I was showing some homes to a client this week and walked into a home that smelled like flowers. All 3 of us made comments about how nice it smelled and felt happy the whole time we were there. I saw that the owner had lit some candles to make the home smell nice.
Then it hit me - why doesn't everyone try hard to make their home buyer friendly? Why is there so much weird stuff I see, smell, and hear when I walk into a house? So here are 10 things that buyers hate. 10 things that will keep your home from selling, in no particular order.
1. Smokers. You cannot get smoke out of a house. Change the carpet, paint the walls, buy an ozone machine, and you might not get it out if it's real bad. I don't care if you smoke outside, you still can smell it when you walk in.
2. Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and anything with hair. I can small pets the moment I walk in. your carpet is probably stained in places you can't see without moving furniture. You have fleas and you don't think you do. Your house smells like pets, and buyers hate that.
3. Clutter. Please don't leave your collection of Chinese dolls or your 10 chess sets in plain view for us. Please throw away your trash, clean your dishes, put away your clothes, and make the house look un-lived in.
4. People. Huh? Yes, people. Buyers want to walk around uninteruppted, and want to feel like they can look anywhere for as long as they want. So please get out of your house when we come to see it. Don't stand there watching over us like a school principle. Let us look slowly and carefully at this most important investment.
5. Dirt - There is so much red dirt on this island, and it seems to get everywhere. It makes fences and walls look terrible, so go buy some Oxyclean and get that stuff off. You might have to get a pressure washer and put some of that Oxyclean in there. Whatever you do, just get the dirt off your house.
6. Darkness. Open the dang windows please! Don't close all the blinds when we are about to show up, and please do turn on all the lights. If you have dark drapes or blinds, you might have to get rid of them. This is Hawaii, so let the sun in!
7. Weird decor - we walked into one house that had a giant nude painting of a woman right in front of the entry. It was all we could talk about the entire time so we hardly even saw the house. The rest of the day we kept laughing about the giant painting. In fact the house was pretty nice, but we could hardly notice!
8. Extreme colors - bright red, bright yellow or green, basically anything that will distract the buyers. I don't want to walk into a house and be shocked. If my first thought is, "whoa! bright colors!" then you've probably missed an opportunity to grab a buyer. First impressions do count, a lot.
9. Heat - in Hawaii it gets warm, very warm. So if you have a home that has been locked up with all the windows shut, the buyer is going to walk in and feel too hot to want to stick around very long. Even if they like the house, they might want to get out because they are so darn hot. So if your house gets hot, you may have to turn on the AC when you have showings .
10. Most importantly - PRICE! Don't overprice and hope to get something lower. Price the house to sell because this is a buyer's market and probably will be for a long time. If you price a house even a little too high, it tells the buyer that you're not that motivated. It might keep you from getting an offer, while pricing it "low" might get you 3 offers above asking. Price it to sell quickly or you'll be waiting around a year and probably will get less in the long run than if you sell fast.