I came across an article, "Top 10 Worst Home-Showing Offenses: by the National Association of REALTORS®. I thought I'd share the article with a few "Solutions."
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1. Leftover home owners
By far, one of the top offenses cited by buyer’s agents was home owners still lingering around when agents arrived with clients to preview the home. Awkward encounters ranged from buyers finding sellers taking a shower, asleep in the bed, to even the “stalker sellers” who liked to follow buyers and the agent all over the home to see what they thought.
Solution 1: I love leftovers but certainly not owners! Prepare the Sellers for drive-ups; it does happen and they should be prepared to leave the home if even for a quick walk down the block.
2. Pets and their messes
Numerous agents also cited the not-so-friendly dog and kitty encounters as a top offense. Even pets left in a crate can pose a distraction since they might make noise the entire time others are in the house. Plus, if they seem mean, the buyer might not even step in the room.
Solution 1: Kennel your dogs or cats and take them with you for a joy ride, or ask a neighbor to pet sit.
Solution 2: If exotic, like a snake or ferret, consider removing all together, if even temporary during the listing period. They smell and offend in every way.
3. Bad smells
A displeasing smell can really turn buyers off. Common offenses include cooking smells lingering around the home, such as garlic, fried bacon, or fish. Also, watch for cigarette smoke and animal smells, agents say.
Solution 1: Smoke is the most offensive smell; it gets in the walls, flooring, cabinets, draperies, & furniture. Consider using an air purifier guaranteed to remove the odors such as my Fresh Air Surround.
Solution 2: Avoid cooking dinners with strong smells. Admittedly since I like ethnic foods I know how hard this may be. Consider eating more salads and sandwiches, which are usually healthier anyway.
4. Critters running wild
Wild animals and pests roaming around is a surefire way to send buyers running. Agents described worms crawling on the floor and bats and raccoons lounging in the attic.
Solution 1: If you suspect anything is in your attic, etcetera, you should call pest control. This could be a hazard to the home and may result in unexpected expenses. Better to discover it now than have FHA say no deal.
5. Odd home makeovers
Do-it-yourself disasters were also prevalent, like doors opening the wrong way or unprofessional paint jobs. Also, rooms not being used for their intended purposes can confuse buyers, such as an office being used as a bedroom even though it has no closet, says broker Elaine Byrne with Elaine Byrne Realty in Austin, Texas.
Solution 1: I can't say enough about this. Your creativity, self-expression, or budget cutting ideas WILL turn a buyer off. While it might be a quick fix, many buyers have no time or money to spend and will just walk away from the house. Think of it like this, would you buy a purple car with yellow dots that you painted yourself?
6. Dirt and clutter
There were a number of offenses cited when it came to cleanliness: Dirty laundry piles, unflushed toilets, dishes on the counter or in the sink, unmade beds, clothes scattered about, soiled carpets, dirty air conditioner filters, and overflowing trash cans.
Solution 1: I blogged this recently so I'll just give you the link: Improve Your Home Value By Living Cleaner
7. Personal information left in plain sight
Sellers should be careful not to leave in plain sight important documents that may pique buyers’ curiosity. Some agents say they’ve seen personal information like bank and credit card statements—even mortgage payoff notices—left on the kitchen counter.
Solution 1: I just experienced this the other day. I had a buyer point out an IRS letter and commented, "I guess he's going to sell cheap to get rid of the house." I highly recommend to protect your finances, your assets, and your privacy that you get organized with non-see-through boxes and store mail, receipts, medicines, etc.
8. Too dark
Dark or dimly lit houses aren’t showing the home in the best light.
Solution 1: Remember, if they can't see it they won't buy it. Consider adding ceiling fans since it will save money on utility bills for the buyer, you can mark it as a green feature, and it will make your home more attractive overall.
9. Keys missing from lock boxes
All too often, agents arrive at a listing appointment with their client only to find there’s no key to get in.
Solution 1: Make sure your Realtor has a second set of keys so they can run out and meet the Buyer's agent and/or duplicate and re-supply the lock box. That's what I do!
10. Distracting photos
Watch the photos displayed on the walls too, agents warn. Tara Hayes, ABR, e-PRO, with Rector-Hayden, REALTORS®, in Winchester, Ky., recalls showing a family a home that had life-sized, nude photos hanging, which left her clients racing for the door covering their eyes.
Solution 1: I don't know where to even begin with this one, it's shocking. Remember, everyone has different values. This also applies to religious motifs, holiday decor (Halloween), Universities, and sports. In Texas there is a A&M and UT rivalry. I always tell my sellers, its about selling your house not making a political, religious, or sports point.
Share Your Favorite Home-Showings Story Below!