Yesterday we talked about the first 4 of my 7 ways you can sabotage the sale of your home – the wrong list price, difficulty getting in for showings, poor interior and/or exterior conditions, and unpleasant odors. Here are some other issues that could also prevent you from selling your house, or at least might result in a much lower price!
Sometimes you need to think like a buyer!
It’s sad not everyone loves dogs and cats, even though you love yours, but it’s true! Many buyers do not want to deal with your supposedly friendly dog, who may or may not bite, and who doesn’t stop barking, or being in charge of ensuring your Houdini cat does not escape. Keeping your large dog in the back yard or garage may be an easy solution for you, but it sure isn’t helpful for buyers who want to explore your yard or your garage. A related problem that’s a major turnoff are all those reminders that pets live there – smelly cat litter boxes, dog beds and bowls, and dog piles in the yard.
TOO MUCH STUFF
While it may not seem that way to you, your house may overflow with furniture, knick knacks and collectibles, books, toys, and more. It’s easy to overlook this stuff when you live with it all the time, but ask yourself…is it hard to see the tops of your kitchen counter, your fireplace mantle, or bookshelves? Is it hard to see your gorgeous fireplace because of all the stuff on it and around it? Are large picture windows with great views and light hiding behind closed drapes and blinds?
Buyers want to be able to SEE your house, and envision themselves living there. When there is too much stuff they not see all the space but the rooms will feel smaller. Too much stuff can also suggest that storage in the home is limited, and if by chance your closets are packed to the brim, it’s even more obvious that storage is a problem.
Think about this – your first public open house is online. As soon as your agent activates your listing it will get picked up by all kinds of websites very quickly, and you want that first impression to be a positive one. Buyers love lots of photos, and they will encourage buyers to want to see your home – but probably not if they are ugly. While your agent or a professional photographer may take the photos, YOU are in control of what’s in the photos. It can be hard to see your house through the eyes of a potential buyer, so consider getting some professional staging assistance. One idea I’ve found that also works is to take some photos yourself so you can see how the rooms look via camera and then make the necessary adjustments.
A beautiful professional photo will still not mask issues, like clutter, that ought to be addressed before photos are taken. But it’s also true that a gorgeous room can be compromised if the photo itself is crooked, dark, or out of focus – you have probably seen some photos like this online yourself! Either way, your sale could be sabotaged by poor photos. You want your home to look its best so be sure it’s truly show ready for the camera and that the resulting photos are top notch, whether done by your agent or a professional (I prefer the latter).
No one will deny that getting a house ready for sale, and then going through the process of showings until you have a contract, is easy. In fact it can be really tough in a number of ways! But beware of these subtle, and perhaps not so subtle, traps that may prevent you from getting to closing and moving on with your life.