Halloween is almost here, so now’s as good a time as any to let you in on a secret: If your home looks like a creepy, disheveled haunted house every day of the year (and not just on Halloween), chances are it’s not going to sell — unless your potential buyers happen to have the last name Munster or Addams.
I know, revolutionary concept, right? But the truth is, your home’s current appearance may cause home buyers to hate your place of residence. And obviously, if they hate the house, they aren’t going to be pulling out the checkbook anytime soon.
A previous article of ours went over things you can do to help your house sell; this article will reveal 10 things that are sure to make your home downright loathsome to just about everyone (except maybe those Munsters or Addams I mentioned earlier).
So here now are the 10 ways to guarantee your home won’t sell.
1. Odors. A stinky house is an unsold house. If the house smells like cigarette smoke, pets, or mildew, you can kiss any possible home buyers good-bye. Do whatever it takes to eliminate odors altogether. (Note: This does not mean dousing rooms with sprays that only mask odors.)
2. Pets. Fido and Fluffy may be your pride and joy, but prospective buyers may not see them that way. At the least, buyers may find your pets irritating or they may be allergic to them; at worst, they may be afraid of them. Have any and all pets (dogs cats, gila monsters, etc. al) removed from your house entirely during showings, if at all possible. If that’s not doable, then put Spike and Snowball in their crates and place them in a safe location.
3. Dirty Bathrooms. Let’s face it, dirty bathrooms are gross to just about everybody. Mildew-encrusted shower curtains, dingy toilet bowls, tattered towels, moldy sinks — yuck! Break out the elbow grease and paint, scrub, re-caulk, and redecorate until each and every bathroom shines like new.
4. Dark Rooms. Do rooms in your house get mistaken for caves because they’re so dark? Then you need to brighten things up, pronto, because most buyers aren’t crazy about overly dark rooms. Take the time to clean all your windows (inside and out), prune back tree limbs that may be overshadowing your place, replace heavy drapes with lighter alternatives, install some brighter light sources (or add more of them), and repaint dark-hued rooms with lighter colors. Consider quality skylights, too, if you can afford them.
5. Busy Wallpaper. You may love that paisley wallpaper in the master bedroom, but a buyer may feel very differently. In fact, most would probably prefer choosing their own wallpaper — if they even like wallpaper at all. The best thing you can do is strip all the wallpaper out and then repaint. (Another note: Do not paint over the wallpaper. Buyers will notice if you do and will know that stripping it will now be even more difficult.)
6. Damp Basements. Know what a damp basement screams to buyers? Don’t buy this house, the foundation leaks! Find out whether it’s caused by clogged underground drains, downspouts facing the wrong way, a lack of rain gutters (or gutters that are clogged), or (the worst-case scenario) a faulty foundation and fix this problem now before it worsens.
7. Bugs. Unless your potential buyer happens to be an entomologist, they will not be buying your home if they see a bug of any kind. Channel your inner Schwarzenegger and terminate them all.
8. Bad Curb Appeal. We’ve gone over this in 2 different articles, but we feel we should say it again. Make sure your yard is well-manicured, your sidewalks are clean and clear, your doors and windows aren’t sagging, and your paint isn’t peeling. A buyer won’t even get out of their agent’s car if your home doesn’t look good from the street.
9. Overgrown Gutters. Trees should be growing in your yard, not your gutters. Clean the gutters out. Who knows? It might even solve that “damp basement” issue you were having.
10. Clingy Sellers. Yes, this one’s directed at you. Get out of your home when agents are showing the house. If you stick around, home buyers are going to feel uncomfortable looking around (or, let’s be honest, snooping through your closets and cabinets, which is a home buyer’s prerogative) and you don’t want your house getting a reputation as that house with the hovering owner. However, you may be opting to sell by owner, in which case you should hang back as much as possible and give your guests their space. They may just thank you via a check with their John Hancock.
The moral of the story: Don’t let your home look like Jason or Freddie live in it. Use these home seller tips to avoid these pitfalls, and you should sell your home in no time!