your realtor and get an unbiased opinion.  Some potential culprits of bad smells include:

*Pets.  Especially cats.  If you have a cat, litter boxes need to be cleaned and kept, if possible, in an out of sight location.

*Carpets.  Wall to wall carpets retain bad smells, so have all carpets professionally cleaned prior to listing.

*Use fan above the stove.  Foods with strong odors such as fish produce a strong smell.  Use the fan above the stove as much as possible when cooking and try to avoid cooking foods with a strong smell the evening before a showing.

*Dehumidify the basement.  Many basements have a musty odor that can be very unappealing.  Purchase a dehumidifier to rid the air of any moisture and odors.

*Try to produce a positive smell.  Bake chocolate chip cookies before a showing, or throw some lemon peel in the garbage disposal a few minutes before potential buyers are coming through to produce warm and clean smells.

2. Dirty house, especially bathrooms and kitchens

Having a house on the market is difficult and can be hard work, especially if you have children at home.  If you’re like most people, and don’t have time to clean your house daily, focus on the kitchen and bathrooms.  Vacuum and make sure floors are devoid of crumbs and spills.  In the kitchen and bathrooms, all counters need to be completely cleared…no bottles, bowls, appliances, everything, and counters wiped clean. Keep a set of clean, dry towels handy in the kitchen and bathroom for showings.

3. Messy house

The average home buyer cannot visualize your home through clutter and mess. If you have children, you know that clutter builds up quickly.  Wicker baskets can make all the difference for toys, as well as for laundry that you didn’t have time to fold.  In the kitchen and bathroom, put away bottles and containers.  Bowls of fresh fruit and vases of fresh flowers look nice and make the room smell lovely.

 4. Poorly lit rooms

Buyers don’t want to enter a dark, poorly lit home.  Replace dim or burned out light bulbs with high efficiency bulbs to brighten your home.  Purchasing new lamps will not only brighten things up, but can add very nicely to your home décor.  If you have large windows, be sure they are cleaned and not blocked by blinds or curtains.  When it comes to selling your home, lighting can make the biggest difference.

5. Dramatic Walls and Busy Wallpaper

Most buyers will not have the same taste and style you do.  They want to be able to picture themselves in your home, not wonder about you, your lifestyle, and your family.  Tone down the bright and dramatic colors and save them for your next home.  Instead, opt for softer, more neutral tones like creams and off-whites that make spaces look brighter.  If your home is decorated with patterned wallpaper, give serious consideration to removing it.  Buyers may be deterred by the thought of the colossal hassle it is to remove it.

6. Unkempt yards, untrimmed bushes

Nothing is more important than a first impression!  Overgrown bushes and unkept lawns are difficult to overcome once inside the home.  Make sure your yard is mowed, and bushes and hedges are trimmed.  If possible, add flowers and fresh potted plants to your landscaping.

7. Wall to wall carpeting

If at all possible, remove it.  Home buyers these days are looking for hard surfaced floors throughout, even if they aren’t in the best shape.  If it’s not possible to remove the carpets, have them professionally steam cleaned.

8. Neglected entryways

This is the first room that greets the buyer as they enter the front door.  Be sure it is warm and inviting.  A bouquet of flowers and fresh plants give life to the greeting.  Clear out the closets and be sure that shoes and other items are put away.

9. Pets

Many people are allergic and uneasy around pets.  Keep your pets away from your home during any showing.

10. You!

You will not be doing yourself any favors by lingering around your home.  A potential home buyer simply does not want you there. If you are, they will not take the time look around to get a proper look and feel, or the ability visualize themselves in it.  Leave the selling to your Realtor.  That’s what you’ve hired them for!


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Post by Gary and Lisa Schoeffler

Gary and Lisa Schoeffler are Ventura Real Estate Professionals specializing in residential real estate. Their expertise in helping both buyers and sellers is widely recognized in Ventura County. How can they assist you today? Wondering what the market is like? Call them, they will be happy to talk with you about it. 805-320-4472

Gary and Lisa has written 372 articles.

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