Buying a home is an emotional experience and that feeling that you get when you first walk into the "right" home is second to none. On the flip side, walking into that home that makes a lasting impression, in a not so good way, is NOT how you want your home to be remembered. Here are 10 things to AVOID when you are showing your home to potential buyers.
- DON'T STAY HOME! A sure fire way to make buyers leave your home quickly is to stay and linger around while they are looking. I've shown houses before with sellers in the bathtub, sellers getting ready in the bathroom or those who have left their dirty and clean laundry everywhere. I've even found teenagers sleeping in the bed while the sellers did in fact leave for the showing but didn't want to wake their kids. By staying home for a showing you also risk earning the coveted title of “stalker seller”, following around potential buyers like a puppy dog telling them the complete history of every inch of the home. Though you may think you are helping them see how great your home is, you are actually helping them make their decision even faster. People need time to look, think, and process. This is hard to do when you can't get a free moment.
- PICK UP YOUR PET'S MESS! Though your pet may be a member of the family, they still make messes. Toys, treats, bones, and food can be a distraction and even dangerous as someone could trip over items left in a walkway. Even a pet in a crate can be a hazard if the crate is not properly latched. if you do have pets, try to keep them out of the main areas of the home and leave specific instructions for any agent showing your home so they know about your pets.
- SMELLY HOMES ARE HARDER TO SELL! A home with a strong odor can really turn buyers off. Some of the most common offenses include cooking smells lingering around the home, fried food, fish, cabbage and some spices can give off a very displeasing odor and may cause buyers to turn around and walk out. This is also true for cigarette smoke and pet odors. Though sellers become immune to the scents in their homes, others, especially those with allergies with pick up on them right away. You can remedy this by repainting and cleaning the carpet, though I wouldn't do it the day before a showing.
- WILD KINGDOM IS NOT WHAT THEY SIGNED UP FOR! Random critters, pests and insects roaming around is a surefire way to send buyers running. I've seen a multitude of insects, spiders, weird bugs, bats, and racoons (alive and dead) in some of the homes I've shown over the years. For those that have animals in aquariums or tanks like spiders, snakes, lizards, etc. please be aware that not everyone has your same taste in pets so keep them secure and out of site if possible.
- IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW, DON'T DO IT YOURSELF! Hanging that new door may seem simple or maybe that new faucet in the bathroom will be easier to install than you thought but if you do it wrong, the flaws shine through and that equates to money out of the buyers pocket and money off of your sales price. In addition to that, rooms not being used for their intended purposes can also confuse buyers. For example, an office being used as a bedroom even though it has no closet, may be marketed as a 3 bedroom, however, if there is no closet then there is no bedroom and this could make all the difference to a buyer in the sale of your home.
- CLEAN AND SHINE! When it comes to cleaning a home everyone has a different idea of clean. Some may rearrange the clutter while others will need a full 24 hours to get it to their level of clean. To keep it simple, take care of dirty laundry piles, please flush your toilets and close the lids, don't leave dirty dishes on the counter or in the sink (and covering them with a large towel doesn't make it any better), make the beds, take care of your clothes scattered about, change your filters, and remember to empty the trash cans, especially the ones in the bathrooms.
- KEEP YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION...PERSONAL! Sellers should always be careful not to leave important documents in plain site. Bank account information, checkbooks, prescription medication, mail, things like that should not be left out.
- LIGHT IT UP! Dark or dimly lit houses aren’t showing the home in the best light. if you use energy efficient light bulbs, give them time to get to their brightest light, open all window coverings and let the light in, leave the lights on and leve a note asking that they be turned off when they leave.
- KEYS MISSING? Double check from time to time that the key to your home is still in the box. Sometimes sellers will give the lockbox code to a friend or family member or use it themselves in a case where they are locked out. if you have a habit of using your spare key as a back up, remember to put it back in the box for future showings....or.....don't use it.
- REMOVE ODD ART OR PHOTOGRAPHS. Though your homes is decorated to your tastes, it may not be for everyone. When selling, be sure that you remove any potentially offensive, off the wall, or distracting photos and art pieces.
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