House Hater Complaint #1: Odors
You might think I’m beating a dead horse, here, or even preaching to the choir. But as long as house hunters keep emailing me to ask why, in the name of all that is sacred, they keep seeing homes that smell like all sorts of madness and mayhem, I’m going to keep repeating this message.
Viewing a home sounds like it’s all about the visual of the experience. And visuals are critical – your listing should be in its Sunday best, so to speak, when it’s being shown, in terms of being spruced, staged and clutter-free. But when a buyer comes to see your listing, they don’t turn off the rest of their senses. And there is nothing that can turn a buyer off from a home they’d otherwise like more quickly than a powerfully bad odor.
In particular, cigarette and pet odors in a house that seems to have been well-cleaned create the concern that they might be permanent and that the buyer might not be able to get rid of them without dropping some serious cash on cleaning or even removing wall, window and floor coverings.
House Hater Complaint #2: Glaringly Extreme Overpricing
There’s the kind of overpricing that makes a buyer say, “Hmmm – seems a bit high. Let’s go see it, but we might have to offer a little less than the asking price if we like it.” Then there’s the kind of overpricing that makes buyer say “I’ll wait until a price reduction” or worse, hold their sides from laughing.
When overpricing is glaring, many buyers and buyer’s brokers will comment on it or inquire about it. What they are less likely to do is actually come out and see the place – especially if they weed it out online after comparing its specs to all the other homes in the area and the price range. Often, homes this severely overpriced simply don’t sell, or not until after they’ve had some serious price cuts or have been on the market so long buyers begin to feel confident about making lowball offers.
House Hater Complaint #3: Dirt and Messes
Possibly the single largest source of House Hater Complaints I’ve ever heard are the dirt, messes, piles and personal belongings that buyers find so distracting, when they walk into a home for a viewing or Open House. Obviously, homes that are filthy from floor to ceiling are fertile fodder for haters, but often those homes are bank-owned or otherwise distressed so that the sellers aren’t likely to do much. What is underestimated is how often even savvy home buyers are distracted (and disgusted) by relatively clean homes that just have a few outstanding messes, like piles of dirty dishes in the sink, piles of dog poo in the yard or even piles of papers, mail, books or clothes lying out in plain view.
House Hater Complaint #4: Lots of Little Malfunctions
All of us tend to think our homes are in fantastic condition. After all, your sellers have had the furnace maintained regularly, they’ve installed granite and dual paned windows – maybe they even took your advice to have the floors refinished or the walls painted in preparation for putting the place on the market.
That’s all fantastic – all the non-cosmetic work that’s been done to maintain and improve your listing should be trumpeted in your marketing materials, and the cosmetic items will (or should) speak for themselves
Since these little fixes are inexpensive to make, have them completed before you list, if at all possible. You might even ask your seller to walk through the property with you, pinpoint all the necessary little fixes and offer the a handyperson reference for someone you know works efficiently.