Selling a house can be a stressful and frustrating experience. However, it can also be exciting and opportunistic – especially in a seller’s market where you have most of the leverage. But if you’re going to extract maximum value out of the sale of your house, make sure you’re giving buyers what they want. That means catering to their needs and expectations (and avoiding the things they do not want to see).
Homebuyers Hate These Things
Homebuyers have expectations. There are certain things they want to see and certain things they don’t. Avoiding the latter is arguably just as important as satisfying the former. With that being said, here are some things homebuyers hate. If you can avoid them, you’ll set yourself up for success.
1. Strong Smells and Stenches
Don’t underestimate the power of smell. When selling a home, you want your house to have the most neutral smell possible. Bad odors and stenches can immediately turn a buyer off and ruin their first impression of the home as soon as they walk through the front door.
Here are some smells that are the biggest turn-offs for buyers:
- Mold and mildew
- Cigarette smoke
- Cooking meat/last night’s dinner
- Dirty gym clothes
Believe it or not, buyers don’t like the strong smell of candles, air fresheners, or perfumes, either. Technically, these are pleasant smells, but they immediately raise a buyer’s suspicions. They think to themselves, “I wonder what they’re trying to mask.”
Clutter creates a physical distraction. It zaps up a buyer’s visual processing power and prevents them from looking at the big picture. Do your best to declutter your house prior to listing. (You might even want to rent out a storage unit and use it to pack and store non-essential items.)
As you think about decluttering, here are some specific things to focus on:
- Focus on countertops and surfaces (including mantels, end tables, kitchen counters, bedside tables, etc.). This is where small items and clutter typically accumulate. Make it a point to clear these surfaces, leaving only essential items like lamps or centerpieces. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to individually sort and pack everything up, you can grab a box, place all the clutter from each individual location into the box, and then label it with something like “living room end table items.” Then you can unpack the box later and figure out what to do with everything.
- Refrigerators are, quite literally, magnets for clutter. Remove all artwork, magnets, stickers, etc.
- Go through closets and pack up stuff you won’t need until after the move. (Buyers will open closets!)
- Nobody wants to see personal items in the bathroom. Remove all toothbrushes, hair care products, and cosmetics from the bathroom counter. The same goes for soap, shampoo, and conditioner bottles in the shower/tub. And if there are things like plungers and scrubbers next to the toilet, get them out of there!
3. Too Much Personalization
You love your family. So, it’s only natural that you want to display family photographs, memories, and other heirloom items around the house. But here’s the deal: Buyers don’t have the same emotional attachment. In fact, all of these personalized items can actually have a negative impact on the perception of your home.
When a buyer walks through your house, they want to be able to picture their own family in that house. If it’s overly personalized, it makes it difficult for them to look past the current homeowners and imagine themselves living there. Do them a favor by removing these items. It’ll help them get a better feel for the space.
4. Inconsistency Between Listing Pics and Showing
Most realtors work with their clients to get the property looking perfect for listing photos. And there’s a really good reason for this: Listing photos are what grab people’s attention and make them interested in seeing the property. The only problem is that you can easily set the wrong expectations.
We’re all for amazing listing pictures, but make sure there’s consistency between what prospective buyers see in the listing photos and what they see during their showing. If the house looks different/better in the pictures and then they arrive and have a different experience during their showing, it hurts your credibility as a seller and creates a sense of distrust.
5. Unkempt Yard
A yard is never going to sell a house, but it certainly goes a long way toward setting the first impression and helping people imagine themselves living in the house.
You don’t need a perfect yard, but it should be clean and well-kept. If needed, hire a landscaping service to pull weeds, mow and edge, trim the shrubs, and throw down some fresh mulch.
Also, if you have pets, make sure you clean up after them! There’s nothing worse than having an interested buyer step in dog poop when walking through your yard.
If you’re a “control freak” who likes to be in charge of every little detail of the home selling process, you might be tempted to hang around your house for showings. And while, legally, you have every right to do this, it’s a foolish mistake.
You might think you’re doing everyone a favor by being present to answer questions, but you’re actually just making people nervous. When the owner is present, it makes the buyer feel awkward. They can’t speak their mind or ask their real estate agent the questions they really want to ask. They also won’t stay as long, which means they’re less likely to fall in love with the property and make a decent offer.
Sell Your Home With Green Residential
If you’re ready to sell your Houston home, make sure you’re partnering with experienced agents who understand the local market and know precisely what Houston buyers want.
At Green Residential, we’ve been in the Houston real estate industry for several decades. Over that time, we’ve perfected the art of helping our clients maximize every last dollar. One way we do this is by operating on a flat-rate structure. That’s right, no more 6 percent commission – our agents charge a flat-fee. To learn more, contact us today!