Dirty grout. Broken tiles. Ripply roof. Scuffy floors. Chipped cabinets. Scraggly radiators. Faded countertops. Outdated colors. Appalling old wallpaper. Peeling ceilings. Jumbly closets. Rumply bedding. Dingy curtains. Overgrown landscaping. Scary basements. MOLD! Etc.
In other people's houses, ugh! That's what typical buyers today think when they're viewing homes. If owners don't care enough to prepare for a sale, then buyers don't care enough to buy. Of course, sellers with financial issues may not be able to compete in the Pristine House Test, but those who can and don't...this market will leave you behind!
Clients of mine texted me this weekend with a no-go after I took them to a house I thought, in their price range, was promising. Great space but bathrooms that were very old, an "updated" kitchen had been faked, so to speak, with hugely expensive appliance upgrades and an upper tier of windowed cabs, but the rest just odd -- turquoise walls, blue and yellow linoleum tile -- you get the idea. Even at its new price, adding in 2.5 bath redos an a half a kitchen, not to mention floors that needed refinishing and a roof on the older side, this was just no bargain, I had to agree. Promising, yes, but, as my client added, "probably a money pit."
When I had previewed the property, the owner took me aside to say he know today's buyers wanted new, but he felt compelled to preserve the "integrity" of the 75-year old home. A quaint idea, but so outdated! Some things, like Fifties pink bathrooms, just don't stand the test of time, no matter how well-preserved the tiles are!
So, if you're planning to sell in this complicated market, where buyers are demanding more for less, think seriously about doing the tune-ups that will make a difference. If you don't know what those should be, get someone in who does. Money wasted on ill-advised, tasteless changes, is just... money wasted, deal missed.