17 WAYS TO TURN BUYERS OFF AND SCARE THEM AWAY
- DIRT, GRIME AND FILTH
The easiest way to completely derail a showing and have the buyers take a hike is to have a dirty house — unwashed dishes in the sink, sticky floors, smudged windows and mirrors, dirty toilets. You get the picture. The house should be neat and clean, in its best possible condition.
Clutter turns off buyers. Homes should be objectively and strategically decluttered throughout to remove unnecessary items before the house is shown to prospective buyers. A decluttered home invites prospective buyers to mentally place their own furnishings and that leads to a strong emotional commitment. Cluttered homes leave negative ever-lasting impressions.
This is a great way to scare off a buyer: offensive cooking smells, lingering cigarette smoke, pet smells, musty smells, overpowering perfumes and plug-in air freshener smells, incense, litter boxes, smoky curtains and upholstery are all delightfully foul odours. Buyers quickly exit stinky houses.
Try and minimize any evidence of pets. Hair shedding, carpet stains, scratched floors, un-cleaned kitty litter boxes on display, huge dog dishes and beds do not help the cause. Buyers are likely to think about what the animals have done to the house.
- HAVE BAD LISTING PHOTOS OR NO PHOTOS AT ALL
As 90 plus percent of homebuyers start their home search online, the house has to be sold first online before it can be sold in person. Bad photos scare off buyers before they even see through. Dark and blurry, low-resolution cell phone pictures are grossly inadequate but all too common. Buyers want to see a whole room in glorious colour and how it relates to the overall flow of house.
- OVERPRICE YOUR HOME
A guaranteed way to scare off a buyer is to overprice the house. Overpriced homes actually help sell other reasonably priced houses. Market savvy buyers won’t waste time looking at overpriced homes as they conclude that the seller has unreasonable price expectations. Buyers like to avoid those Sellers and their overpriced houses. Overpriced homes tend to languish on the market far too long and sell at discounted prices.
Make certain that the temperature of the house is appropriate for the season. Keeping your house cold in the wintertime will save you a bit on heating bills but can make buyers shy away. Buyers might wonder what is wrong with the furnace that it can’t keep the house warm and inviting. Similarly, if the weather is excruciatingly hot and humid outside prospective buyers would welcome stepping into a refreshingly cool home.
- THE REALTOR
Unavailable, hard-to-work-with Realtors make buyers vanish into thin air. Realtors who are respected by other Realtors and who treat all buyers expeditiously and respectfully sell more houses. Get recommendations and do your best to observe and unearth the personalities of Realtors you are considering hiring to get the right one for you. There are plenty of Realtors who ignore prospective buyers and who don’t return the calls of Realtors with clients seriously interested in buying your house. Be very picky in your selection of a Realtor.
- CLINGY SELLERS WHO HANG AROUND HOUSE DURING SHOWINGS
Lingering sellers turn most buyers off. Many buyers feel uncomfortable seeing through a house if the seller is right there. A seller may feel that since they know the home best that means they are the best people to sell it. However, a seller’s pride and enthusiasm directly expressed to a potential buyer can often be perceived as desperation. Sellers should leave their home while it is being shown. If sellers are not able to vacate the house during showings they should remain isolated and quiet, only dispassionately and objectively answering specifically asked questions.
Some sellers withhold information about the house from their Realtor and potential buyers. Some sellers fib a bit here and there, some fib a lot. Exaggerating the cost of your renovations, maintenance costs, etc. creates grave mistrust in buyers when they discover the truth. This is counter-productive to an effective sale. Just tell it as it is.
- POOR CURB APPEAL
Appearance counts. When people drive past a house they tend to be either turned on or turned off. Bad first-glance impressions can scare buyers away and that happens all too often. Peeling paint, poorly kept flower beds, overgrown grass and general poor outside maintenance can all combine together to generate poor curb appeal. Sellers should take steps to present the outside of a home in its most positive light.
- CONVERTED BEDROOMS NOT TURNED BACK INTO BEDROOMS
The number of bedrooms does really matter in the sale of a house. Because a four bedroom house reaches a far broader buyer pool than a 3 bedroom plus upstairs-office house, the small bedroom converted upstairs into an office should be reverted back to a bedroom when it is time to sell the house.
- FAR TOO MANY PERSONAL ITEMS ON DISPLAY
Buyers ‘try on’ the house to see how it fits when they look at it. The Seller’s personal items make the fit difficult for Buyers to feel. Sellers disadvantage themselves by keeping every personal effect, knick-knack and family photo possible on display. These items should be packed up and stored away before a house gets listed for sale?
- POOR FURNITURE PLACEMENT
All the furniture that is not the right size, impeding the natural flow of a house has the effect of discouraging buyers. Ill placed, over sized furniture makes rooms appear small and awkward. While not always being able to identify why, inappropriately sized furniture can make a good-sized room feel tight and uncomfortable to a buyer.
- OUTDATED FIXTURES
Old doorknobs, old ceiling fans and old shag carpets all deter buyers.
Even minor repairs and updates like installing new cabinet hardware or fresh paint throughout can have a huge impact.
- OLD WALLPAPER
Wallpaper is not appealing to most buyers. Honestly, what are the chances they will like it? Having to spend time removing dated wallpaper appears negative to a buyer because it just adds to the prospective buyer’s work list. Wallpaper borders are not at all popular these days because they will almost certainly not reflect nor match almost any buyer’s tastes. Remove before selling.
- SHOWING TIME RESTRICTIONS
If you really want to scare off a buyer then make it almost impossibly difficult for them to even see the house. For example, allowing showings only on specific mornings or afternoons (even though most buyers expect great flexibility in the times allowed for them to see a house) greatly reduces the likelihood of an offer being generated.
It is definitely not easy to find a buyer. Even more challenging is finding the right buyer who might be willing to pay top dollar for the house. However, it is easy to turn them off and scare them away over something that could have been easily enough addressed and would have made a significant difference to the amount you could have sold your house for. Don’t have buyers cut and run when, with minimum effort, they could have been enticed to buy.