It doesn’t take much for potential home buyers to walk into a home or even drive by a house and be completely turned off from buying it. These turnoffs could mean you don’t get top dollar – or you actually miss out on people noticing the amazing things about your home.
“I’ve seen quite a few things over the years that are big turnoffs,” says Judy Delen, owner and home stager at Delen Staging & Design in the Seattle. She also is a real estate broker with Blue Pacific Real Estate.
As a home stager and interior designer, Delen tries to enhance interior living spaces for the best possible first impression. She uses the newest interior design trends with stylish furnishings to let buyers focus on the home’s best features.
As a real estate broker, she sees the mistakes home sellers make when having an open house or having a private showing.
Here are her top 10 turnoffs for buyers, and what you can do about them before putting your house on the market:
An overgrown yard
This is the first thing a prospective buyer sees when they arrive, she says. If a homeowner is trying to get top dollar, they need to clean up the front yard, add a colorful planter to the porch and give the home curb appeal that appeals to someone’s emotions.
People want to imagine themselves driving up to this house after a long day of work and feeling relaxed.
Disgusting and muddy front door and mat
This is one of the next things a buyer sees and steps on. There should be a new, clean door mat put out for open houses and showings.
The front door should be free of cobwebs, dust and chipped paint. You might even think about painting it a cheery, bright color that attracts the eye, and can easily be remembered as the house with the colorful door.
Every house has a smell. But Delen says that pet urine, cigarettes, strong food smells, litter box and hamster cages can be too overwhelming for any buyer.
“No one wants to enter a home they are considering buying and get hit with the smell of wet dog or cat urine,” she says. “Carpets should be professionally cleaned and deodorized. Pets need to be off site for open houses.”
From papers to dishes to laundry to toys, all the clutter needs to be put away. Countertops should be almost bare, and closets and cupboards should be organized and tidy. Potential buyers will be opening up those doors. So, you don’t want things falling out at them.
If you have clutter, it clues them in that there isn’t enough storage in the house. It’s easy to buy baskets and other containers to neatly store things in.
Crazy paint colors
Bright fuchsia living rooms and startling lime green in the kitchen just don’t entice too many buyers as touring a home. Rooms should be repainted with more neutral colors, Delen says.
According to a recent analysis, you can sell your home for more money if you paint your walls certain colors. For instance, kitchens painted in light b lie to soft gray-blue sold on average more than $1,809. Bathrooms painted light powder blue to periwinkle sold for $5,440 more on average.
Broken door hinges, ripped carpets, torn upholstery, nasty looking blinds or curtains
Don’t leave these jobs to a buyer. They want to see move-in ready homes. So, by replacing and repairing these items before an open house, buyers’ eyes will be landing on the beauty of your big kitchen or the bright light shining through the clean windows.
Weird furniture layout
Each room should be furnished as it is originally intended. If you’re trying to sell a three bedroom home, and the third bedroom is used as an office, that’s ok.
“But if the dining room is now the office, it will not photograph very well and will distract buyers,” Delen explains. “Call a stager to help with editing rooms, re-arranging furniture, re-hanging art, and bringing in additional furniture to enhance what is already in the home.”
Family photographs everywhere
One of the first things a stager or a good real estate agent will tell you is to take down as many family photos as possible.
“This helps neutralize the feel of the home and let’s a potential buyer more easily imagine themselves living there,” she says. “Leaving a few photos is fine, but you should probably take down the gallery wall of baby pictures and wedding pictures.”
Plus, once you take them down, you might realize you have to repaint that wall because of the markings.
Old and dated light fixtures
Replacing light fixtures doesn’t have to be expensive. Consider changing outdated ones for more current options. Go to the big box stores to find bargains that are still modern and shine a new brightness on your home.
Putting in new light bulbs can also give you rooms more lightness especially if your showings are during evening hours. Buying a few more lamps for certain rooms can also help.
“This is often a forgotten area of the house, but clean windows can make a big difference,” Delan says. “Have the windows professionally cleaned inside and outside. Clean windows let more light in and make the home shine, sometimes literally.”