Are You Selling Your Home or Using it to Sell Your Competition?

I was reading a blog article titled “Why My First Time Home Buyers Didn’t Make an Offer on Your Home” by Andi Grant who is a Realtor in Long Beach, CA. I found it interesting – and not all surprising – that while this savvy agent councils her first time buyer clients to look past all manner of objections, they simply can’t follow that advice. What I found equally interesting was the comments by other experienced realtors which followed the blog post, all agreeing and adding on to the list of things which make first time buyers cringe and rush right back out the front door.

So many sellers mistakenly believe that buyers can see past their everyday clutter, personal decorating choices and deferred maintenance issues but it simply isn’t true. In fact, we often say that homes which aren’t properly prepared & staged help sell the homes which are showcased to sell.

Here are some of the top things – from savvy realtors – that sellers need to fix before selling their homes:

1) Dark Rooms: As Andi describes in her blog article, dark rooms make buyers huddle together, hold bags or purses tightly against their body and look really, really uncomfortable. This generally results in quick showings with buyers rushing off to see the next listing.

Dark rooms make buyers anxious to leave

Solution: Taking down heavy draperies and ensuring that each room in a home has adequate lighting is essential. And when I say lighting I am not just referring to a basic ceiling fixture. Table lamps, stylish floor lamps, modern pendants or chandeliers are all essential fixtures to set the mood for your buyers and showcase a lifestyle instead of just a harshly illuminating a room.

Bright rooms are both welcoming and appealing for buyers!

2) Wallpaper & Borders: The ‘flower power wallpaper’ which matches the sofa, throw pillows and rug is often a strong buyer objection. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t buying all matching components – it’s not their style and not the lifestyle they want to buy into. Wallpaper is also one of the top objections buyers have to a home; its time-consuming to take down and its often not to their taste. That means time and money to properly redo the space and for most buyers they would just rather move on.

Wallpaper deters even the most experienced of buyers.

Solution: This one is simple. Take down the wallpaper before you list the home. Trust me, buyers will be appreciative. Don’t forget to paint the space a modern, neutral color so that your target buyers are impressed by the room!

Taking down wallpaper and painting the room in a modern, neutral hue adds both value and appeal to your home.

3) Clutter & Collections: It’s amazing how much stuff we can accumulate when living in a home but leaving it all out for buyers to see when they visit your property is always an issue. Whether its piles of stuff on countertops & desks or collections of things you are very proud of – all of these things make buyers very uncomfortable. If they aren’t uncomfortable then they can be amused – again, not the reaction you want. Choosing to have them remember your home as the place with the crazy stuffed deer and moose head collection instead of the house with the gorgeous kitchen and luxurious master bedroom will end up costing you thousands of dollars in lost equity.

Buyers can't see past everyday clutter to the potential your home offers.

Solution: Start packing away your treasures now. Not only does this mean you’ll have a head start on the packing process once your home sells but you’ll also make sure that your buyers remember your home – not your all your stuff. Remember, a home can have the best kitchen ever but if overwhelming clutter makes it appear that the home lacks essential storage then those upgrades don’t matter.

4) Unpleasant Smells: If a home has icky odors, this has a powerful negative effect on buyers. If you think about what you do when you smell something unpleasant, I bet it isn’t lingering in the place where the smell is. Whether its heavy or ethnic cooking odors, pet smells or even heavy artificial floral scents – all these things have a tendency to offend your buyers right away. Guess where offended buyers go? You betcha, right into the arms of your competition.

Solution: Be objective and proactive when it comes to preparing your home for sale. If you have smoked (or your parents did) for years in the home, that smoke smell is ingrained in everything. Walls need to be washed, primed & painted and carpets will need to be replaced. If its pet odors, figure out where they are coming from and then deal with the issue. If its cooking smells, consider alternative cooking styles while the house is on the market or eat out. You want your buyers to be comfortable while they preview their home so deal with the issues so your home is appealing to both the eyes and the nose.

Many sellers cannot objectively look at their home to see if its suffering from some – or all – of these issues. A savvy realtor will spot these issues and will refer a professional home stager to help you develop a plan to both prepare and showcase your property for sale. This way your home is selling itself – not its competition!

5 thoughts on “Are You Selling Your Home or Using it to Sell Your Competition?

  1. This is so true. Homeowners can be part of the solution to selling their home or part of the problem that prevents a successful and satisfying sale. It’s their choice, but as staging professionals, we can help them make the right choices when prepping their homes for sale. There are staging solutions that can be tailored to help sell a house in any market, based on the homeowner’s time, budget and motivation. Few buyers want to purchase a fixer-upper, and since they have a choice, they will go with the most move-in ready home that they can afford.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s