8 Things a Buyer Notices Instantly
When people put their home on the market, they want to make sure that it looks its best.
After all, this is going to be their first impression on potential buyers.
There are some things, though, that buyers notice instantly, no matter how well the home is staged.
Here are eight of them.
1. Closet Space
Closets are often a hiding place for old clothes, stuff we only use on occasions or things that need to be donated to goodwill. But if you take the time and effort needed to organize your closets before listing them (or even just give every item its own spot), then buyers will be more likely offer higher prices because they’re excited about what’s inside!
Many buyers can’t see past the clutter. When your closets are bursting at the seams, drawers overflowing, and cabinets crammed, the Buyer starts to think:
There’s not enough space here for “My Stuff” and will likely move on.. or even use that to justify their low-ball offer.
Clear out and organize the closets.
Put the majority of your items in totes and store them away neatly.
(You’re going to be packing soon anyway, right?) 😉
2. Knick-Knacks & Personal Items
I totally get it, this is your home. But, your goal is to sell it right?
Don’t let the buyers get distracted by your collections, kick-knacks, or even personal photos. (Yes, they will).
Agents: Look at this spacious family room, and beautiful fireplace.
Buyers: (looking at photos hanging on the wall) “Hey, I think I went to school with these homeowners”
(Come On, you know you’ve done it!)
or they will spark up a conversation about last night’s game when they see your sports trophies.
Don’t let them get distracted folks!
They aren’t there to get to know you. Help them focus on The House and all of it’s great features.
Once again, put it away. If you wouldn’t be confident photographing the room with all your stuff in it, and displaying it in a Home Magazine, then you need to lighten the load!
Less is More. You’ll be able to display everything proudly again once you buy your next home.
Guilty. We all lead busy lives between work, sports, errands, etc. We come and go and often completely overlook the dirt forming on the light switches, the hand print on glass door, the little dust bunnies setting up shop in the corner of the “Formal Living Room” that we never even use.
How long has it been since you’ve cleaned that chandelier? Has it developed cobwebs? Are your windows clean, are the curtains dusty? I promise the buyer will pull aside your curtains to check your windows to see if they are replacement windows and in good condition. Don’t let them have a sneezing fit in the process.
Imagine you are a buyer taking the first walkthrough of your future home. You will be surprised by what can go to make it more appealing! Imagine every detail…the dirty dishes in dish drain, greasy frying pan on stovetop without handle; these things may not seem like much but they’ll have an effect on the buyer. Especially if they have HGTV expectations.
4. Kitchens & Baths
If you’re thinking of doing any remodeling or renovations before you put your house on the market, consider doing Kitchens and Baths first and foremost. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen buyers pass up some FANTASTIC homes just because the Kitchens or Baths were outdated.
You may have low budget light fixtures, so-so hardwood floors, but OH MY if you have a gorgeous Kitchen you’ve got interest!
Not all buyers are handy, or willing to do rehab when they buy their home like on the Property Brothers (Great show!). Many buyers want to move in and enjoy their sparkling kitchen right away!
If you don’t have the budget to update kitchens & baths, clear out the clutter from the counter-tops (it will help it look more spacious). Put out fresh towels in the bathroom, put away your toothbrushes, combs and unmentionables (pretty please!) maybe even put some nice cut flowers in a vase. Also, put the toilet seat down. (Sometimes, it’s the little things).
It’s the first thing a buyer will see before they come into your home, so why do we often neglect it? I’m not saying go all out and hire a landscape company, but are there dying flowers in the flower bed? Is there a skateboard or bike on the lawn? Is there still evidence of last night’s horseshoe game strewn out all over the yard? Your buyers need to imagine enjoying their BBQ’s here, or planting their garden. Are the flowers dying because the homeowner is neglectful, or is it something in the soil? If they don’t care about the outside.. what’s the inside of the house like? Remember, Buyers will often do a drive by the house first before they schedule an appointment.
Keep the grass cut & Sweep up the walkways. If you don’t have time to plant new flowers, rip out any dead ones. (Better that there be nothing there at all. at least the buyer can envision what they would plant there). Put away toys when finished.
Don’t go overboard with “yard items” such as garden Gnomes, pinwheels, planters, statues, etc. Less is more.
6. Pets & Smoking
Ok, we all love our pets. But, Yes we can smell it, I promise!
Our noses get easily accustomed to scents and smells we experience daily.
(It’s true.. just Google it). To a buyer who has no pets or doesn’t smoke, if they get hit in the face with any of the above smells when they walk through the door.. all bets are off. I can’t tell you how many buyers have asked: “Will I be able to get rid of that smell if I buy this house” Once again.. insert low ball offer here.
Also, don’t leave your pets around during appointments. Not only can they be distracting – “Awe, look at the cute little doggies!” – but some buyers are afraid of animals, or allergic, and they might just turn around and walk right back out the door.
If you’re a smoker, consider smoking only outside while the house is on the market to help eliminate any odors.
Wash pet bedding and blankets. Remove evidence of pets before showings such as water bowls, squeaky toys and kennels. Smoke outdoors only to help begin eliminating the odor from the home. Dab some vanilla on light bulbs so that when they heat up it will help lightly scent the room.
(Vanilla is tolerable by most, please don’t go spray-crazy with strongly scented Lysol or other fresheners right before the showings). Some people have allergies that will get aggravated, others will wonder what you’re trying to cover up. Keep it simple.
You can’t go wrong with Neutral colors. Not all buyers are going to dig your Bright Orange Kitchen, or the fluorescent Pink phase in the bedroom that used to be purple, that used to be yellow… you get the idea.
They will likely be thinking: “Oh Great, I’ll have work to do on this one”
Show of hands.. How many of us just LOVE to paint?
This was home to you, and those colors meant something to you, but it means nothing to the buyers except more work which may mean they offer less.
If you’re able: paint all “loud” colors down to a neutral shade or off-white. It will brighten things up, make the room look more spacious and fresh!
8. Priced too High
You’re not kidding anyone. In this day of technology, it’s way too easy to find out a home’s value.
Any buyer with an internet connection can do it, and most buyers work with a Buyer’s Agent who will pull comps and do some research before they schedule an appointment.
If you’re priced too high, then you’ve lost them already!
Trust your Realtor (if you can’t, then that’s a story for a different blog!), and ask them to show you what houses selling for in your neighborhood?
What justifies the higher price for your home? Do you have enough interior photos online to help prove the value and encourage buyers to come see for themselves?
Do your research.
- Start here to find out your home’s value.
- Hire a trusted real estate agent who will not only price your home right, but makes sure it gets enough exposure to make people want to schedule an appointment.
- Follow all of the tips above before you put it on the market! First impressions are everything, the buyers might not want to take a second look so be sure it’s “Show Ready” the first time they visit!