It’s a common sight across the country. Homes with ‘For Sale’ signs on their lawns, some of which have been lying in wait for a home buyer for a long time. Why? There are many reasons. Many people prefer to rent for example, especially if they are struggling to maintain a regular income. Some locations go out of fashion, especially if they have been hit with recession. In some cases, the seller has tried to add value to the property, with little idea about what it is today’s home buyers are looking for, especially the current dominant force in home buying, the millennial generation.
So, are you thinking about selling your home soon? Or has your house been on the market for a long time, and is failing to sell? In either case, we have trawled through the internet for some of the biggest turn-offs for home buyers. Using real estate surveys and expert opinion, we have gathered a list of the things you need to look out for when selling your house. Fixing these problem areas will give you a greater chance for a sale, so you neglect them at your peril. From property issues to human mistakes, these are the common turn-offs you need to be aware of.
A dirty house
We aren’t saying your general housekeeping is bad, though it might be. Unfortunately, a quick vacuum before the prospective buyer comes to look at your property isn’t going to cut it. Your house needs to look immaculate, from top to bottom, with added renovation to improve the overall cleanliness. So, as well as keeping on top of your regular housework, you might also consider replacing old carpets that may be stained or worn. Alternatively, hire a steam cleaner and give your carpets a deep clean. You should grout your tiles too, as well as giving every other area of your home a thorough clean. Hiring a professional cleaning service is also a good idea, as they have the tools to make your home sparkle.
First impressions count, and that goes beyond how your property looks. Any bad odours will turn the viewers off your property, and you need to rectify it before their arrival. However, chances are you have become accustomed to the way your house smells, so it’s worth asking a friend to give you their polite opinion on how fragrant your home is. You may have pets, for example, and they give off their own scent, as well as the expected litter trays and animal paraphernalia. Other odours come from the dirty carpets we mentioned earlier, as well as any damp problems around the house. Smokers need to beware, as furnishings and upholstery will absorb the cigarette smell. You should also avoid cooking any strongly-odoured food the night and day before your viewers arrive, so avoid fish and exotic foods. A deep-clean will deal with some of the smells, as will general repair work in damp rooms. You should also add your own fragrances, such as vases of flowers, air fresheners, and even the homely smell of baked biscuits, which will attract the viewer’s nose, rather than repel it.
Whether large or small, there may be maintenance problems you need to get on top of. We have already mentioned damp, and that should be one of your priorities. Not only does it look and smell bad in your property, but your prospective home buyers will also be concerned with their health. Larger maintenance issues include leaking roofs, faulty heating, and areas with cold drafts coming in. Smaller issues include creaking door handles, dripping taps, and loose floorboards. Our advice is this. While you will probably have a good idea of the repairs you need to do in your house, you should also hire a property surveyor to give your home a once-over before you put it on the market. The buyers will be doing the same thing, so preempt them before they have a chance to grumble about the disrepair in your home. When you know what you need to fix, get on with the job as soon as possible, and hire professionals to deal with fixes that you aren’t qualified to handle.
The inside of your home may be immaculate, but you need to concentrate on the areas outside of your property. If your grass is overgrown, you need to get the mower out. Your fencing may be worn, so replacing broken fixtures, and giving it a fresh lick of paint will make a world of difference. If you have a driveway, you need to get rid of any built-up dirt that has accumulated around it, including in the gaps. High pressure cleaners will do the job nicely. Then look at your walls. Scuffed paintwork is going to look unsightly, so get the paintbrush out again, and clean up both the walls and frames around your home. Wash your windows, add some hanging plants to improve curb appeal, and throw in a welcome mat at your front door. As we said earlier, first impressions count, and your home exterior is going to be the first place the home buyer sees before they step through your front door.
Too many personal touches
For starters, don’t make any unnecessary changes to your home just before you put it on the market. You might want to replace the wallpaper, for example, as you are liable to go with something you like, above and beyond what the buyer might be interested in. While you should definitely replace old fixtures, especially if they are worn and outdated, don’t replace them with anything too niche. Generic is fine, provided they look good, and the buyer can replace them later if they want too. Then there are the general knickknacks around your home, from collectible items to family photos. When you are showing your house, you need to remove all such items. They are only talking points for you and your friends, and the home buyer won’t be interested in them. The viewer wants to imagine themselves living in the property, and your personal belongings will only get in the way of their imagination.
No offence, but you may be putting off the home buyer yourself. Yes, you may have showered and combed your hair before arrival, but your behaviour can put off the viewer. What do we mean? Well, you may be keen to engage in conversations the buyer isn’t interested in. Trying to persuade them to buy is another no-no, unless you are fluent in the art of a sales rep. You might only come across as being needy and persistent. If you in any way emotionally attached, the buyer might sense this. Not only will the sight of you crying in the corner be a concern to the buyer, but you might also impose your opinion on how the buyer should live in the house, what they should do with it, and what they need to leave alone. Once you have handed over the keys, it’s theirs to do what they want with, so you need to keep your opinions to yourself. You might also grumble about their muddy shoes and sticky fingers, and this is only going to make them feel uncomfortable. So, leave the showing to your real-estate agent. They know what they’re doing, and will have the sales patter down to a tee. Make yourself scarce, and distract yourself with something else while the experts do their job.
Those are the biggest turn-offs for home buyers. If any of them are true to your property, you need to deal with them as soon as possible. You should then consider the features that are going to attract buyers, especially the young millennials who are looking to get onto the property ladder. This includes the following:
Energy efficiency – Being environmentally aware, today’s buyers want a home that is both economical and planet-saving. Adding green features to your home will add a huge amount of value to the property.
Storage space – Even the smallest home can include extra storage, so add shelving and walk-in closet spaces, and highlight the storage spaces you do have by removing your own clutter.
Modern technology – Especially for the younger generation, having a house fitted with the latest tech is guaranteed to impress. Automated thermostats, LED lighting, and smart features are some of the things you should consider adding before selling.
Modern decor – You need to be careful here, as you don’t want to put off the buyer with your personal taste. Still, look online at the latest decor, especially for the kitchen and bathroom, and consider updating your rooms with something that is in line with the latest trends.
By avoiding the turn-offs and adding the turn-ons, you are going to have a greater chance of selling your home. Always speak to your real-estate agent for professional advice, and keep an eye on the property market for the best time to put your home on the market. So, if you are selling anytime soon, we wish you every success and happiness in your home move.
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