Things Prospective Buyers Hate About Your House: Home Seller Tips
You might have spent years getting your home just how you like it, but when it is time to sell your house, potential buyers might not think the same. Buyers can be very fussy, and they can afford to be if there are many homes for sale in the neighborhood.
If your home isn’t attracting buyers, you probably won’t get the money you want. So, as a seller, what can you do to improve your chances of finding a buyer, selling for the price you want, and beating the competition?
There are many things that buyers could hate about your home, but you can fix these issues before they prevent your home from selling. We look at the things that buyers don’t want to find when looking around a home.
As soon as the buyer arrives at your home, they will begin judging it. If the outside of your home looks untidy, in need of repair, or overgrown, buyers will start with a bad impression.
Make sure the front yard is tidy, with bushes and trees trimmed back, and the lawn cut. A fresh coat of paint for the front door and the entrance to the home could make a drastic improvement to the appearance.
Clutter and Personal Items
If you have been in your home for many years, you could have accumulated a lot of stuff. While you might think that these items fit in well in your home, and have sentimental value, this means nothing to buyers.
If you have collections and memorabilia this could put off buyers. Family photos can also distract and make it more difficult for the buyer to picture themselves living in the home. These items should be carefully packed away and stored.
If you have a lot of indoor plants or artificial floral arrangements, you will want to remove most of these as well.
Go through the items in your home that don’t need to be there, throw away the things you don’t want, and pack the things you do. You may need to hire a storage unit for the things you want to keep, and many of the items you want to get rid of can be recycled.
Dirt and Grime
A dirty home isn’t going to be easy to sell. While you might think your home is clean enough, are you overlooking a stain on the carpet and other dirt that has been there for years? Dirty carpets could also contain lingering odors that you might have gotten used to.
Your home needs to be spotless and this means you will need to deep clean your house from top to bottom. You might want to bring in professionals to make sure the carpets are as clean as possible.
Pets in the House
Many buyers will have their own pets, but that doesn’t mean they will like yours. Some people are allergic and others will immediately notice the odor, adding to the reasons why they might not pick your home.
If you have pets it is best to keep them out of the home when buyers visit. You could confine your pets to a specific area of the house or even relocate them somewhere else. You should deal with pet odors and make sure that any damage your pet has caused is repaired.
Being in the Home
As well as keeping pets outside of the home during an open house or private showing, the homeowners should also leave. Buyers usually prefer homeowners to not be there so that they can talk about the property without fear of upsetting the owner. It might also mean the buyers don’t spend as long on the property and have more difficulty imagining themselves living there.
If you have embarked on a DIY project, buyers will notice if the job wasn’t done properly. They will realize that they’ll need to spend money to fix the issue, and it could be a reason for them to choose another home.
Buyers are looking for homes that are ready to move into. But if they need to redo your renovation because the finish is not good enough, they will probably continue their search.
It is also common for DIY projects to not be finished. Though you might have done the majority of the work, a potential buyer won’t want to finish your project.
If you have lived in the home for a long time, there may be many maintenance tasks you’ve been putting off. While it is easy to overlook these problems in your own property, they will be noticed by buyers.
Though some of the maintenance jobs might be fairly minor, other issues could be more of a big deal and a problem during home inspections. If you know that the roof needs repairs or there is leaky plumbing, these could quickly become an issue even if the buyer doesn’t notice.
Even if the home only has minor issues, finding many of these sorts of problems will indicate that the home has not been cared for. Though buyers could expect a few minor problems, the more they see the less likely they are to fall in love with the home.
Personal Color Choices
If you have used a color palette in your home that reflects your personality and improves your living space, you shouldn’t expect it to be to buyer’s tastes. So if you have used unusual paint effects or decorated your child’s bedroom in vibrant colors, you should return the home to a more neutral palette.
Choosing cream or warm neutral colors should make your home easier to sell. It will make rooms appear larger, cleaner, and brighter. Take the opportunity to repaint doors and frames at the same time to show your rooms in their best light.
Dark House or Rooms
Rooms that aren’t well-lit can put off would-be buyers. Brighter rooms are more welcoming and there are many things you can do to improve a darker home.
Remove heavy drapes and swap them for something that lets in more light. Make sure the lights are turned on before showings. Consider adding extra lamps to rooms that still aren’t light enough.
If you’ve converted a bedroom or a dining room to a different use to suit your lifestyle, returning it to its original purpose can help. Converted rooms can be difficult for buyers to visualize being used for other purposes.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
The kitchen and the bathrooms of any home are going to be important to buyers. If your kitchen and bathrooms are lacking, with outdated fixtures, fittings, and appliances, your home could be more difficult to sell.
Buyers often expect impressive kitchens and bathrooms and don’t want to do the renovations themselves. If these rooms in your home are showing their age, you might consider updating them. Renovating these rooms can be expensive, but hiring a home stager or doing it yourself could improve the rooms without the cost and the time it takes to completely update.
Some minor upgrades could also make a world of difference to an outdated kitchen or bathroom. Repainting, and replacing tiles, faucets, or cupboard door knobs, could offer a new and fresh look to these important rooms.
For example, tired-looking faucets with acrylic knobs are not popular these days and look cheap. These types of knobs can also be difficult to use for some, particularly older people, and should be replaced.
If your home is filled with brass light switches and other fixtures, it might be a good investment to replace them. Brass has fallen out of favor, with homebuyers expecting more modern types of finish, like chrome, stainless steel, black coating, or nickel.
Replacing light fixtures and switches is relatively easy if you are handy with a screwdriver, and can make a difference to the overall impression buyers get when they visit your home.
While having carpets throughout the home was often a popular feature in the past, that is no longer the case. Many buyers will see carpets as a source of unpleasant odors and dirt no matter how well they are cleaned.
If hardwood floors are underneath, removing the carpet and refinishing the floor could be a better option.
When you are making your choice about what to do with the flooring, consider the overall experience of walking through the home. Too many different types of flooring can be off-putting to buyers, so try to limit yourself to two different finishes. Try to make the flooring choices blend naturally with each other so that walking through your home isn’t a jarring experience.
Having a carpet in the bathroom is something that some potential home buyers could still want, but many won’t. This isn’t usually what you see in brand-new homes, but it was still a popular design choice in the 90s.
The carpet will absorb water, something that will be a problem in a bathroom, and floor tiles or vinyl are a better option. If your bathroom carpet is looking tired, consider replacing it.
If you are trying to sell an older home, you might have textured popcorn ceilings. Popcorn ceilings were popular as they made it easy to conceal flaws in the surface of the ceiling. However, this option has long since lost its appeal.
If you do decide to remove it, it can often be scraped off if you are confident in your DIY skills. However, if the house was built or the popcorn ceiling was applied before 1979, you should check for asbestos first. If there is asbestos present, dealing with it is something you will want to leave to experts.
Even if there isn’t any asbestos present, hiring professionals should ensure you get a better finish. With popcorn removed the ceiling might not be as smooth as you would like, requiring repairs and multiple coats of paint.
Some older homes, particularly in basements, have dropped ceilings. Buyers don’t like these suspended ceilings not only because they look out of date, but because they could be hiding things as well. Removing the dropped ceiling and painting the pipes and floor joists, will make the basement look larger and more appealing.
Wallpaper in your home was very popular in the past but isn’t as liked as it once was. However, this depends on the design. If you have a room with wallpaper that looks like it is from the 70s, you should make a change.
Wood paneling was a popular option in the past but usually looks very dated now. Removing wood paneling could uncover other problems you don’t want to find, but you can paint over it instead.
If you have experienced problems with ants, rodents, scorpions, termites, or any other type of pest in your home you need to deal with it. Even if the potential buyer doesn’t notice any of these things during the showing, it will be found during the home inspection.
As you might imagine, people won’t want to buy a home that has a problem like this, even if it is relatively easy to fix. If you know you have a problem with pests, there are things you can do to solve it yourself or bring in the experts if it’s more serious.
Check with a Real Estate Agent to See What They Think
Real Estate expert Bill Gassett of Maximum Real Estate Exposure provided the following guidance based on his many years of experience as a Realtor.
“Luke, in my time in the business, there are some common denominators with buyer dislikes. Highly personalized homes with bright color schemes and designer wallpaper stand out like a sore thumb.
Buyers have a hard time looking past unconventional tastes.
A cluttered mess is also something sellers need to pay careful attention to. Lack of proper spacing with furniture and an overabundance of knick-knacks can make it challenging for buyers to envision the space as their own.
The presence of numerous repairs that need to be made is a big no-no. It’s a major turnoff that forces buyers to spend time and money to make the house enjoyable.
Owners who sell as-is will net far less money than those who make even minor property upgrades.”
Summing Up Things Buyers May Hate About Your Home
When you are trying to sell your home, there are many things you could do to improve your chances of finding a buyer and getting the price you want. Your real estate agent can only do so much to market your property, but if the home has problems buyers want to avoid, you won’t maximize the price you get.
About the author: This article was written by Luke Skar of MadisonMortgageGuys.com. As the Social Media Strategist, his role is to provide original content for all of their social media profiles as well as generate new leads from his website.
We provide award-winning customer service to clients who need to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage.