Note to sellers: What Buyers really DON't Want

Real Estate Agent with 1

Moeny Dealing with sellers and working for the sellers, sometimes the buyers wants and needs get over looked.  Its either a question of do you want the house or not, if so make your BEST offer.  But seeing as the market has taken a turn and the buyers are far and few in between, I think agents should start thinking and focusing to the buyers.  What do they want?  What do they need?

At my last open house, I asked buyers that were in attendance, what are the MAIN things that attract them to a house or steers them away - fast.

Steer aways: (Things that will make you run faster than Forest Gump)

1. The PRICE - was far above any other factor.  There was no hesitation in anyone's reply.  When I searched a bit deeper I came to realize that although people want to buy a reasonable priced home, they also want to buy a nice home.  As much as the price is a factor so is the condition of the home.  If the two do not "fit" together then you will find your potential buyers making a deduction list and they will consider all of the items when making an offer.   Falldownhouse

2. CONDITION - What I mean by this is when the buyers walk through the house, they are auto deducting on items that should be or need to be addressed.  For example, dropped ceilings - huge price reductions I have seen here.  Buyers are so afraid of what is under that dropped ceiling they will deduct off the asking price, just for that alone.  Popcorn Ceilings - A top of the list item that buyers hate - possibly more than the dropped ceilings.  Old vinyl flooring, this is another item that people hate to buy when buying a house. Stained or mildew grout - this although is easy to treat and can be scraped out - when buyers see this - they freak.  They will almost feel that they have to gut out the bathroom, before they scrape the grout out.  Wood windows that are chipped or peeling paint.  They buyers will assume that they have to replace all the windows.    Broken storm or screen doors - If this happens to be the first thing that potential buyers see - then it is setting the tone for the rest of the viewingSmelly or wet basements are a huge huge huge deterrent.  This scares buyers into thinking that there is water damage and they are going to be left fixing the problem.    Asbestos wrapped pipes, listen almost every home in Queens has this, if it is an older home.  The cost to remove it and the procedure to remove it is almost comical, so a seller should make sure that the asbestos pipes are encapsulated.   Old Crickity boilers, I want to just touch on this for a second.  I can not stress to sellers that a old boiler shows the bones of the house.  Buyers know that if a boiler busts - it busts!  To invest $2000 - 3000.00 to replace an old boiler is something that I do recommend for the sellers to do prior to listing the house.  The other item that should be addressed before placing a house on the market is termite inspection.  Do the termite treatment and put the buyers concerns to rest.  I do know for a fact that there are some banks, not all, but some that will NOT close on the loan unless a full termite inspection has been done. 

So just with the items that I addressed above you can figure that the potential buyer has deducted alot of money.  MORE money than it really costs to do such repairs, but buyers feel that the time and inconvenience should also be factored in.  If a seller wants to sell their house "as is" with repairs that are needed than you need to expect that the buyers will make such allowance's when making an offer.

Attractions to BUY the home:

1. PRICE - When a house if priced right then the buyers will come,  like bees to honey. 


3. LOCATION - I20want201

4. Getting that "FEELING" when they step into your home -    Call it silly or whatever, but when potential buyers enter the house, if they don't get that comfortable feeling or can not imagine their family living there -  We lost them


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Cynthia Sloop
Community Association Manager - Indianapolis, IN
Thank you, I've some what observed a couple of the same things.  It's great to know that it's across the board.
Nov 10, 2006 10:15 AM #7
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Great post, Christine!  It's all common sense but it's a good reminder when you see it in writing like this.  I tell buyers that they'll know almost the minute they walk into a house whether it's for them or not.  Residential real estate is bought on emotion, and those emotions cause them to either stay or run the other way.

Ann Cummings

Nov 10, 2006 10:21 AM #8
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!


Great post. This is something that should be printed up and taken to listings. It's a good way of letting the Seller know what he's in for in this current market.

Nov 10, 2006 10:32 AM #9
Kaye Thomas
Real Estate West - Manhattan Beach, CA
e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA


Thanks for the reminder list.  As many said before this should be handed to all sellers.  People get  used to how their house looks  and smells. They don't see the mildew, or greasy spots or torn carpet.  Sellers view these things as negligible as they have learned to live with them. Buyers, however, just see a huge money pit that will drain their cash and start adjusting the price accordingly.

Nov 10, 2006 10:55 AM #10
Gena Riede
Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792 - Sacramento, CA
Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699
Thank heavens I don't see a lot of homes in that condition but I do agree that price, condition and location are the number 1 concerns that each and every buyer should have.
Nov 10, 2006 11:30 AM #11
David Love
David Alan Love, Realtors - Merced, CA

When we do office tour, we ask the other agents to critique our listings in writing. It can help re-enforce what the listing agent should have already told the seller if they have the courage to share it with them.

Nov 10, 2006 12:31 PM #12
Bonnie Erickson
Tangletown Realty - Saint Paul, MN
The biggest reward in our business is seeing the lights go on in a buyer's eyes when the house is the "right" house.  I have one buyer client who bought their "oooooh house".  They love it to this day.
Nov 10, 2006 01:00 PM #13
Derek and Mariana Wagner
Springs Top Agents- Keller Williams Premier Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
Springs Top Agents - Colorado Springs REALTORS®

Buyers also do not care about the sentimental "value" that Sellers love to place on their homes. No one cares that little Bobby caught a butterfly in the 3rd bedroom ... or if it was the house that grandma and grandpa made fruit jams ... Nor do buyers care about nicknacks (sp?) and 6 generations of pictures on the wall ... A potential buyer does not want to feel like they are buying "someone elses" house.

... sorry, my choo choo train went a little off track there...

Good post! 

Nov 10, 2006 01:17 PM #14
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ
Before you open the door to the buyers - make sure it is ready for "show time"!
Nov 10, 2006 01:22 PM #15
Suzanne Marriott
Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Anthem, AZ
Associate Broker, CLHMS, e-PRO
I'll second that - always useful to review.
Nov 10, 2006 01:32 PM #16
Michele Connors
The Overton Group, LLC Pitt & Carteret County - Greenville, NC
Your Eastern North Carolina Realtor

One chance for a first impression.

We also do the same as daves office- criticism that should be taken seriously. I am aways upfront at the listing appt- if they need to do something- I ecpect it- it is part of making it ready for selling. If they dont they wast both my time and theirs.

Some crack me up when they dont take time to clean up or prepare the home to impress me on my first tour of the home.

Nov 10, 2006 02:00 PM #17
John Willis
None - Versailles, IN
I'm always amazed when I show up at a home to shoot a virtual tour and find that the beds aren't made and the breakfast dishes are still in the sink.  I hate to think what it looks like when a potential buyers shows up.
Nov 10, 2006 02:24 PM #18
Steve Hewson
KW Commercial Real Estate, LLC - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver Metro Comnulll Real Estate
You are right.  Price and Condition.  In a market where buyers can find many homes for sale, I tell my sellers your home must have a WOW factor to make it stand out.  When a buyer walks in they must immediately feel that WOW.  It may be staging or it may be some updating, but the seller must feel this is the one of many they have to have.
Nov 10, 2006 03:48 PM #19
Ginger Sala
Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~

great post!

I would ad outdated wallpaper.....can be a real turnoff. Not only does it confuse the eye, but they are thinking how many hours of tortuous labor and mess will it take to remove

Nov 10, 2006 04:49 PM #20
Home Design
Alpharetta, GA
Home Design and Real Estate
Great Post Christine!  Price is King!  Bottom line.  It all comes down to the price for the condition.  It amazes me how so many agents have no clue about this.
Nov 10, 2006 11:10 PM #21
Christine Forgione
1 - Whitestone, NY
Associate Broker

Sorry all - I usually like to address each one - but I got backed up - Sorry!  So here is a unified post to all -

Thank you for reading and while many sellers know this to be true - they are unable to walk through their home through the eyes of a buyer and take notice to all the things that the potential buyer might see, the sellers will continously over look such items. 

It is key as an agent to point these items out to the sellers so they can transform their view of their house to something that the buyers will see and at that moment - they can decide to repair/fix the issues or leave as is and prepare for a less sales price. 

Have a great weekend all!!

Nov 10, 2006 11:25 PM #22
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
Good stuff Christine. I had my last seller spend $8,000 on tile flooring before I placed his home on the market. He was listed with another Realtor for 6 months and they never mentioned a word to him about his disgusting carpet. He was more than happy to remove it. I sold his house in 3 weeks for $5,000 more than his previous list price. Sellers need to be told these things. That why they are paying us.
Nov 11, 2006 12:07 AM #23
Christine Adler - Fort Lauderdale, FL
SE Palm Beach, Broward & NE Miami-Dade Counties FL
Christine you are so right. First and formost is price. A great home that is overpriced will not sell, a poor home that is priced right will sell.
Nov 11, 2006 02:55 AM #24
Eddy Martinez
Nationwide Funding Group - Highland Park, CA
Great blog christine just like when clients are rate sensitive when looking for a mortgage, they even more price sensitive when looking to buy a home.            
Nov 11, 2006 05:15 AM #25
Christine Forgione
1 - Whitestone, NY
Associate Broker

BB - First I would like to thank you very much for your last post - with CB, that was a phenomenal discussion and I have had my eyes opened alot more then before.  Thank you again - you showed your true self and I have the utmost respect for you even more so now.  Thank you again! 

As for my post, Its not about robbing anyone - its about both parties walking away happy.  I do not want to rob anyone, but I want my client to make the most amount of money I can for them, and with that being said the buyers are gaining a great house - because We wanted to give them a great house. 

Working for families as opposed to investors - you have emotions.  I don't care what anyone says - but I do connect with my clients (sellers), more so than my investors looking for the "one more cent".  I can also add that, I find it more fulfilling. 

Nov 11, 2006 01:41 PM #26
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