When it comes to presenting a home to buyers, some sellers are clueless. Don’t leave potential buyers with a bad impression of your home?
Oh No They Didn’t!
Here are the 10 most common responses from buyer’s agents when asked about the worst mistakes they see when presenting for-sale homes to clients:
1. Leftover home owners
By far, one of the top offenses cited by buyer’s agents was home owners still lingering around when agents arrived with clients to preview the home. Awkward encounters ranged from buyers finding sellers taking a shower, asleep in the bed, to even the “stalker sellers” who liked to follow buyers and the agent all over the home to see what they thought.
2. Pets and their messes
Numerous agents also cited the not-so-friendly dog and kitty encounters as a top offense. Even pets left in a crate can pose a distraction since they might make noise the entire time others are in the house. Plus, if they seem mean, the buyer might not even step in the room.
3. Bad smells
A displeasing smell can really turn buyers off. Common offenses include cooking smells lingering around the home, such as garlic, fried bacon, or fish. Also, watch for cigarette smoke and animal smells, agents say. Sellers get immune to the smell that their pets have embedded on their property, but anyone opening the door will smell it immediately, even if there are air fresheners trying to cover up the smell. If you have a pet, there will be an odor. Don’t send your buyers away: Paint, and clean the carpeting. Take the odor seriously and do what is needed, even if it means replacing the carpet.
4. Critters running wild
Wild animals and pests roaming around is a surefire way to send buyers running. Agents described worms crawling on the floor and bats and raccoons lounging in the attic.
5. Odd home makeovers
Do-it-yourself disasters were also prevalent, like doors opening the wrong way or unprofessional paint jobs. Also, rooms not being used for their intended purposes can confuse buyers, such as an office being used as a bedroom even though it has no closet.
6. Dirt and clutter
There were a number of offenses cited when it came to cleanliness: Dirty laundry piles, un-flushed toilets, dishes on the counter or in the sink, un-made beds, clothes scattered about, soiled carpets, dirty air conditioner filters, and overflowing trash cans.
7. Personal information left in plain sight
Sellers should be careful not to leave in plain sight important documents that may pique buyers’ curiosity. Some agents say they’ve seen personal information like bank and credit card statements, even mortgage payoff notices, left on the kitchen counter.
8. Too dark
Dark or dimly lit houses aren’t showing the home in the best light. Be careful with CFL bulbs as by the time the bulbs light up, the buyer is gone. Energy efficient bulbs need time to warm up before they are at their brightest, so staging professionals usually recommend agents arrive early to a showing to turn on any light fixtures with CFL bulbs at least 10 minutes prior.
9. Keys missing from lockboxes
All too often, agents arrive at a listing appointment with their client only to find there’s no key to get in.
10. Distracting photos
Watch the photos displayed on the walls too, agents warn. An agent from Kentucky, recalls showing a family a home that had life-sized, nude photos hanging, which left her clients racing for the door covering their eyes. Another agent recalled showing a home to a client, who was staring at a painting in the master bedroom of a woman in lingerie. It was the owner of the home…and the listing agent!
October 2012 | By Melissa Dittmann Tracey