Top 15 Things to Avoid When You List Your Home for Sale
As full-service Realtors, we come across all kinds of scenarios and situations. Many times we show a house and our buyer clients comment on things that "turn them off" right off the bat or lower their perceived value for the home.
Here is a list of the top 15 "tips" of things you should avoid as a seller, in order to have the best chance of attracting contracts and selling your home for top market price.
1. DO NOT stay at home for Showings & Open Houses. It does not matter if you want to highlight all those improvements you made or describe how nice the neighbors are. Your mere presence will make buyers uneasy as they don't want to intrude in your life, and they will feel uncomfortable making comments about your house with you around. The end result will be a very short showing and a negative feeling about your home, as the buyers could not relax and "visualize themselves" in the home as if it were their own.
2. DO NOT keep curtains & blinds shut and lights off. Most buyers want to buy a home that is "bright and airy", not feel like they are in a cave. Make sure you open all blinds, turn all lights on and show your home the brightest you can!
3. DO NOT keep thermostat in energy savings mode. We all want to save on energy costs, but when your home is on the market is not the time to skimp on air conditioning or heat. Buyers that come from 100°F outside want to feel the relief of walking into a very cool home. Conversely, if it's freezing outside, they want to feel the cozy warmth of their next home.
4. DO NOT show your home in “living condition” (i.e. dirty clothes, dirty dishes, scattered toys). Remember, most buyers are comparing your house with NEW CONSTRUCTION model homes, which are impeccable showrooms. You need to consider your house as a showroom the minute you place it on the market (if you want to sell it quickly and for top dollar). Keep it clean, store items in drawers, keep closets tidy.
5. DO NOT cook spicy/smelly meals before showings. First impressions count, and all the senses are important: The smell of baked cookies or a soft perfumed candle can help the buyers relax and feel "good" about your house. The smell of seafood or strong curry may not appeal to many buyers.
6. DO NOT let Rufus become smelly or fail to clean your kitty's litter box. When you live around pets, your sense of smell becomes used to your pet's smell and you may not notice it any longer. Buyers who do not own pets will notice pet odor immediately and in most cases this alone will disqualify your home. Ask a friend who does not own pets to come and give your home the "sniff test".
7. DO NOT keep toilets seats up. Some buyers are very sensitive to this. Make sure that bathrooms and kitchen are immaculately clean and neat.
8. DO NOT refuse to confirm appointments for “normal” times. Some out-of-town buyers come to town for a day or two and may want to see your house on short notice. If you want to sell your home you must accept that sometimes showings can be inconvenient for you. The more flexible you are, the better chance you will have of selling your home.
9. DO NOT lock any rooms to prevent buyers from going in there. Buyers want to see the whole house, not just a portion. If you keep very valuable items in a specific room, you may have to ask your listing agent to be present for showings, so you can have this room open.
10. DO NOT forget to mow the lawn and water your plants. Tall grass and wilting plants don't give a sense of "wellness" or "good maintenance" to buyers.
11. DO NOT leave guns visible and in the open. Lock them up in a safe or take them out of the house. Talk about big potential for liability! Better safe than sorry.
12. DO NOT leave prescription drugs in a visible place. Some buyers arrive in large groups and the showing Realtor cannot keep an eye on everyone all the time.
13. DO NOT leave personal or confidential information visible. If you don't want the buyers to know details about you or your personal situation, hide all diplomas, awards, certificates, bills, tax returns and any confidential information. Although they are not supposed to, some buyers will stop and read through documents that are openly visible.
14. DO NOT try to paint and repair the house yourself, unless you are very skilled at it. Patchy and unprofessional paint or repair jobs can deter many buyers.
15. DO NOT leave dogs or unfriendly cats loose for showings. Place them in a crate or take them out. Besides the point that not every potential buyer is a dog or cat lover, there is a liability potential if your pet does not behave well for some reason.
If you abide by these tips you will have a better chance of selling quickly and for a top market price!
In addition to our FREE SELLING and PRICING consultation, we provide a PROFESSIONAL STAGING consultation (free for our clients) to provide guidance to improve your home's appeal to all potential buyers.
Call us at 843-900-0155 to schedule your free selling and pricing consultation.